WEDO Enews & Views
Women's Environment & Development Organization

September 2007
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In This Issue
The WEDO View: Women's Lobby on UN Reform Remains Strong but Slow-Going
Engendering the Climate Change Agenda
WEDO Recommends New Facilitators for CSD
New 50/50 Factsheets!
Quick Links
Dear friend,
This fall, WEDO is concentrating its energy in two areas: UN Reform and Climate Change.

For more than ten years, women have been waiting for their governments and the UN system to fulfill the promises made in Beijing.  There is a consensus that the current UN system and resources are inadequate for the task. That is why WEDO is working hard on UN reform to strengthen the organization's capacity to further gender equality and the empowerment of women. WEDO is calling on Member States to adopt a new structure for gender equality within the UN system before the end of the year.

Our work on climate change continues to gain momentum. In July, after calling attention to the absence of gender in climate change discussions at the UN, a special invitation was extended to WEDO to address the General Assembly as part of the Informal Thematic Debate on Climate Change as a Global Challenge. On September 24th, the UN Secretary General will convene a High-Level Session on Climate Change. Read on to find out how WEDO is getting involved and highlighting the gender dimensions of climate change.

In other news, our good friend and champion for women's rights at the UN, Noeleen Heyzer, who held the position of Executive Director of UNIFEM since 1994, was appointed Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), with the rank of Under-Secretary-General. She is the first woman to head ESCAP, which is the biggest of the UN's five regional commissions.

We are excited to announce that WEDO Enews & Views will now be available in French and Spanish. We hope that this will help us to reach out to an even wider audience and share news and updates about our work on women's rights.

Your continued support helps us to keep up this critical work.

June Zeitlin, Executive Director

June Zeitlin, Executive Director

The WEDO View: Women's Lobby on UN Reform Remains Strong but Slow-Going
By Colette Tamko, Gender & Governance Program Coordinator
Gender Equality Architecture Reform continues to be a critical issue across UN agencies.
Women's groups have been lobbying hard to create a new United Nations Women's Agency that will deliver consistent results on gender equality, both inside the UN and in the field. But despite a show of support from member states, the Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General, and the now-former President of the General Assembly (GA), women advocates are concerned that progress on the issue is slow-going.

During the month of August, women activists lobbied governments, meeting with several Permanent missions in New York and with the UN Secretariat to urge them to speak in favor of the Gender Equality Architecture (GEA) and to act for a resolution endorsing a strengthened GEA. The need for a strong GEA at the UN was documented by the High-Level Panel on the Coherence of the UN system after women demanded that the UN expand its capacity, stature and resources to  advance women's human rights and gender equality and to improve women's day to day lives on the ground.
The New York group also met with the now-former President of the GA, H.E. Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, and with the Deputy Secretary General, Asha-Rose Migiro, to stress the need that women's organizations be consulted in the process and to ensure that women's views are taken into account.

On the last day of the 61st GA session, September 17, the GA was expected to adopt at least one procedural resolution on UN Reform and, we had hoped, another separate resolution on gender.  Despite support from the now-former GA President and numerous Member States, neither resolution was passed. This means that discussions on the issue will continue during the 62nd session, which began on September 18.  WEDO, along with our partners, understands the need to strategize, continue lobbying efforts to maintain momentum, and move this important process forward.

Stay tuned for updates as WEDO and partners continue to press for a consolidated, strengthened UN women's organization.

Gender & Climate ChangeEngendering the Climate Change Agenda

On September 24th, heads of state and ministers will converge in New York to send a message to the world about the urgency of climate change. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is convening a high-level event on climate change to ensure that the uppermost levels of government are committed to negotiating a stronger international agreement that will replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. As the annual climate change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Bali in December grow closer, discussions from the Secretary-General's event will send a powerful signal that "business as usual" cannot go on and that action must be taken to reduce global warming.

In preparation for the event, WEDO will host a high-level roundtable on gender equality and climate change in partnership with the Council of Women World Leaders and the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America on September 21st.  Participants will include two of the Secretary-General's Special Envoys on Climate Change-Former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland and South Korea's former foreign minister Han Seung-soo-as well as ministers and UN staff working on climate change.  The roundtable will produce recommendations to ensure that gender equality and women's participation are highlighted during the Secretary-General's event.

For more information, visit WEDO's webpage on gender and climate change, including the fact sheet Changing the Climate: Why Women's Perspectives Matter (English, French and Spanish) and the newest version of our Gender & Climate Change Resource List.

Changing the Climate: Why Women's Perspectives MatterFeature Highlight: Changing the Climate
Why Women's Perspectives Matter

This resource draws the links between gender and climate change and details why women need to be at the center of the climate change debate and policymaking. A must-read for activists, academics and policymakers.  Check it out.
WEDO Recommends New Facilitators for CSD

Since the 15th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-15), WEDO has been consulting with a wide variety of organizations about transitioning our role as official facilitator of the CSD Women's Major Group. The CSD Secretariat asked WEDO to recommend organizations that have experience in the upcoming CSD themes of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification, and Africa. Many of our CSD partners nominated organizations and helped us to ensure a fair and inclusive process. Based on the criteria set at the outset of this process, as well as consultations by email and phone, WEDO recommended the following organizations as co-facilitators: Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), African Women Leaders in Agriculture and the Environment (AWLAE) and the GRATIS Foundation, Ghana.

These three organizations have been accepted as co-facilitators by the CSD Secretariat and are now making preparations for CSD-16 and CSD-17.  These co-facilitators will also coordinate with a larger group of organizations engaged in the Women's Major Group, including PELUM Association, Women Environmental Programme (WEP-Nigeria), Energia, World Conservation Union (IUCN), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Genanet, MAMA-86, Netherlands Council of Women, and others. WEDO will continue to provide guidance to the Women's Major Group facilitators and key partners during the CSD-16/17 cycle during 2008-2009.

The listserv of the CSD Women's Major Group has also changed.  To join, visit

Support WEDOWe've made it easier for you to support WEDO.  Using JustGive, you can easily (and safely!) donate to WEDO online.  Just click on the button at right to support WEDO today.  Because when women lead, the world benefits.
New 50/50 Factsheets Make the Case AGAIN for Gender Balance in Government Decision-Making! 

WEDO announces two new factsheets on women in government. Getting the Balance Right in National Cabinets presents cutting-edge research on women's under-representation in 188 national cabinets. Getting the Balance Right in National Parliaments documeGet the Balance Right!nts that women's representation in national parliaments continues to slowly increase. Essential tools for policy-makers, activists, and academics, these factsheets available in English, French and Spanish are must-read for anyone committed to ensuring gender equity in governments worldwide.

Welcome to our new Gender and Governance Program Coordinator!

Originally from Cameroon, Colette Tamko is a lawyer with Master's degrees in International Affairs and in Corporate and Securities Law. Prior to joining WEDO earlier this summer, Colette practiced law in Cameroon and worked on gender and human rights issues with a regional Cameroon-based women's organization.  She also worked in the FAO liaison office in New York and, most recently, as an Information Services Coordinator with the World Federalist Movement-Coalition for the International Criminal Court.  With experience working towards a strong and effective ICC, Colette now coordinates WEDO's 50/50 Campaign, as well as UN Reform. WEDO extends a warm welcome to Colette!

Strengthening Civil Society Participation in Financing for Development

As the General Assembly launches its preparations for the 2008 review conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Doha, actions are underway by civil society groups to ensure that continued and strengthened civil society participation occurs throughout the process and that a high-level outcome emerges from the conference-- one which would help advance government commitments to gender equality, poverty eradication and sustainable development.

WEDO was among a group of civil society networks and NGOs to sign-on to a letter to newly-appointed Co-Facilitators of consultations related to the Doha conference. The letter states, "The FfD Review Conference needs its own focused preparatory process leading up to a negotiated document such as a Declaration. We propose that such a process should: 1) involve a thorough review of progress in achieving the Monterrey Commitments, 2) take stock of challenges to be addressed and obstacles to be overcome, and 3) explore new issues on financing development that have emerged or become more pressing since the Monterrey Conference, and that merit a detailed review."

In June, the General Assembly President appointed two facilitators, the Ambassadors of Norway and Egypt, to engage member states in preparations for the 2008 FfD Review Conference. These consultations are a step towards establishing the preparatory modalities and the agenda-setting process for the Doha Conference.

WEDO and colleagues will be meeting with the Ambassadors and monitoring the General Assembly process in the next few months. We will continue to keep you informed on this initiative.

The next key event leading up to the Doha conference is the General Assembly High-Level Dialogue on FfD, which will take place at UN headquarters in New York from 23 to 24 October 2007, immediately after the Annual Meetings of the IFIs in Washington DC. Register now [] for the Civil Society Hearings, taking place on October 22, and the High-Level Dialogue.

Learn more about Financing for Development and why it matters to women.

Editors:  Anna Grossman & Cate Owren
WEDO is an international organization that advocates for women's equality in global policy.  Working in key global forums such as the UN, WEDO advocates for and seeks to empower women as decision makers to achieve economic, social and gender justice, a healthy, peaceful planet and human rights for all. For more information, visit