Mountain women advocacy at CSW62


A 26-member delegation from Utah Valley University (UVU) participated in the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters on 19-21 March 2018. The priority theme of CSW62 was “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”. The UVU delegation, led by Baldomero Lago, Vice-Rector for Global Engagement at UVU, included faculty members and students, many of whom are members of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU.

One of the goals of the delegation’s mission to New York was to raise awareness at CSW62 about the lack of global attention to mountain women, who remain among the poorest in the world and the most vulnerable to challenges such as climate change and out-migration. The UVU delegation presented the student-engaged learning (SEL) model as a tool for addressing these issues. The SEL model provides students opportunities to gain experience and professional skills as a group through hands-on activities with faculty, who serve as mentors, with the UIMF representing the SEL model’s core. Using the SEL model, UVU has advocated for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 (gender equality) in the state of Utah, United States of America, in interaction with the three SDG mountain targets by hosting the international “Women of the Mountains” conferences since 2007.

As a result of UVU’s year-long preparations for CSW62, students were able to demonstrate the SEL model in action by hosting a side event, titled “Advocating for rural and mountain women globally through student engaged learning”, on 19 March, co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and of Uzbekistan to the UN. During the side event, representatives of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS) and Utah-China Friendship Improvement Shared Hands and Development and Commerce (Utah-China F.I.S.H.&D.&C), non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, highlighted the UVU model and their joint work with the UIMF during the last three years to advocate for sustainable mountain development globally.

The delegation also hosted a parallel event on 20 March, titled, “Education for sustainable development to Empower rural and mountain women”, co-sponsored by RANS, The Mountain Institute and Utah-China F.I.S.H.& D.&C.. The three organizations also submitted a written statement (E/CN.6/2018/NGO/37) about mountain women and the UVU SEL model that was accepted by the UN Secretariat in December 2017 for presentation during CSW62.

While in New York, the UVU delegation also met with representatives of the UN Department of Public Information and the New York liaison office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN as well as with the Permanent Representative of Botswana to the UN, Charles Thembani Ntwaagae, and Permanent Representative of Uzbekistan to the UN, Bakhtiyor Ibragimov.

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News by UIMF members Matt Rands, Dylan Genes, Derek Garfield, Yanko Dzhukev

Photo: UIMF/Carlos Alarco

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