United Nations Centre, New York

Our Voice at the UN

New York – Part 1.

COVID-19 might have silenced the city that never sleeps, but it hasn’t stopped our team of UN Representatives in New York from advocating for women and girls. Our Representatives continue to work virtually, to ensure that the voice of Civil Society will be heard. Our team of six SI UN Representatives in New York cover a wide range of issues including gender equality, sustainable development, financing for development, trafficking, migration, education, ageing, and peace and security. The SI UN Representatives in New York are Bette Levy, Barbara Rochman, Frances Zainoeddin, Vanesa Treers, Maria Fornella, and Jacqueline Shapiro.

copies of the UN charter in a pile

September and October are especially busy months at the UN in New York. September 15, 2020 marks the beginning of activities leading up to the General Assembly. The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Member States of the UN, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of international issues including peace and security. According to the Charter of the United Nations, the function of the General Assembly is to discuss, debate, and make recommendations on subjects pertaining to international peace and security, including development, disarmament, human rights, international law, and the peaceful arbitration of disputes between nations.

There are over 300 events scheduled from September 14 – October 22 2020.  Though we cannot attend the meetings in person, the good news is that we can be a part of these virtual events. All Soroptimist may join in events by watching them on UN Web TV. The United Nations General Assembly Guide for virtual events can be found HERE.

The General Assembly 75th Session High-Level Meetings take place 22 September – 2 October 2020. Highlights of the 75th Session include a high-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women: ‘Accelerating the realisation of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls’, which will take place on Thursday, 1 October. You can watch this event on UN Web TV. The Concept Note is available HERE.

Generation Equality Banner

UN Women have several events of interest to Soroptimists including Women Leaders for Generation Equality. As part of the Generation Equality campaign and in the lead up to the Generation Equality Forum, the Government of Mexico together with UN Women and the Council of Women World Leaders is organising a virtual intergenerational discussion on how diverse leadership can change the world. The event will gather the Women Leaders for Generation Equality with young leaders from different parts of the world to focus on the importance of inclusive leadership and the change it can bring for all girls and women. The event will be held on Thursday, 17 September, 8.30 – 10 a.m. EST on UN Web TV.

Soroptimists can also join the discussion facilitated by The Feminist & Women’s Movement Action Plan by participating in their dialogues around the 6 thematic areas presented via virtual conferences. To learn more and to participate, register HERE.

The first Equal Pay Day event will be held on  Friday, 18 September. Registration is required before Wednesday, 16 September. Zoom connection details will be shared by email to registered participants.

On Friday 18 September, Soroptimist International is co-sponsoring a UN75 Global Governance Forum Side Event, ‘How the Beijing Women’s Conference Speaks to Us Today: Equality’. The event will feature personal stories from those who attended the UN Fourth World Conference on Women, along with youth leaders, who will be providing inspiring narratives for an intergenerational dialogue on equality. This event will discuss how the UN Fourth World Conference on Women speaks to the younger generations today and explain the priority actions for the UN Women Generation Equality Forum (2021) and CSW65. Register HERE.

On Tuesday, 29 September, UN Women is hosting a high-level side event on Gender-Based Violence to highlight progress made on tackling gender-based violence in the context of COVID-19, and to activate the UN Secretary-General engagement strategy on ending violence against women. Click HERE to learn more about these events.

UN75 Shaping our Futures Together logoA High-level Meeting on UN75, the 75th Anniversary of the UN will take place on 21 September under the theme, “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism,” this General Assembly meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations aims to present the outcomes of the UN75 initiative — the world’s largest conversation, launched in January 2020 to gather public opinion and crowdsource solutions to global challenges – and discuss how to take forward the findings for building a better world for all. This culminates over three years of work leading up to this event with UN rep, Bette Levy, serving on the UN2020 Committee as coordinating partner and Together First in the events and planning leading up to the 75th Anniversary of the UN. All members can participate in a survey about the UN we want HERE and create a thank you for the UN HERE.

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