CoNGO Vienna Celebration of the UN at 70

Speech by Ilona Graenitz, Chair, NGO Committee on the Status of Women Vienna

Oct.5, 2015

“Global Goals will only be realized in a world of peace, security and respect for Human Rights.”

The NGO Committee on the Status of Women was founded in Vienna during the 1990s, when the UN unit for women’s issues was still based in Vienna.

When the preparatory process for UN Conference on Women Beijing 1995 took place in Vienna,  the committee members are proud to note that the then chairperson Marlene Parenzan is still a member of the committee.

In 2015, 20 years after the Beijing Conference, the “ Beijing Platform” with the 12 areas of concern is still relevant and was confirmed at CSW in March. There is no new document, as due to the backlash in women’s rights it is to be feared that UN member states may not be able to agree on a progressive declaration.

The tasks of the NGO Committee ion the Status of Women in Vienna, are on one hand following the agenda set by UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women, in cooperation with the sister committees in Geneva and New York, on the other hand mainstreaming: making women’s concerns visible in the work of the Vienna based UN agencies, in particular in UNODC’s work on Criminal Justice.

Work within the UN system has changed since “Project Paperless UN” was introduced and has made work different – sometimes easier, sometimes more difficult – e.g. in the system, activities of NGO committees (tabling of statements) are not foreseen, only those of individual ECOSOC accredited NGOs.

NGOs, in particular those with a long tradition, have to change their ways of working and find new methods for effective advocacy and informing members. The New Media may help with this, but certainly also new strategies have to be worked out.

When the Summit on Sustainable Development in New York agreed last week on the Sustainable Development Goals to be reached by 2030, one of the goals was a stand-alone Goal on Gender Equality. Women’s organizations are sure that such a goal is a prerequisite for Sustainable Development as well as peace and respect for the environment.

We believe that the crisis in the world can only be solved, when there is open and respectful cooperation between the UNO and the UN Member States, and NGOs and civil society.