WEDO Enews & Views


Issue Vol 2. No. 6
      March 2007
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WEDO honored as a Champion of the Earth by UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

Celebrate Women on International Women's Day!

This issue of WEDO Enews & Views comes to you on International Women’s Day, a nearly century-old celebration of women’s work and lives.  IWD honors the women who have worked tirelessly and, in many cases, thanklessly—from their homes, the halls of Parliament, the village, and beyond—to create a more just, peaceful and sustainable planet.  WEDO’s work continues in the same tradition as so many of our friends, partners, and the women who helped to create this organization.   

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’d like to share our latest work with you and thank you for your own work and support for women’s rights worldwide. 

Women Take Over the UN
The Commission on the Status of Women gives activists a platform

By Anique Halliday
International Women's Day 2006

For the past two weeks, hundreds of women and girls from every continent have filled the halls and meeting rooms at the UN.  They are forcing governments to confront violence and discrimination against young women and girls and pushing the UN to commit to a new women’s agency. 

WEDO, alongside dozens of partners, has used this year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to call for a new women’s agency at the UN.  Women’s rights activists have met every other day at the NGO Linkage Caucus to share information and strategize on actions.  They’ve also drafted an Open Letter calling on UN Member States and the Secretary General to commit to gender equality and a new women’s agency.  At this 51st CSW, activists have made a loud and clear case for gender justice and women’s human rights.  And they’re being heard.


UN Reform: What's Next?

We're pleased that the Secretary General used CSW to announce his support for a strengthened gender architecture at the UN and we hope that Member States will work towards creating a consolidated, well-funded agency for women.  While informal discussions are still ongoing,  the UN General Assembly (all Member States) will begin formally deliberating the Panel’s UN Reform recommendations sometime this spring.  In the meantime, women from around the world have used the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York to make their case directly to their government representatives and to the Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki Moon and the new Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro.

We urge you to follow the UN Reform process from wherever you are:  download our UN Reform factsheet and Open Letter from NGOs at the CSW to learn more or lobby your government officials, write letters to the new SG, and join the listserv to stay up to date, email  

WEDO at the World Social Forum

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza (IWTC) presents at WEDO's workshop on gender equality and UN Reform at the World Social Forum, Nairobi.

The 7th annual World Social Forum (WSF) in Nairobi, Kenya marked the first time the week-long social justice meeting converged in Africa.  From 20 – 25 January 2007, WEDO’s Nadia Johson and Anique Halliday joined over 50,000 activists from around the globe to  discuss, challenge, and strategize on a range of issues including globalization, human rights, and the role of the UN.   

WSF workshops covered dozens of issues ranging from anti-globalization to women’s rights to land rights to HIV/AIDS and more.  WEDO’s workshop, “Gender Equality May Finally Arrive at the UN” drew a diverse audience and an energized debate about women’s rights and the relevance of the UN. 

Led by Nadia Johnson, Anique Halliday (WEDO) and Mavic Cabrera-Balleza (International Women’s Tribune Centre-IWTC), the workshop covered the UN Reform process and specifically addressed the creation of the new women’s agency.  Cabrera-Balleza facilitated an energetic debate between the audience about the relevance and so-called democracy of the UN.  The workshop was a space to share concerns about the UN but also to share ideas about how to make women’s rights a priority in UN Reform and on the national and local levels.

The World Social Forum originated in Porte Alegre in 2001 as a response and challenge to the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland.  The idea that “another world is possible” was still very much alive at this 7th annual forum in Nairobi and WEDO was able to re-convene with old partners and broaden our network. 

Prior to the WSF, WEDO participated in the Women Leaders Forum on Food, Agriculture and Trade, organized jointly by Institute on Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN). The strategy meeting brought together activists in women's, farmers and workers movements to identify ways to challenge and change international trade rules that continue to negatively effect women as workers, farmers and consumers. WEDOs project Misfortune 500 is working to advance documentation of the gendered impacts that industrial agribusiness have on women's rights, lives and livelihoods.

"The World Is Not All a Gloomy Picture of Destruction": The UN Forum on Poverty
By Melodie HunterMelodie Hunter, Economic & Social Justice Program Intern

Despite a decade of global policy work on eradicating poverty, very little has changed for the world’s poor.  The goals set out at the beginning of the UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty in 1996 have not been met.  The stark reality of these failings were enumerated and addressed at the UN Forum on the Eradication of Poverty in November of last year.  

The Forum—a mixture of panels and speeches by activists, academics and governments—marked the end of the first UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty borne out of the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty in 1996.   The Decade aimed “to achieve the goal of eradicating absolute poverty and reducing overall poverty substantially in the world.”

Speakers at the forum were fairly candid and clear:  the fight against poverty, in policy and on the ground, has not succeeded.  And yet, there was still a sense of hope, that with new methods and innovative ideas, progress isn't inevitable, that change is on the horizon.


Highlights: What to Watch Out For

Satya magazine features an interview with WEDO's June Zeitlin
Satya Magazine Interview

Be sure to check out Satya Magazine’s interview with WEDO’s Executive Director, June Zeitlin.  Longtime activist, writer and policy analyst Mia MacDonald talks with Ms. Zeitlin about WEDO, gender, the environment and more.    

Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
From 30 April - 11 May, the 15th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will focus on the following areas:  Energy for Sustainable Development; Industrial Development; Air pollution/ Atmosphere; and Climate Change. 

Check out the schedule for CSD-15 (pdf).   And be sure to check for updates on UN Conferences.

Upcoming: A special issue of WEDO Enews & Views
The April issue will be dedicated to WEDO’s work on environment and climate change projects!  You’ll learn more about our exciting gender mainstreaming project with UNEP, new initiatives on climate change, and more . . .