The 60th session of the Commission on Status of Women (CSW) took place from March 14 - 24, 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is a global policy-making body which annually provides a key opportunity for policy makers, advocates, researchers and activists to network and strategize, mobilize and plan new initiatives and actions to further the cause of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The Centre for Environment Education (CEE), as an ECOSOC accredited NGO, was selected to take part in the inter-active panel discussion for the Priority theme, on Key strategies for gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on Wednesday 16th March . The session was attended by over 500 representatives of Member States , UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world.
Dr. Prithi Nambiar, Program Director, Communication for Sustainable Development at CEE (and Exec. Director, CEE Australia) was one of only three global NGO representatives invited to speak before the expert panel comprising Ms. Corchuelo, Director for Social Development of National Planning, Colombia, Dr. James Heintz, Professor of Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Dr. Philomena Nyarko, Chief Executive of the Statistical Service, Government of Ghana, Ms. Anita Nayar, Senior Adviser, Dag Hammarskjold Foundation and Sally Moyle, Principal Gender Adviser, Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia.
In her intervention, Dr. Nambiar emphasized the importance of education to drive much needed change in attitudes and values towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls ). She stated that none of the other 16 SDGs could be considered successfully achieved without meeting the cross-cutting SD Goal 5 targets in that particular area. Drawing on the recommendations from the recently held UNESCO partnered International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development at CEE in January 2016, Dr. Nambiar highlighted the need for wide ranging public education and communication campaigns to promote gender equality at home, in the workplace and society at large. She noted the need for women in particular to not be complicit in perpetuating patriarchal and gender regressive values.
Dr. Nambiar spoke of the overwhelming need to avoid ghettoization of the gender issue by including men and boys in the conversation. She said, “We must focus education and communication efforts on creating personal and individual relevance around goal 5 by framing it in terms of dignity for the individual regardless of gender, race, class, life choices or circumstances.”
Apprising the gathering of CEE's Earth Reports initiative in collaboration with Earth Charter International, Dr. Nambiar invited wide participation in the online discussion on values and attitudes that have a bearing on SDG 5 (Earth Report Gender - Prelim) . “Change”, she noted, “can only happen through self-reflection spurred by meaningful dialogue”.
Sally Moyle, Principal Gender Adviser, Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia responded to the intervention by pronouncing herself in full agreement with Dr. Nambiar's point on avoiding ghettoization of the gender issue.
The CEE Earth Report consultation is an ongoing process in partnership with Earth Charter International and will involve engaging the global publics in a simple survey instigated conversation and the release of periodic analytical reports of the responses for public viewing and policy purposes. Several organizational representatives at the CSW-60 have offered to take the survey to their networks to enable greater global coverage. According to Dr. Nambiar, “the objective of the Earth Report process is two-fold: one to gather rich data for policy and practice and two (which to me is most critical) to directly deploy it as a public education project that facilitates deep personal change in participants by encouraging self-reflection through the exchange of life lessons”.