CSW 54

Monday, March 1, 2010

The fifty-fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 1-12 March 2010. The session reviewed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at its 15th anniversary.

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The WILPF PeaceWomen team monitored 35 events related to Women Peace and Security at CSW 54 (2010). Main themes were Violence Against Women (VAW), the gaps in implementation of SCR 1325, and the many ways that participation can be achieved by women in various scales of life around the world.

There are numerous achievements to be celebrated regarding the presence of women in political and civic life. During this years’ CSW, some highlights were:

  • Sierra Leone launched its 1325 and 1829 Implementation National Action Plans (SiLNAP) during a highly interactive panel discussion during the CSW, entitled “Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 - The Sierra Leone Experience”. 
  • Over 150 people attended this event from a broad swath of UN Agencies, UN Country Missions, and NGOs. 
  • The indicators consultation to involve NGOs in the gender architecture reform at the United Nations. 
  • Margot Wallstrom, the new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict was sworn in and spoke at several events, most notably during the UNite to End Violence Against Women panel. 
  • There was high-level representation at several of the events including Rachel Mayanja, Assistant Secretary General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women.

Read PeaceWomen’s full report here.


The 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place from the 1st to the 12th of March 2010. During this period, the Commission on the Status of Women undertook a fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action* and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. The General Assembly also marked the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in a commemorative meeting during CSW.

While the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPA) addresses a wide range of issues faced by women internationally, four of the Strategic Objectives are specifically relevant to PeaceWomen work: Violence Against Women, Women and Armed Conflict, Women in Power and Decision-Making, and Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women (Objectives D, E, G, and H, respectively.) Together, these Strategic Objectives address the disproportionate effect that conflict has on women, the fact that women are targeted specifically because they are women, the need for protection of women, and the overwhelming need for and benefit of involving women in power and decision-making.

Building on Beijing, CSW 54 placed emphasis on the sharing of experiences and good practices, with a view to overcoming remaining obstacles and new challenges, including those related to the Millennium Development Goals. The CSW outcome document, “Declaration on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women” (E/CN.6/2010/L.1), reaffirms the importance of the BPFA, applauds the achievements made toward its implementation thus far, and calls upon all levels of society to intensify its work toward its full implementation.

Three of the Commission’s draft resolutions (to be recommended by ECOSOC) were of particular relevance to PeaceWomen Issues: “Situation of and assistance to Palestinian women” (E/CN.6/2010/L.4), “Release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts” (E/CN.6/2010/L.3), and “Strengthening the institutional arrangements of the United Nations for support of gender equality and the empowerment of women by consolidating the four existing offices into a composite entity” (E/CN.6/2010/L.7).

Regarding the situation of Palestinian women draft resolution, there is clear mention of the need for women in decision-making, as well as a reference to SCR 1325: “Emphasizing the importance of increasing the role of women in peacebuilding and decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and the peaceful resolution of conflicts as part of efforts to ensure the safety and well being of all women in the region, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and involvement in all efforts for the achievement, maintenance and promotion of peace and security…”

Regarding women and children held hostage, there are several mentions of Security Council Resolutions 1325 with respect to the unequal effect of armed conflict on women, specifically by being held hostage and, at times, held as sex slaves or trafficked.

Regarding the Composite Entity of the UN (also referred to as GEAR, Gender Equality Architecture Reform), the Commission welcomes the full implementation of such an entity, recognizing the UN’s commitment to gender equality worldwide.

A series of parallel events provided additional opportunities for information exchange and networking. National and regional review processes fed into the global review process.

Reporting done by Maria Butler, PeaceWomen Program Associate, and PeaceWomen Research Assistants, Rubai Aurora, Emily Meyer, Sarah Ochs, Rachel Reyes, and Rai Sow.