International Conference/International Exchange

International Conference/International Exchange


The 58th Commission on the Status of Women

Date:March 10 to 21, 2014

Place:United Nations Headquarter (New York) /

alt United Nations headquarters where the main events of CSW took place

From Monday, March 10 to Friday, March 21, 2014, the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (hereinafter "CSW") was held at the United Nations Headquarters (New York). Two of staff from NWEC participated as members of the Japanese government delegation.

With the priority theme set as "Challenges and Achievements in the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls," a series of statements were made by representatives of participating states and UN entities as well as by representatives of NGOs, and high-level round tables and interactive expert panels were also held.

alt Opening ceremony

At the general discussions, the initiative of treating gender equality as a stand-alone goal in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals was widely agreed upon. In addition, emphasis was placed on incorporating qualitative goals that heed gender inequality when setting development goals and measures in such fields as education, environmental protection, and health care. The need for compiling gender statistics in individual countries and across regions was also recognized for setting quantitative goals. Statements by representatives of the Member States repeatedly pointed out that child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking in persons and domestic violence against women continue to be serious social issues. The importance of debating gender equality by going back to the perspective of women’s human rights was highlighted by an interactive expert panel.

On March 11, Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirotaka Ishihara delivered a statement on behalf of the Japanese government and reported that Japan has been taking steps to “realize a society in which women are empowered to fully utilize their strengths.” Furthermore, he emphasized that the Japanese government allocated three billion USD (in FY2013) in official development assistance to help solve global issues, and that the country has been active in providing aid to developing countries. He stated that through the promotion of universal health coverage, the Japanese government has been aiming to improve access to health care by women and girls. Also mentioned in his statement was the importance of women’s participation in decision making in all phases of disaster reduction and prevention, as well as recovery from them, reflecting on the lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake.

During the CSW session, approximately 470 side and parallel events took place. Japanese NGOs also sponsored a side event on March 14, jointly with the Japanese Permanent Mission to the United Nations. The theme of the event was "Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Empowerment of Women." The event was attended by representatives from the Member States and NGOs, attesting to their strong interest in this issue.

alt A side event held jointly by the Japanese government and NGOs

Japan submitted a resolution about "Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women in Natural Disasters" for the second time following last year’s submission in the form of a joint proposal among the 79 Member States. The resolution was adopted. When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, it became apparent that many women had a hard time during the time as evacuees in a shelter due to a lack of room for breast-feeding and changing clothes. In the backdrop of this problem was the absence of women in decision making processes at all phases of disaster prevention, rescue, recovery and restoration. This resolution was founded on the belief that, even though natural disasters themselves cannot be eliminated, it is possible to reduce the size of damage from them if women’s voices are properly reflected in DRR policies and programs. It appealed the importance of integrating gender perspectives in building a disaster-resistant society. With the 3rd U.N. World Disaster Reduction Conference scheduled to be held in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan, the importance of the gender equality perspective and women’s role in disaster prevention and recovery is being recognized universally by the international community.

alt Interactive expert panel

Discussions on agreed conclusions continued into late hours every day. Likewise, many NGO representatives stayed up late outside the meeting hall to closely monitor the progress of the meeting. The discussion, which had been halted in the evening on the final day, was resumed around midnight and resulted in the adoption of a written agreement.

Information and videos regarding the details and the agreed conclusions of CSW58 are posted on the following UN Women's website (in the official languages of the United Nations, including English):

NWEC plans to give a report by the staff members who participated in the 58th Session of CSW as part of its programs to be held during FY2014. Details of the report will be posted on NWEC’s web site.

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