In 2022, CSW66 ran from 14-25 March with the Priority theme: Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. We, alongside our accomplices, particularly Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA for Equality) from Fiji, saw this session of CSW as an opportunity to maintain momentum from the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) and climate summit, and build towards COP27 in November, 2022.
While the session was initially set to be virtual for civil society and hybrid for governments, there was a last-minute decision announced by the UN secretary general that Civil society could also participate in-person, in New York. This was particularly a challenge for hundreds of civil society and feminist groups, particularly from the global south who could still not access the meetings in-person due to limited time to make travel and accommodation arrangements. This decision ultimately had implications on the participants’ potential influence on the negotiations, which RESURJ members and accomplices experienced firsthand while doing language advocacy remotely and following negotiations and meetings in the middle of the night in our time zones. To address and highlight the implications of this, we contributed to and signed an Open letter to UN Women on NGO access to CSW66.
As an important aspect of practicing solidarity and in an effort to respond to often invisibilised needs of virtual advocacy, we supported some feminist accomplices from Fiji, Costa Rica, Libya and Western Sahara who were closely involved in CSW advocacy by providing them with stipends similar to how their participation would have been resourced should they have attended CSW in person. This was also a way of us to ensure the leadership and meaningful participation of young South-based feminists within the forums.
During the CSW66 sessions, we participated and influenced CSW66 by engaging with the LBTI caucus, Women’s Rights Caucus and the regional consultation forums. Further, RESURJ and our accomplices engaged in language advocacy to influence language in the CSW66 Agreed Conclusions by inputting language on loss and damage, debt, false solutions, just and equitable transition, climate finance and the link between SRHR and climate justice. This was in an effort to influence demonstrated commitment by states and increased funding for the realization of SRHR that take into account the social, economic, environmental determinants of health and wellbeing and outcome. Our accomplice, Mena, from Western Sahara shared a reflection on the sessions which asks questions about the political realities that are absent from CSW, whether among the states or in the feminist organizing around this advocacy space and the importance of a decentralized feminist movement.
During CSW66, we co-sponsored a side-event on March 23rd on climate justice and women and girls and birthing persons of African descent. This event was in collaboration with UNFPA, National Birth Equity Collaborative and Global Fund for Women. The event focused on the intersecting impacts of climate change on women, girls and birthing persons of African descent around the globe and how to support gender justice movements inclusive of women, girls and birthing persons of African descent that are organizing to fight against climate change.
RESURJ put forward an ally from Coletivo Mangueiras in Brazil as a discussant who highlighted the Brazilian context and how the Zika epidemic in 2015 directly affected the life and motherhood of people of African descent. She further shared the need to empower women of African descent to reduce the birthing inequity and for organizations to continue to mobilize and design actions that seek to holistically empower women and girls and birthing persons of African descent. She also called on the critical need to ensure that young people play an active role in the fight for their rights by bringing them into critical spaces.
RESURJ also contributed language and signed a solidarity statement for Ukraine led by Fos Feminista calling governments to guarantee the sexual and reproductive health of all women, adolescents, girls and gender diverse people in Ukraine, in the context of the refugee crisis in Ukraine and its neighboring countries. RESURJ also supported an online campaign by Pacific feminists demanding gender and climate justice, recognizing that gender justice cannot be achieved without socio-economic, ecological and climate justice. The #CSW66Pacific campaign ran from 7-27 March 2022 and RESURJ supported it by amplifying the messaging from the campaign on all our social media platforms and translating them to Spanish and Portuguese for a wider reach.