by Paula Daeppen, UN NGO Director 1997-2008, and Pam Perraud, UN NGO Director 2008-2013
Click A History of FAWCO as a UN Accredited NGO 1993 - 2013.pdf to download the article. To read about FAWCO's successful leadership at the November 2014 NGO ECE Regional Review Forum in Geneva, go to Sara von Moos' article in the Summer 2013 FORUM. To keep up-to-date with the latest news about FAWCO at the UN, subscribe to the UN Liaison Bulletin here.
In 1993, FAWCO President Barbara Johnson suggested applying for UN accreditation starting with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and pursued this goal with FAWCO 1st Vice President, Peggy Rigaud.
On June 15, 1995, FAWCO was approved for association with the UN DPI.
In August 1995, seven FAWCO delegates joined 30,000 women for the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.
The Beijing Conference was the stimulus for wanting to increase our UN involvement and FAWCO immediately applied for accreditation with ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council of the United Nations).
FAWCO was granted Special Consultative with ECOSOC on August 14, 1997.
FAWCO’s early UN representation was spearheaded by Pam Perraud in NY. Other early representatives were Lise Chase in NY, Joanne Gallagher in Geneva and Phyllis Reimer in Vienna.
In 1999, FAWCO 1st Vice President Paula Daeppen started representing FAWCO on a regular basis at the United Nations. Together with Pam Perraud in NY, she actively promoted FAWCO at the UN and set the course for FAWCO as a UN NGO.
FAWCO’s first ECOSOC Report for the period 1997 through 2000 was prepared by Pam Perraud and Paula Daeppen, who recognized the need for a continuing active focus on global issues in order to retain ECOSOC status.
In 2001, Paula Daeppen was appointed FAWCO’s first NGO Director (2001- 2008) charged with expanding FAWCO’s NGO involvement and trying to link UN NGO activities with FAWCO’s global committees.
FAWCO delegates at the Luxembourg Conference unanimously adopted a mandate “to urge the US to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)”.
FAWCO joined CONGO (Conference of NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status), the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), NGO Committee on Human Rights, Committee on Aging and the no longer existent CONGO Committee on HIV/Aids.
With Pam Perraud and Paula Daeppen, FAWCO took part in the 3rd UN Preparatory Meeting for the Special Session on Children in NY.
FAWCO participated in the UN Special Session on Children in NY represented by Paula Daeppen and Pam Perraud.
Delegates to the FAWCO Florence Conference adopted a mandate on the special needs of aging women.
FAWCO participated in the UN World Assembly on Aging in Madrid, represented by Paula Daeppen, Arline Coward and Dolores Cuellar.
FAWCO joined GINA – Geneva International Network on Aging working with WHO.
FAWCO participated in the UN Prep Coms for the World Summit on the Information Society.
FAWCO’s Resolutions & Recommendations began to reflect our UN advocacy, in particular regarding the environment, the CRC and CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and sexual reproductive rights.
The concept of a “carbon neutral conference” was introduced by Valerie Garforth and the emissions of carbon dioxide resulting from travel to and from the Conference were offset by donations to buy trees for the FAWCO Millennium Forest.
FAWCO’s Millennium Forest Project, organized by the AIWC of Casablanca and funded in part by donations from FAWCO clubs worldwide, is featured in a United Nations publication on success stories supporting the Millennium Development Goal for Environmental Sustainability.
With recognition for the need of a major global focus for ECOSOC status, NGO director Paula Daeppen proposed to the FAWCO Board the need for a focus on one major global project in support of the MDGs. The suggested focus was malaria prevention.
At the FAWCO Conference in Birmingham, delegates unanimously agreed to take up the global challenge for reducing poverty and improving lives by supporting the MDGs and by making a significant commitment to worldwide malaria prevention – with an initial fundraising target of $75,000 by the 2006 conference in Berlin for FAWCO’s 75th birthday.
FAWCO’s NGO malaria initiative, called “NetWorks”, became the first project where all FAWCO clubs joined together on a global issue.
FAWCO took part in World Swim for Malaria.
FAWCO partnered with the Biovision Foundation on malaria prevention to fund mosquito nets, integrated vector management and education for malaria elimination.
FAWCO member Laurie Childers is named Secretary of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva, for the first time giving FAWCO a position on this board.
FAWCO’s goal of $75,000 for NetWorks was surpassed and $165,885 raised directly with an additional grant of $100,000 obtained from the Hilton Foundation for our partner organization Biovision.
FAWCO’s Global Concerns Fund was established to continue FAWCO’s focus on one major global issue in support of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in conjunction with the ongoing concerns of FAWCO’s Global Concerns Committees and UN Liaisons, who proposed the project. The first GCF continues with the mandate of FAWCO’s successful NetWorks campaign to focus on the eradication of malaria.
FAWCO’s efforts in malaria prevention were noted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in their publication "From Vision to Action: NGOs Promoting Health in a Globalized World". This publication was produced in support of the Bangkok Charter for Health Promotion in a Globalized World and featured best practices of 27 selected NGOs. FAWCO’s NetWorks initiative and partnership with Biovision is described in detail.
FAWCO contributed to a comprehensive 32-page report written in advance of the 2007 session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The publication titled “A GIRL’S RIGHT TO LIVE; Female Foeticide and Girl Infanticide” is a compilation of information addressing serious human rights violations against the girl child.
FAWCO joined a small group of NGOs, part of the Geneva NGO Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), in a special task force Honoring Eleanor Roosevelt, called HER; recognizing Eleanor Roosevelt as the driving force behind the creation and adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948.
With Paula Daeppen, Pam Perraud and Alicia Higa, FAWCO took the lead as the initiator, sponsor and host of the HER website for the international and NGO community. The website is hosted at “erooseveltudhr.org”.
At the urging of Pam Perraud, the FAWCO board approved for the first time a donation of $3300 in scholarship money for the Eleanor Roosevelt Workshop for Girls at Val Kill, New York, to encourage the leadership development of young women with a commitment to social justice and human rights.
Member clubs are encouraged to organize events such as special teas, candlelight services and/or letter-writing campaigns and essay contests related to Eleanor Roosevelt and the 60th anniversary of the UDHR to honor ER and to call attention to the fact that, 60 years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, women still wait for their rights.
FAWCO was instrumental in the erection of a memorial to Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated on December 5, 2008 at the Place des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland recognizing her as the driving force behind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A booklet on Eleanor Roosevelt’s role and the importance of the UDHR accompanied the ceremony inaugurating the plaque and lists the 11 members of the HER Task Force (3 from FAWCO) responsible for the memorial.
During the year FAWCO worked with the US Mission to the UN in Geneva to publicize ER and the UDHR. In June, the US Ambassador to the UN held a special concert in his home in ER’s memory and invited the Ambassadors of the 17 other countries who had representatives on the Human Rights Commission that worked on the UDHR as well as FAWCO and the other members of the HER Task Force.
The UN Team also worked with others on the HER Task Force to organize, edit and promote a bilingual brochure on ER and the UDHR to be used in local Swiss schools.
In September, Paula Daeppen and Pam Perraud attended the annual UN NGO Department of Public Information (DPI) conference held in Paris at UNESCO, where FAWCO distributed information about the HER plaque project in Geneva and the ER website.
FAWCO UN Reps Sara von Moos and Anne Cameron Rutschmann attended a two-day Global Women Leader’s Summit in Geneva organized by Allida Black of the Eleanor Roosevelt Project of George Washington University, who had helped write the booklet on ER in conjunction with the ER plaque project. Highlight of the summit was the presentation of the “Eleanor Roosevelt Lifetime Achievement Award in Human Rights" to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
UN Director Pam Perraud attended briefings at UN HQ in New York in commemoration of the International Year of BioDiversity as well as a special event honouring Cheri Blair, wife of the former British Prime Minister, for her work with “Stop the Traffik”, an NGO fighting human trafficking.
UN Youth Representative, Sarah Gogel attended a special session in NY on the issue of “Children and Armed Conflict” while UN Rep Marge McGowan attended regular meetings of the CSW and the Working Group on Women, Peace and Security as well as meetings on The Child’s Right to Health and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
In Houston, UN Director Pam Perraud and UN Rep Louise Greeley-Copley attended a special meeting of the World Affairs Council where they met Wangari Maathai, first African woman to win a Nobel Prize in 2004 for her environmental work starting the “Green Belt Movement.” Four days later, the UN Director was invited to speak about FAWCO’s environmental activities at a special screening at Rice University of a PBS special on Wangari Maathai’s life entitled “Taking Root.”
The FAWCO Board announced plans to initiate a four-year program called the Target Program designed to support the UN Millennium Goals (MDGs). The UN Director worked with the 3rd VP and the Foundation to set up a submission form and an evaluation system to process proposals for the new program.
The UN Director announced plans to expand the UN Team to include “UN Advocates” which would include volunteers in local clubs which did not live near the main UN headquarters in NY, Geneva or Vienna who could serve as liaisons to the local club and promote the UN.
FAWCO member clubs voted to select “Clean Water” as the Target Issue for the new Target Program, FAWCO’s main program to support the UN Millennium Development Goals. The UN Director worked as special advisor to the Target Selection Committee, which ultimately chose “Wells for Clean Water” sponsored by the Tabitha organization in Cambodia as the Target Project for the next three years.
FAWCO continued to promote, support and donate money to the Eleanor Roosevelt Girls’ Leadership Workshop. The UN Director was invited by the Eleanor Roosevelt Center in Val Kill to a special reception in NYC to meet Curtis Roosevelt, grandson of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt.
Pam Perraud, UN Director, attended the 2010 Global Forum on Women Beijing+15 and the 45th annual CSW in NY where she attended special briefings at the US Mission with new US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice and Melanne Verveer, US Ambassador–at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.
UN Rep Sara von Moos attended regular meetings of the NGO CSW and Human Rights subcommittees in Geneva and did extensive research on obstetric fistula. Sara von Moos, Alicia Sauer, Anne Cameron Rutchmann along with UN Director Pam Perraud attended the Human Rights Day Celebration on Dec. 10 and met with the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.
For the first time, FAWCO sent two local volunteers, Katherine Crick and Erica Higbie, to represent FAWCO at the Annual UN NGO Conference sponsored by the Department of Public Information (DPI) held in Melbourne, Australia, where the focus was on “Global Health.”
On March 8th, UN Reps in NY, Geneva and Vienna all attended special commemorations for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD) in their respective cities and the UN Director made a special presentation in Paris in honor of IWD.
Michelle Jackson, UN NGO Advocate from Taunus (Germany) represented FAWCO at the annual UN DPI conference on “Sustainable Societies” in Bonn, Germany in September.
On Sept. 26, for the first time ever, FAWCO sponsored a High Level Panel for the UN Human Rights Council at its 18th session in Geneva at the Palais de Nations. The topic was “Women and the Right to Water”, in keeping with FAWCO’s Target Program theme of “Clean Water.” Lois Herman of AWA Rome and Chair of the Women’s UN Report Network (WUNRN) organized the event with the assistance of Sara von Moos, UN Rep in Geneva.
The UN Director wrote a review of the previous 15 years of FAWCO activities at the UN and along with it presented a proposal to the two FAWCO Boards with specific recommendation that FAWCO adopt “women” as its main focus for UN activities and organize its international projects around four main areas of focus: education, environment, health and human rights.
FAWCO joined the UN Women National Committee of the United States and the UN Director was invited to join the regular Board calls with local chapter presidents in the US.
On Oct. 24, UN Day, AWA Vienna and IWC from Bratislava had a tour of the UN HQ in Vienna followed by a talk by experts from the UN on human trafficking.
In November, UN Reps Laurie Richardson and Tonya Teichert attended a special symposium on "Femicide” at UN headquarters in Vienna.
For the first time, through the Global Task Force on Ending Violence Against Women and Children (EVAWC), FAWCO participated in the UN-endorsed “16 Days for the Elimination of Violence Against Women” campaign by encouraging FAWCO members to read “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn. In September, UN Director Pam Perraud and EVAWC Task Force member Therese Hartwell attended a screening in Houston of the PBS special film “Half the Sky” with Sheryl Wu Dunn.
in conjunction with the FAWCO conference in Bern, UN Rep Sara von Moos helped organize a special tour to the UN in Geneva where participants visited the US Mission and heard presentations from the staff working on women’s issues at the UN.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, the American Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Betty King gave the keynote address at the Conference. She also participated with FAWCO members on the “Meet Us on the Bridge” march in solidarity with Women for Women International around the world.
At the conference, Anne von Oorschot, Chair of the Target Program announced that since 2009, a total of $165,000 had been raised, with $135,00 going to Tabitha Foundation in Cambodia for new wells and $30,000 going to water-related projects in other countries.
The Board announced that the next Target Program theme would be “Human Rights for Women-Protecting the Rights and Improving the Lives of Women and Girls.”
NY Rep Erica Higbie became Chair of the Advocacy Task Force of the CSW Working Group for Girls. She attended the annual CSW conference in March in NY and gave daily updates on her UN blog.
At the invitation of UN Ambassador Betty King, FAWCO’s 2013 Friendship Quilt entitled “Time” was displayed at the Palais de Nations at an exhibition organized by the US Mission in Geneva “Quilts for Change.”
NGO CSW Geneva President Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda appointed UN Rep Sara von Moos as Task Force Co-Chair of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Beijing +20 Regional Review NGO Forum to be held in November 2014.