From 27 to 29 May, Guayaquil is hosting more than 400 people from 37 different countries at the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas. Among other things, the forum will support the voices of dozens of community leaders skilled in disaster mitigation practices and practices to reduce the effects of climate change risk. The meeting comes at a key moment in which international agencies are preparing to renew their support and commitment to sustainable development in the post-2015 agenda and to advancing the Hyogo Framework for Action. The success of the future agenda of development will depend on the ability of its policy to incorporate the experiences of communities working on the ground.

The increased incidence of typhoons, earthquakes, landslides, and hurricanes which the world has experienced in the last decade is leading governments to give greater attention and resources to the prevention and mitigation of the effects of these natural disasters. The stakes are high-- millions of lives and millions of dollars. For years, grassroots women have played the role of first responders to the crises of natural disasters, and now governments and international organizations have begun to listen. The knowledge base that these women possess is the key to effective implementation of plans which will reduce the impact of future disasters.


In the last few months, the final stage of the evaluation process of the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action has been developed in all the signatory countries. Several women organizations members of Huairou Commission and Groots International had the opportunity to participate in their countries in this process. The following is the experience of three of these organizations:Fundación Guatemala, GROOTS Perú y la Asociación Rosa de Montaña en Venezuela.


Nueva York. Nueva York este marzo, nos recibe con un frío intenso, montañas y ríos de sus bosques circundantes aún lucen congelados, mientras en la Gran Manzana la nieve está en retirada pero el viento entumece. Las bajas temperaturas se ven contrarrestadas sin embargo, por el afiebrado ajetreo de decenas de delegaciones oficiales y no oficiales, de todas las nacionalidades, razas y edades que han arribado a esta ciudad con motivo de los eventos organizados alrededor de la 58 Sesión de la CSW-Comisión del Estatus de la Mujer de la ONU. Muchísimas mujeres, y una buena cuota de hombres, llegaron para debatir, comprometerse y llamar la atención de los serios obstáculos que subsisten aún, para el avance de la mujer. Este año, las deliberaciones se centraron en los logros de los Objetivos del Milenio, y en un balance previo de la Plataforma de Beijing, ad portas de su 20 Aniversario.


One of the most relevant outcomes of the Commission on Status of Women was the agreed conclusions on the priority themes for the future Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and concrete recommendations for governments and institutions to implement at the local, national and global levels in the coming years. 


The  Agreed Conclusions for CSW58 were reached after a marathon sitting that went until 3 am. Lana Finikin, representing GROOTS Jamaica, talks in this interview about the process, the relevance of the outcomes, and the role that the agreed conclusions play for the future.  



Contributed by: Olenka Ochoa Berreteaga

New York welcomed us with intense cold. The mountains and rivers of the surrounding forests still looked frozen, while in the Big Apple the snow was moving back but the wind still froze. But for us, the low temperatures were offset by the dynamic hustle of dozens of official and non-official delegations of all nationalities, races, and ages who had come to the city for the events organized around the 58th Session of the UN-CSW (Commission on the Status of Women). Many women-- and a good number of men-- came to discuss, pledge their support, and draw attention to the serious, enduring obstacles to the advancement of women. This year the discussions focused on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and on the current state of the Beijing Platform, nearing its 20th Anniversary.

The streets of Manhattan were filled with warmth and color, brightened further by the celebrations for March 8-International Women's Day. The UN headquarters launched its activities for the day with the slogan, "Equality For Women Is Progress For All" and a program led by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, with Hillary Clinton as a special guest. The streets were filled with demonstrations outside of the UN, groups that varied from local Orthodox Jews to Tibetans to a group of young Ukrainians, representatives of the current crisis which has led to a new Cold War between USA and Russia, a crisis exacerbated by the recent events in Crimea. Any and all protesting with different demands, for territorial, religious, or political sovereignty, or for national or personal autonomy.

In addition, domestic political affairs heated the atmosphere. With the presidential announcement of the Public Budget for 2015, which seeks to revive the economy and throw lifelines to poor families and the middle sector burdened by the crisis, Obama moved a new playing card, attempting to draw reforms to reduce the tax duties on disadvantaged sectors and increase the public resources to improve education, job training, pre-kindergarten services and infrastructure. The main beneficiaries will be children, college students, low-income families, and especially a large segment of women of reproductive age with unstable income, who cannot balance both work and family care. Undoubtedly, this was a gift from Obama for Women's Day.


Medellín, Colombia. The Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7), convened by UN-Habitat from April 5-11, comes at a critical point in global development processes. We are standing on the brink of a new framework for global development goals (Post-2015 agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs), a new Hyogo Framework for Action on disaster management and resilience (HFA2), and the upcoming Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development in 2016 (Habitat III). All of these-- post-2015 agenda, HFA2 and Habitat III-- provide a critical opportunity to do development better. This time around, grassroots women are insisting upon meaningful engagement in the process.


The Seventh World Urban Forum (WUF7) is rapidly approaching this year from April 5-11th, hosted by the City of Medellin, Colombia, with the theme “Urban Equality in Development – Cities for Life.” As a non-legislative technical forum convened by UN-Habitat, the World Urbam Forum examines the most pressing issues facing the world today in the area of human settlements, including rapid urbanization and its impact on cities, communities, economies, climate change and policies.

As a lead partner of UN-Habitat, Huairou Commission will play its historic role of ensuring women are at the forefront of the debates around urbanization and human settlements. We hope you will join us as we host the Grassroots Academy, convene the Daily Women's Caucus, and participate in the Gender Equality Action Assembly and Gender and Women's Roundtable.


Recife, Brazil. On March 12, after five decades of struggle to regularize their informal housing settlement amidst eviction threats and unfulfilled promises from past governments, community members of Ponte do Maduro in Northeast Brazil celebrated as the Governor of the State of Pernambuco issued the first land titles to residents of Chié during a special ceremony.


Join us for these events hosted by or featuring grassroots women leaders from the Huairou Commission at this year's UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58), March 10-21, 2014


United Nations

New York, NY