Monday 10th March 2014: Opening day of CSW

14 Mar

On Monday, Rhoda and I met with the other UK NGOs. As well as seeing many familiar faces, there were a number of first timers including a large group of young people. This group meets every morning to share information, help support those who are new and plan joint lobbying.

At midday Rhoda and I joined with the Anglican Communion and Ecumenical Women for the Eucharist, presided over by Rt Rev Chilton Knudson, Assistant Bishop of New York. At the service we met up with a number of members of the Anglican Communion delegation who are also Mothers’ Union members, including Mugisa Isingoma, Provincial President for Congo, Marie Pierrette Bezara, Provincial President for the Indian Ocean, and Immaculee Nyirsansengimana, the Provincial Worker for Rwanda. It’s always such a delight to see old friends again in a different part of the world – reminds me how much of a global fellowship Mothers’ Union is.

In the evening I headed to the first of our daily briefings from the UK Government representatives at the UK Permanent Mission to the UN, where the UK negotiator gave a useful overview of the agreed conclusions so far. As usual, there are disagreements over sections on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and a notable push from some countries to change any use of ‘rights’ language to ‘empowerment’. However, many states are moving in the same direction on issues such as peace and security, child marriage and the need for good data collection that is also disaggregated by sex, age, marital status etc; and the mood of discussions so far has been positive and congenial.

A number of UK Parliamentarians are also in attendance, including Baroness Margaret Prosser, Roberta Blackman Wood MP and Sharon Hodgson MP from the Labour Party; and Baroness Fiona Hodgson and Mary Macleod MP from the Conservative Party. They have taken part in a number of inter-parliamentary events hosted by organisations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, as well as attending side events run by NGOs.

[Apologies for the lack of photos, btw, I’m having trouble uploading them into the body of the text. I’ll treat you to a few pics as soon as I can.]

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