United and Strong to speak at UN event

(New York, March 14, 2016) United and Strong will represent Saint Lucian women and Caribbean voices at the 60th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York from March 14 – 24.

Communications Officer Maria Fontenelle, attends this seminal gathering of women right’s activists as part of a Caribbean contingent of non-government organisations.

Over 8,100 NGO representatives are registered for CSW60. A record 208 events are scheduled, about 150 of them in the first week of CSW alone.

Alongside this, NGOs will organize 450 parallel events in the vicinity of the UN. CSW60, from 14-24 March, is the first to take place within the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The priority theme will be women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development, and the review theme is ending violence against women and girls.

“There has been progress but civil society must continue to propel our governments to step it up. Change cannot be effective and meaningful in the current climate without strong political will to ensure policy and budgetary support”, stressed Fontenelle as she presented the Saint Lucia case on the panel “Caribbean Women’s Empowerment: Sustainable development gaps and opportunities for all”.

The discussion on March 17 was presented by Caribbean Sisters in Unity Core Group (CSUCG), and features Kenita Placide, representative of ILGA Women’s Secretariat and former Executive Director of United and Strong, Louise Toby Finikin (Sistren Jamaica), Shirley Pryce (Jamaica Household’s Union), Joy Hewett, Delores Robinson (GROOTS TT) and Angela Clarke of Haiti.

“The NGO CSW 60 Forum is a place for women activists to gather to speak and learn from each other and to advocate,” notes Dr. Susan O‘Malley, Chair, NGO CSW/NY.

She further notes, “The Empowerment of Women and Its Link to the SDGs, the Priority Theme for CSW 60, ushers in a new day for Women and Civil Society… We need to unite and use the openings to civil society in the Working Methods Document to strengthen our voice and our effectiveness in both addressing violence against women and implementing the SDGs at a regional level.

The second panel on which Fontenelle will speak “Diverse Women’s Empowerment to Increase Inclusion in Development”, will focus more directly on issues affecting lesbian, bisexual, queer, intersex and transgender women in the Caribbean. This panel will be held on March 21.

Civil society representatives will also utilise the space to interact with state representatives, policy makers and partners and strategise on women’s rights advocacy.

Fontenelle has previously represented United and Strong as part of the LBT caucus at CSW58.

Interested persons can join the conversation online via the #CSW60 and #CSW2016 and follow official UN sessions live at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/csw/webcasts.