This year, 2015, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) takes place from the 9th – 20th March at the headquarters of the UN in New York. The UNCSW takes place each year, reviewing governments’ progress on implementing the Beijing Platform for Action which outlines women’s rights globally. The priority theme for 2015 is a review of progress and remaining challenges for implementing the Beijing Platform for Action.
While the Commission itself is an intergovernmental process, the meeting is well attended by representatives from NGOs as well – indeed UNCSW is the largest commission meeting that the UN holds. As such, it offers an excellent opportunity for civil society organisations from around the world to come together, share experiences and learn from one another.
As the representative from the Church of England, I’m part of a twenty-strong delegation from the Anglican Communion around the world – we include women from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malawi, Myanmar, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, and the United States. Supported by the Anglican Communion Office at the UN and the Reverend Terry Robinson, the Anglican Communion’s Director of Women in Church and Society, we’ll be sharing our joys, concerns and experiences and, in concert with other church representatives, bringing Christian faith perspectives into the midst of the CSW.
I’ll also been linking with other UK civil society organisations, some faith-based and some not: some are colleagues with whom I work in a variety of contexts, others people I’ve met through the UK NGO CSW coalition, which does a phenomenal job of bringing us all together beforehand and at the meeting. I’m hugely grateful for their briefings, full of wisdom imparted by those who have much experience of CSWs past. I’ll also be attending the UK government meetings at the UK Mission, and some of the UK (and other governments’ and NGOs’) events on particular issues.
An event like this is complex, full of many opportunities and challenges. I would greatly appreciate prayer for the following:
- For good relationships to be established among the Anglican delegation, so that we may offer each other learning, encouragement and mutual support and build the foundations for future work together as appropriate
- For wisdom in listening well to those with different perspectives and in bringing a Christian perspective to discussions. Pray that all of us who are here as Christians may listen, speak and act in ways that reflect our faith in God’s truth, love and grace.
- That those who are negotiating the Political Declaration and the Working Methods for CSW may be guided in ways that are good and true, and that the documents that emerge may be a blessing to women and men around the world.
- For some practicalities – wisdom to know which, among the plethora of fascinating sessions, to attend, good health … and rest despite the packed schedule (we were told to pack snack bars, as there are days where you go from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm without a break!)
You can follow progress via social media in the following ways:
Mandy Marshall, my predecessor and mentor (to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude, both for setting up all the social media and for imparting her wisdom more generally) said as she concluded the post that was the inspiration for this one: “If you have any words, pictures, visions, prophecy, encouragement, thoughts whilst praying then please do email me them.” I’d echo her words … and look forward to being in touch.
Thank you so much for your prayers – and I look forward to our sharing the journey together.
Maranda St John Nicolle