A sad and major update to share about CSW64.
Due to serious concerns about the spread of COVID-19, there was a meeting this morning inside the UNHQ to make a decision about whether or not to hold CSW64. Yesterday there was the first confirmed case of the virus in New York City, and there have been cases elsewhere in the NYC suburban area. Many civil society organizations were advocating over the past few days for the CSW to be postponed, as were a large number of member states. This situation has been rapidly evolving – just on Friday, emails went out saying that the conference would go ahead as planned, so a lot has changed over the weekend.
At this morning’s meeting, there was a discussion for a few hours about what to do, and ultimately, member states decided that the full CSW64 (9-20 March) will be replaced by a one-day procedural meeting on the 9th of March only to adopt the pre-negotiated political declaration and programme of work. The rest of CSW will be cancelled for now, and postponed to a later date (that has not yet been decided). Side events inside the UN and ministerial dialogues will also be cancelled. Tentatively, member states suggested postponing the CSW to sometime in July, but this has not been confirmed and we do not know when we will hear more information about this.
NGO-CSW, the body which coordinates civil society participation at CSW, has also just confirmed to us verbally that all parallel events, Consultation Day, and their reception are cancelled as well.
This means that essentially the entire CSW is cancelled, with the exception of the one day, 9 March, which will only be open to member states and New York-based civil society organizations. Your CSW passes that we obtained for you, therefore, will not be valid for entering the UN anymore.
We are extremely sorry to be sharing this sad news with you all, and had truly hoped that you all could join us at CSW64 next week. Ultimately, safety is the most important thing.
Please feel free to reach out directly with any questions and we would be happy to answer.
Sharing here the info sent out by the UN earlier today on the status of CSW64, after the Briefing:
“Following the UN Secretary General’s recommendation to drastically scale back the upcoming session of the CSW due to 2019-nCoV concerns, the Commission debated alternative formats and dates and explored several possibilities for the 9-20 March session. The Commission decided to hold a short, one-day event on Monday, 9 March where delegations will adopt the draft political declaration and any other draft resolutions that will become available. The meeting will then be suspended, to be resumed at a later date to be determined, so the CSW64 can meet in its full schedule and capacity. No general debate will take place on 9 March and all side events will be cancelled.
NGO CSW announced during the event that they are cancelling the Forum and all related events.
The decision leaves us in a key moment to strategise on a number of issues, not least how to hold governments and the UN accountable to finding dates to hold the resumed CSW.
Please Note for those intended to attend CSW 64th
The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a key opportunity to advance gender equality and women’s rights globally. UN Women as the substantive Secretariat for the Commission is currently evaluating the situation with respect to COVID-19 disease given the size of the event starting on 9th March.
• Based on available information, UN Women is providing guidance to participants attending CSW to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 disease; including information in the note for participants and side events’ organisers. Guidance will also be disseminated electronically to NGO participants.
• Pertinent information has been added to the CSW Information note for participants which is on the website, and documents available here: https://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw64-2020
• The CSW Chair will draw attention to the precautionary measures in his preparatory briefing for the session on 2 March.
• UN Women has been informed about a few cancellations of attendance to CSW.
• UN Women will offer an online webcast of events to participants and presenters who are unable to attend in person, as much as technically and logistically possible.
• UN Women will continue to actively monitor the situation as it evolves; and will follow the recommendations and guidance of relevant authorities including UNDSS, World Health Organisation, UN Emergency Task Force, and UN Medical Service at UNHQ.