A mother and child at a community clinic in rural northeastern Bangladesh. 
Photo: UN Photo/ Mark Garten.A mother and child at a community clinic in rural northeastern Bangladesh. Photo: UN Photo/ Mark Garten

Norway disappointed at CSW outcome

Last updated: 3/19/2012 // The 56 Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 56) ended without agreed conclusions, almost one week over time. Norway finds the result deeply regrettable, particularly for rural woman, which was the theme for this year’s meeting.

The entire Commission, which started February 27th, was marked by countries and other stakeholders who wanted to reverse the gender equality policy. With few exceptions, it was hardly possible to agree on anything that would result in meaningful progress in terms of women's rights, power and opportunities.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

Not surprisingly, one of the main controversial issues was the matter of women's health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights. Regarding the draft resolution on the empowerment of rural woman the facilitator proposed at 1 am Thursday night that the final document could conclude without the mention of sexual and reproductive health. Norway and the United States made it clear that we could not agree on such a solution. The negotiations were broken, but a new attempt was made Thursday morning. This attempt was based on a compromise developed by the United States, in consultation with Norway and other like-minded states. The compromise was not accepted by a long line of countries. Among the most active opponents was the African Group, under the strong influence of the delegate of Egypt. Also Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and Russia belonged to the same side in the negotiations. In addition, the Holy See actively worked to weaken the language in terms of sexuality, rights and health throughout the Commission.

"Moral Hazard"

Due to this situation, Norway's UN Ambassador Morten Wetland decided to give a statement at the closing day of the commission. The statement was entitled "Moral Hazard" and addressed the forces and attitudes that tried to take control of the UN's normative work to promote women's rights and gender equality. Before the final meeting, Norway had actively encouraged others to speak for the same purpose. This led to the fact that the EU, Switzerland, Iceland and Turkey delivered statements with the same message, though not in quite the same form. In addition, the U.S., Canada and Australia delivered constructive statements. For the first time at this year's CSW meeting, it was the progressive speakers who were in majority.

Adopted resolutions

Despite the lack of agreement on the final declaration from this year's CSW, six resolutions were adopted, including ones on maternal health, indigenous women and - for the first time - gender equality in natural disasters. One did however not agree on the annual CSW Resolution on HIV / AIDS.

Norway will continue to insist that the United Nations, including the Commission on the Status of Women, shall take rational decisions for a better world for all – including all women.

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