reproductive autonomy

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

Due to COVID-19, it is expected that 13 million more child marriages could take place by 2030 than would have otherwise. Families are more likely to marry off daughters to alleviate the perceived burden of caring for them, especially in the anticipated economic fallout of the pandemic.

In turn, the fight to end obstetric fistula, one of the most serious and tragic injuries that can occur during childbirth, could be threatened by COVID-19.

Obstetric fistula is preventable; it can largely be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy; the cessation of harmful traditional practices; and timely access to obstetric care. Unfortunately, the current pandemic affects all these preventive measures in developing countries where obstetric fistula still exists – countries in which health care systems, even before the coronavirus outbreak, failed to provide accessible, quality maternal health care.

The pandemic is also expected to cause significant delays in programmes to end female genital mutilation (FGM) – something that could lead to a spike in FGM cases, according to UNFPA, which is a contributing factor for obstetric fistula.

As the virus advances in these countries, health services become overloaded, or provide a limited set of the services that women need. At the same time, many women and girls also skip important medical check-ups for fear of contracting the virus.

With this possible future scenario of preventive measures in danger, now more than ever, it is important to call on the international community to use the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula to significantly raise awareness and intensify actions towards ending obstetric fistula, as well as urging post-surgery follow-up and tracking of fistula patients.

To read personal testimonials and learn more about how the UN commemorates this day, visit un.org/en/observances/end-fistula-day.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee for Rare Diseases, please visit ngocommitteerarediseases.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org. ngocsw-geneva.ch.

65th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

The sixty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 15 to 26 March 2021.

{Click here for information on the Virtual NGO CSW65 Virtual Forum

Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world are invited to attend the session.

Priority theme: Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls;

Review theme: Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development (agreed conclusions of the sixtieth session)

Explore official meetings and organization of the session at unwomen.org/en/csw/csw65-2021/official-meetings.

Bureau

The Bureau of the Commission plays a crucial role in facilitating the preparation for, and in ensuring the successful outcome of the annual sessions of the Commission. Bureau members serve for two years. In 2002, in order to improve its work and ensure continuity, the Commission decided to hold the first meeting of its subsequent session, immediately following the closure of the regular session, for the sole purpose of electing the new Chairperson and other members of the Bureau (ECOSOC decision 2002/234).

The Bureau for the 65th session (2021) of the Commission on the Status of Women comprises the following members:

  • H.E. Mr. Mher Margaryan (Armenia), Chair (Eastern European States Group)
  • Ms. Jo Feldman (Australia), Vice-Chair (Western European and other States Group)
  • Ms. Ahlem Sara Charikhi (Algeria), Vice-Chair (African States Group)
  • Mr. Na Sang Deok (Republic of Korea), Vice-Chair (Asia-Pacific States Group)
  • Vice-Chair for the Latin American and Caribbean States Group; to be nominated

Preparations

  • Expert Group Meeting: Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls

Organization of the Session

The Commission’s two-weeks session will include the following activities:

Official Documents

Session Outcomes

The outcome of the Commission’s consideration of the priority theme during its 65th session will take the form of agreed conclusions, to be negotiated by all Member States.

NGO Participation

Side Events

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch