Reduced CSW64: Local and regional governments claim their commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women


In the light of the recent cancellation of most side and parallel events organized by the different organized constituencies, local, regional and national governments, civil society actors, grassroots women organizations and other relevant stakeholders in the context of the 64th session of the Committee for the Condition of Women (CSW64) aimed at celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the World Organization UCLG decides to strike back by organizing a series of alternative activities promoting gender equality.

Last Monday 2 March, UN Member States decided to cancel all events which were to be organized in the context of CSW64, including all side and parallel events, formal interactive dialogues and general discussion foreseen by the organizers themselves, hence preventing local and regional governments, organizations from civil society and grassroots women organizations, and all other relevant stakeholders that play an important role in the achievement of gender equality, from being able to influence the debate. This directly impacts the activities the World Organization had planned to organize in this context, including the Local and Regional Governments Day for Equality on the Localization of the Beijing Declaration and Action Platform.

In response, from 8 to 13 March 2020, UCLG has decided to mobilize driving forces of the network in order to propose a series of relevant actions and events to; mark the commitment of local and regional governments towards the realization and the implementation of equality, to promote the action of the different parts of the organization, to strengthen the work of the network in the searching for synergies around equality, and the empowerment of women -especially regarding leadership and gender mainstreaming- in local development policies. Further, we will ensure participation from Local and Regional Governments in the Beijing+25 Fora in Mexico and Paris.

First, the World Secretariat will continue to ensure that key messages of local and regional governments on gender equality are made known and heard on the international stage. We will continue raising awareness on the importance of the voices of local and regional governments and their communities regarding equality, gender mainstreaming and the empowerment of women at the negotiation table. In order to do this, UCLG will facilitate the participation of local and regional governments through an online communication campaign which will combine official statements, political messages and inputs provided by our membership.

Secondly, taking advantage of the momentum, the World Secretariat has developed an alternative programme that will last throughout the week, consisting of several meetings, including: a training workshop led by Col.lectiu Punt 6 on possible ways to approach equality, gender mainstreaming and sustainable local planning; a workshop session led by UCLG Committee on Culture on the cultural and gender dimensions of local sustainable development of cities; as well as a workshop session led by Metropolis on women, public space and security.

Throughout this coming week, and in particular on Wednesday 11 March 2020, a digital Town Hall session will be organized at the UCLG headquarters in Barcelona with the aim at continuing and promoting the dialogue between local governments and civil society regarding gender issues and the empowerment of women. This Town Hall will gather key actors from civil society and grassroots women organizations in order to discuss their fundamental role regarding the effective localization and implementation of equality at the local level, as well as the absolute need to foster the creation of partnerships and the establishment of multilateral systems in order to address gender equality issues.

The following day will be more political, taking place Thursday 12 March 2020, also digitally. Various representatives of the delegation of elected women initially foreseen to represent the women constituency of UCLG at CSW64 will deliver the key messages of the Organization.

This statement has been structured around the key messages and priorities of the constituency to each of the Generation Equality Action Coalitions and will ultimately give policy recommendations based on the selected themes of each coalition. It is the result of several months of co-creation: from the Durban UCLG Congress to CSW64, and with a participatory approach involving UCLG regional sections and membership, as well as experts and other relevant stakeholders willing to contribute.

The statement will be publicly disseminated to the international community and CSW64 stakeholders from Monday 9 March in order to take part to the global conversation on equality. Additionally, alternative ways to guarantee that their voice is being heard and acknowledged on the global stage and within the international debate on equality, gender mainstreaming and women empowerment will be discussed.

As the World Organization of cities, local and regional governments, we encourage all our members, partners and friends to join our action next week, to participate in one or more sessions which are being organized to ensure our constituency´s voice is heard in the face of the UN´s decision, and to join forces and bring their active support to the communication campaign that will start on next 8 March 2020, on the occasion of the International Women´s Day.