Conference Reports

UN Liaison Annual Report 2016

FAWCO UN Liaison Annual Report 2016

Many years of developing relationships with UN agencies and NGO partners have come to fruition in 2016. Through FAWCO UN Reps' active leadership on three NGO Committees on the Status of Women and the NGO Committee on Migration, we demonstrate the experience and expertise of FAWCO women, and make a significant contribution to the NGO community at the UN. FAWCO's visibility and image at the UN continue to improve as we become increasingly engaged in substantive global issues in New York, Geneva, Vienna and Athens.

UN Reps Team 2016 Highlights included FAWCO's delegation of 14 women at the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) in New York, and co-sponsoring a panel at the CSW60 NGO Forum; participating in UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) NGO Briefings in Geneva; organizing a Women's Economic Empowerment Forum and an International Day of the Girl Flashmob in Geneva; speaking about the Human Trafficking Symposium at a panel in Vienna; partnering with UNHCR Greece and FC Barcelona on a Solidarity Journey #WithRefugees; and hosting a Twitter Teach-In on gender-based violence as part of the 16 Days Campaign. We strengthened our collaboration with FAWCO's Global Issues Task Forces, Target Program and Youth Program.

FAWCO's delegation to CSW 60 in March included UN Liaison Laurie Richardson and UN Reps Erica Higbie, Jane Politi, Valia Mitsakis and Anne Riz. Jane Politi helped organize an NGO Committee on Migration (NGO CoM) panel “Empowering Syrian Refugee Women and Children for a Better Future: Challenges and Innovative Solutions in Early Childhood Development” (co-sponsored by FAWCO).

In June, Jane attended NGO Briefings at the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, had meetings at UNICEF and with an advisor on migration and human rights at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Tara Scott (AWC Central Scotland) represented FAWCO's Education Task Force at the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) NGO Conference "Education for Global Citizenship" in Gyeongju, Korea (May 30 - June 1).

Sam Witt (son of Susan Witt-Stanley, AWC Hamburg) attended the UN Youth Assembly in New York in August with FAWCO's UN Youth Rep Valia Mitsakis.

Anne Riz-Sandweiss was involved in planning the forum “Women’s Economic Empowerment in a Sustainable Perspective” on October 10, supported in part by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The forum brought together important players in the Swiss gender advocacy world, including the head of the Swiss Federal Office for Gender Equality.

Stacy Dry Lara played a lead role on the NGO CSW Geneva team organizing a flashmob on the Place des Nations to mark the International Day of the Girl on October 11. The event was supported by the Permanent Mission of the US, the UN Office in Geneva, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, PLAN International's executive team, the YWCA local team and more.

UN Liaison Laurie Richardson made a presentation on the FAWCO/FAWCO Foundation Stand Up Against Human Trafficking Symposium at a side event co-sponsored by FAWCO on “Preventing Trafficking, Trade and Exploitation of Women and Children: A victim-centered approach” at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's Conference on Transnational Organized Crime.

Grace Christovasilis worked with UNHCR Greece, UNHCR Spain, FC Barcelona Veterans and PAS Giannina FC to organize A Solidarity Journey #WithRefugees in November. This successful event for over 540 refugees and their children, volunteers and UNHCR Team, included a visit to a refugee camp by FC Barcelona players, soccer workshops for over 220 refugee children, and a Solidarity Match between PAS Giannina FC Veterans and FC Barcelona Veterans attended by refugees and local community football fans.

The UN Team, Human Rights Task Force and Target Program collaborated on a Twitter Teach-In on December 8 as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, using social media to share messages about FAWCO's work in education and preventing violence against women. (Team was Therese Hartwell, Erica Higbie, Laurie Richardson and Tricia Saur with support from Ellie Badanes and Christine Funke.)

Vienna

Laurie Richardson (AWA Vienna), FAWCO's UN Liaison, serves as Secretary on the Executive Committee of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (NGO CSW) Vienna. Laurie worked on the organization of a side event on “Women Meeting the Challenges of Violent Extremism” in connection with UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in May, and a panel on human trafficking at the Commission on Transnational Organized Crime in October.

Laurie organized and supported FAWCO's delegation at CSW60 in New York in March. She made presentations on FAWCO at the UN for the IM in Frankfurt, a Club Workshop at Munich IWC in June, and at the Region 5 Meeting in November. For the Symposium on Human Trafficking, she wrote a blog on the UN Global Compact, and moderated the panel “Sustainable Change in the Private Sector”.

Laurie attends meetings and conferences on human trafficking, migration, violence against women and gender equality at the UNODC, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Austrian Ministry for Women's Affairs, UN Women National Committee Austria, UN Industrial Development Organization, Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation, and Women in Development Europe.

New York

Erica Higbie (FAUSA) is Treasurer of NGO CSW NY,and a Director on the DPI NGO Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Working Group on Girls. Her focuses are empowerment of women and girls, youth, education, migration, environment, data collection and financing for development. In her role with the DPI NGO office, Erica assisted in planning the 2016 DPI Conference in South Korea, and is on the Fundraising Committee for the 2017 DPI Conference in NYC. Erica initiated and chairs the Mentorship Program Committee for newly-accredited NGOs at the UN.

Jane McCall Politi (AWA Rome), Vice-Chair of the NGO Committee on Migration, contributes to position papers submitted to UN conferences and other migration events. In 2016, she attended meetings and events on migration and development, early childhood development, human rights, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In September, the UN General Assembly held a High-Level Summit for Refugees and Migrants; the NGO CoM was involved for months prior to the Summit with preparations including multi-stakeholder meetings and advocacy planning.

Vasiliki (Valia) Mitsakis (AWO Greece), FAWCO's UN Youth Rep, participated in meetings, events, and conferences on youth participation and gender equality, including the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, and Winter and Summer Youth Assemblies. Valia attended the Summer Youth Assembly (August 10-12) with Sammy Witt, son of Susan Witt of AWC Hamburg.

Geneva

Stacy Dry Lara (AWC Bern), FAWCO's main representative at the UN Human Rights Council and a member of NGO CSW Geneva, the NGO Human Rights Committee, the NGO Forum on the Environment, and the Geneva Gender Network. Stacy attended the Human Rights Council 31st Session (February-March), 32nd Session (June – July) and 33rd Session (September) and posted blogs about significant news and events.

Anne Riz-Sandweiss (AWC Bern), Treasurer of NGO CSW Geneva, worked on the sub-committee completing a new Code of Conduct as part of the Constitution, Bylaws and Code of Conduct Task Force. Anne follows women’s sexual and reproductive health issues at WHO and the UNFPA’s work on countering FGM, and has taken an online Amnesty International course on FGM. She recently presented a statement “Exported Practices-FGM in Europe” as part of a panel “Putting an End to Infibulation and to All Forms of Female Genital Mutilation”.

Paula Daeppen (AWC Zurich) attended meetings of the NGO CSW Geneva, was elected Auditor for the Committee, and served as advisor to the President of NGO CSW Geneva and her board. She served on the Task Force for the establishment of a Code of Conduct and Bylaws and drew up guidelines for conducting meetings. After the adoption of new statutes, bylaws, code of conduct and guidelines for meetings, the NGO CSW Geneva is working more effectively than in the past.

Athens

Grace Christovasilis (AWO Greece), FAWCO's representative to the UNHCR Greece, is a member of the UNHCR-led Interagency Consulting Forum with over 25 participating NGO partners. Grace worked with the Head of UNHCR's field office in Ioannina, UNHCR Spain, UNHCR Greece, FC Barcelona Veterans and PAS Giannina FC to organize A Solidarity Journey #WithRefugees in Greece on November 18. The Solidarity Journey initiated a FC Barcelona Players Association fundraising campaign to benefit refugees in Greece. Media coverage by Barcelona TV, UNHCR, PAS Giannina FC, and Greek, Spanish and international media drew the attention of FC Barcelona fans worldwide.

Global Projects

Pam Perraud (FAUSA), former UN Liaison, advises on global partnerships, and in 2016 produced the application for an official partnership with UNESCO (pending). Pam also works with the Education Task Force and Target Program.

Cooperation with Global Task Forces, Target Program and Youth Program

We share information about UN campaigns, conferences and events with all of FAWCO's Task Forces. In 2016, a member of the Education Task Force attended a UN DPI NGO conference; we provided information on the UNFCCC for the Environment Task Force; we shared UN Women reports with the Human Rights Task Force; we collaborated with the Youth Program to offer the UN Youth Assembly opportunity to FAWCO members; and we promoted the SDGs as an integrative framework for all of FAWCO's Global Issues work. The UN Team, Human Rights Task Force and Target Program collaborated on a Twitter Teach-In as part of the 16 Days Campaign.

Advocacy

Advocacy and activism are important for building partnerships with UN agencies and other NGOs, fulfilling our commitments to ECOSOC and UN DPI, and our R&Rs. We sign on to and disseminate statements, letters and petitions, to raise awareness, contribute to member education, and demonstrate our active participation in the NGO community at the UN. FAWCO signed statements, letters and position papers on CSW61's theme of women's economic empowerment, early childhood development for migrant and refugee children, and ECOSOC policies on NGO access to the UN.

UN Status

FAWCO is an accredited NGO at the UN Department of Public Information. We received special consultative status to ECOSOC in 1997. In 2016 we received a new accreditation: Observer Status at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was granted in July. We submitted an extensive application for a partnership with UN Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); our application is still under review at the time of this report.

Future Plans

2017 will mark 20 years since FAWCO received special consultative status at ECOSOC. We will continue to do research, writing, and advocacy; raise awareness; participate in and report on UN meetings; organize educational events; and partner with other NGOs. We will organize and support FAWCO's delegation to CSW61 from March 13 – 24, 2017.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurie Richardson

UN Liaison 

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