This morning NGOs found out that not only would there not be an outcome document from this year's CSW, but the political declaration that would be serving as the official output from the conference was already agreed.
Just ten minutes before the declaration was due to be tabled and approved, UK NGOs received hard copies of the text. It totals less than two pages and is as general as it is brief.
According to the document, the text has been in circulation since late February. Yet even the official NGO Committee on the CSW didn't have copies of the document before today. It fell to an NGO from Austria to share the information.
Most of the UK NGO represenatives I've spoken to are unhappy with the text, not because there is anything in it that is a problem, but because there isn't much to it at all. Having received it late and almost after the fact, it is even more disppointing for them to have found that it is so weak on content.
Let's not forget, too, that today is only Day 2. If the text is agreed, what exactly are states planning on doing for the next ten days?
Apparently they will spend their time on various resolutions that are due to be tabled in the coming days. Likely topics include FGM, women taken as hostages and Palestinian women. And again, actual text seems to be elluding NGOs. None of the UK NGOs at a briefing with the UK delegation this evening had seen copies.
With a record 7000 NGOs estimated to be registered for this year's CSW and tensions mounting over lack of access to proceedings and transparency over process, the time for NGO action is approaching.
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