UN Liaison Annual Report 2017

    FAWCO UN Liaison Annual Report 2017

    20th Anniversary of ECOSOC Consultative Status

    2017 was the 20th anniversary of FAWCO's consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). An article on the history of FAWCO's engagement at the UN – beginning in 1995 when seven FAWCO women attended the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing – appeared in the FAWCO FORUM Winter 2017 issue. What does “ECOSOC consultative status” mean? In honor of 20 years of UN affiliation, we attempted to de-mystify FAWCO's work at the UN. With over 4,000 NGOs working through dozens of coalitions and committees on conferences, commissions and events, it's complicated. You will find everything you need to know about FAWCO at the UN in our UN FAQs on FAWCO's website.

    Mumbai Conference Resolutions

    In March 2017, FAWCO delegates in Mumbai took stands on significant issues affecting the UN. US citizens signed a petition that was presented to congressional representatives during Overseas Americans Week in Washington, DC. All delegates adopted a conference resolution opposing US cuts to the UN budget and possible withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council: “We members of FAWCO, an international women's non-governmental organization with special consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, oppose reductions in US funding for the United Nations, and call upon Congress to ensure active US engagement on the United Nations Human Rights Council.” Delegates also passed a resolution supporting the UN development agenda and measures to combat climate change: “Having actively supported efforts to protect the environment for over thirty years, and encouraging its members to be environmentally responsible citizens, FAWCO reconfirms its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to all individual and collective measures to curb climate change.

    UN Reps Team

    FAWCO continues to be engaged in advocacy and action at the UN , with UN Reps in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Athens and Bonn, as well as “at-large” representatives who attend UN events. We remain in the leadership of NGO Committees on the Status of Women (NGO CSWs) in NY, Geneva and Vienna, and the NGO Committee on Migration in NY. We have broadened our scope with new UN Reps at the Climate Change Conference, and are members of the Women and Gender Constituency of NGOs committed to gender-just climate solutions. We have strengthened our commitment to supporting migrants and refugees through the NGO Committee on Migration, work with UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Greece, collaboration with the Target Project Hope Beyond Displacement, and connecting with member clubs engaged with refugees in their communities. As UN Liaison, Laurie Richardson encouraged connections between the UN development agenda and FAWCO Global Issues, Target and Youth Programs. She promoted FAWCO advocacy on gender equality, migration, climate change, and the role of civil society.

    Collaboration with Global Issues Teams, Target and Youth Programs

    The UN Reps Team collaborates with Global Issues Teams to promote greater awareness of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide the thematic underpinning for all of our work in education, environment, health and human rights. The December 2017 UN Liaison Bulletin included links integrating the UN SDGs with FAWCO Global Issues. 

    Commission on the Status of Women in New York

    FAWCO's delegation to the 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) included UN Liaison Laurie Richardson and UN Reps Erica Higbie, Pam Perraud, Jane Politi and Anne Riz, UN Youth Rep Valia Mitsakis, Susan Alexander (AWC Bern) and Alison Witton (FAUSA). Erica is Treasurer of NGO CSW New York, and worked with the team organizing the NGO Forum. On NGO Consultation Day, Laurie contributed to a working group on Ending All Forms of Modern Day Slavery. FAWCO co-sponsored an event organized by the NGO Committee on Migration entitled “Empowerment of Women in Migration: Impact on Their Children’s Educational Outcomes and Resilience.” FAWCO joined members of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women Vienna signing two statements submitted to UN Women for CSW61: a Written Statement on women's economic empowerment and an Oral Statement on gender balance in climate policies (available on the FAWCO Website: UN Issues>Advocacy).

    Anne Riz: “Witnessing the energy, determination and conviction of the next generation of activists was inspiring and refreshing. NGOs illustrated a multitude of on-the-ground activities and projects which are creating real change.”


    Supporting Migrants and Refugees

    Thematic discussions on UN Compacts for Refugees and Migrants were held by the UN in New York, Geneva and Vienna, leading up to an intergovernmental conference in 2018 to adopt two global compacts. FAWCO UN Reps attended and reported on many sessions. UN Rep Jane Politi, Vice Chair of the NGO Committee on Migration (NGO CoM), worked on position papers which FAWCO endorsed (available on the FAWCO Website: UN Issues>Advocacy), including “Fighting the War on Poverty with Early Childhood Education,” submitted to the 56th UN Commission on Social Development, which cites FAWCO's Target Project partner Collateral Repair Project as a positive initiative. Jane Politi, Madaline Keros and Tara Scott attended NGO Briefings at the UNHCR in Geneva in June. FAWCO co-sponsored an NGO CoM position paper, "An Overlooked Emergency: The Poverty of Forced Migrant Children," submitted to UNHCR.

    Connecting with Member Clubs

    FAWCO UN Rep Grace Christovasilis, who works with UNHCR in Greece, met with Ann Birot-Salsbury and Clara Siverson, Co-Chairs of the AAWE Paris Refugee Task Force, to exchange ideas about how to leverage FAWCO's network to support refugees. FAWCO's advocacy for the importance of Early Childhood Development, support for education and training for refugee women and families through the Target Project Hope Beyond Displacement, and volunteer efforts in communities hosting refugees all contribute to improving lives. UN Liaison Laurie Richardson made presentations at the Mumbai Conference, and spoke to a meeting of the FAWCO Youth Team Rhineland and at two events for AIWC Cologne members about the UN, SDGs, gender equality and climate change.


    Stacey Kimmig and Ayuska Motha (AIWC Cologne) are FAWCO's UN Reps at the UN Climate Change Conference, the primary multilateral forum for global negotiations on climate change. In May 2017, UN Liaison Laurie Richardson, Stacey and Ayuska attended the UN Climate Conference in Bonn. FAWCO joined the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC), which works to ensure women’s rights and gender justice within the UN climate change process. WGC members advocate for gender just climate solutions, gender-responsive climate finance, inclusion, openness and transparency. Stacey and Ayuska also participated in the Conference of the Parties (COP23) in November, attending strategy meetings, caucuses and supporting the WGC Communications and Actions group to heighten awareness and promote climate action.


    Anne Riz-Sandweiss (AWC Bern),Treasurer of NGO CSW Geneva, finalized accounting for funds provided by the Swiss Development Corporation to NGO CSW Geneva for the 2014 Beijing + 20 Forum and a forum on Women’s Economic Empowerment held in 2016. Anne attended CSW61 in New York and

    the CSW Youth Forum with her 15-year-old niece. In November, she joined the Working Group on Women, Peace and Security, and is working on a forum on migration, peace and security that FAWCO will co-sponsor in Geneva in February 2018. 

    Paula Daeppen (AWC Bern), also represents FAWCO at NGO CSW Geneva, attending all meetings in her appointed position of Advisor to the President, and acting as unofficial parliamentarian. Paula is currently revising their Bylaws and serving on the Nominations Committee for the Executive Committee election in April 2018. She is on the Women’s Health and Environment working groups. Paula attended a Forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women in June 2017 with other members of AWC Zurich. In November, she attended the Annual General Meeting and Forum of the Alliance for Health Promotion, an organization recognized by the World Health Organization.


    Grace Christovasilis (AWO Greece), FAWCO's representative to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Greece, is a member of the UNHCR-led Interagency Consulting Forum of over 25 participating NGOs. Grace also works with UNHCR's field office in Ioannina and the UN DPI Communications Officer for Greece and Cyprus. She helped organize soccer workshops for 200 refugee children, fostering integration and inclusion of refugees with the local community.

    New York

    Erica Higbie (FAUSA), Treasurer of the NGO CSW NY, had a significant role in preparing for CSW61 and is involved in the Regional Advocacy Training Committee, Fundraising and CSW62 Committees. Until July, Erica served on the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) NGO Executive Committee and chaired their Mentorship Program. Erica is also a member of the Working Group on Girls. She attends sessions of the High Level Political Forum, ECOSOC, UN Women, and UN Development Program.

    Jane McCall Politi (AWC Rome), Vice Chair of the NGO CoM, participates in UN and NGO-sponsored events in New York and Geneva related to the Global Compacts for Refugees and Migration, the Commission on Social Development, and many other meetings and conferences. She contributes to discussions on migration, early childhood development, climate change, and sustainable development. FAWCO has endorsed numerous statements and position papers drafted and submitted by the NGO CoM.


    UN Liaison Laurie Richardson (AWA Vienna) is Secretary, NGO CSW Vienna and FAWCO Rep, AWA Vienna. She coordinates FAWCO's growing UN Reps Team, plans and organizes events, attends conferences and meetings, and writes articles and blogs. She led sessions on FAWCO at the UN at the Mumbai Conference in April; joined FAWCO's new UN Reps at the UN Climate Conference in Bonn in May; and made presentations to the Rhineland Youth Group and at the AIWC Cologne AGM in June. For the 16 Days Campaign, she organized a panel on child marriage with NGO CSW Vienna and Girls Not Brides. 

    At-Large Reps

    Pam Perraud (AAWE Paris, FAUSA), formerly FAWCO's UN Director, represents FAWCO’s on the US Women’s Caucus at the UN, a coalition of American NGOs working to promote women’s issues at the UN. She serves on the Policy Issues Committee of the Caucus. Pam participated in a political action webinar sponsored by the United Nations Association-USA and the Better World Foundation on effective advocacy for UN issues. She meets regularly with Therese Hartwell, President of FAUSA and head of the Human Rights Team, as well as members of Zonta International. Pam writes about UNESCO and international educational initiatives for FAWCO’s Education Team.

    Tara Scott, (AW Central Scotland), attended the SDG Festival of Ideas in Bonn in February, joined UN Liaison Laurie Richardson delivering a session on FAWCO at the UN at the Mumbai Conference, and went to the UNHCR NGO Briefing in Geneva with Jane Politi and Madeline Keros.

    UN Youth Reps

    Valia Mitsakis (AWO Greece) continued as a UN Youth Rep in NY. We had two new UN Youth Reps in 2017. Paige Higbie (AWC Berlin, daughter of Erica Higbie, FAUSA) was UN Youth Rep from May to August; she interned with the NGO CSW NY and helped to organize the High Level Political Forum in July. Paige worked on developing FAWCO's UN Youth Rep Program, was appointed UN Youth Program Coordinator, and mentored Sammy Witt (son of Susan Stanley Witt, AWC Hamburg). Sammy was UN Youth Rep from August to November. He attended UN events and NGO Committee meetings, and wrote blog posts about his experiences.




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