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NewsNotes, May-June 2010
Vol. 35 No. 3

UN: CSW’s GEAR Campaign report

The following is a report from the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which recently held its 54th session. A priority for CSW is the Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign, which would create an agency that would coordinate the UN’s work on women with the capacity to hold the system accountable for gender mainstreaming. See related article in May-June 2008 NewsNotes.

The recent [CSW] meeting … advanced the GEAR Campaign goal of continuing civil society pressure on governments to move forward in passing the resolution that creates the entity during this session of the General Assembly (GA), which ends in September. At the CSW, over 60 countries ... spoke in support of the new gender architecture in their speeches. Governments initiated a resolution that was co-sponsored by 180 countries and introduced by the Joint Coordinating Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement and Group of 77/China (JCC) supporting the creation of the entity, indicating the wide spread assumption that this will happen.
[During his speech on March 3, the UN’s official observance of International Women’s Day,] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on governments to take action to create the entity without further delay. [His speech is available on the MOGC website.] … The sessions on the new entity were packed, and many other sessions that addressed UN structural issues assumed the new architecture as part of the future UN landscape. …
[T]he GEAR Campaign’s greatest concern is not whether the entity will be created but WHAT will be created. [The CSW expects] the resolution to be passed by the end of this GA session in time for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit review in September, but there are still a number of important details to be resolved. In order for the entity to be effective as a driver for the UN system on women’s rights and empowerment, it must have a robust country level operation that is more than just advisory to the UN system. This requires that it be both a coordinating body for the UN’s work on women with the capacity to hold the system accountable for gender mainstreaming as well as able to engage in its own programmatic work and to support governmental and NGO work at all levels.
[The CSW remains] concerned about the money to enable the entity to be effective. Member states should pledge core, predictable, and multi-year voluntary funds now with a goal of growing to US$1 billion and beyond over time. There has not been enough progress on financial commitments to date. Further ... the resolution creating this entity [should] recognize that civil society has played a vital role in work on women’s rights and that it is critical to partner with [CSW] and tap into the expertise and insights of a diverse and wide-ranging NGO constituency, particularly women’s organizations.
[The CSW] would like to see the Secretary-General initiate a transparent recruitment process for the Under Secretary General to lead the entity immediately.... [It] would like a clear and accessible process begun soon to ensure a strong committed woman is appointed to this critical job.
Additional items related to the GEAR Campaign are available on the MOGC website.

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