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March 2012


CEDAW: 51st Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

Geneva, Switzerland, 13 February to 2 March 2012
Host / Sponsor: UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold its 52st session 13 February - 2 March 2012

> Click here for details and country reports




56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

New York, USA, 27 February to 9 March 2012
Host / Sponsor: United Nations

The fifty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 27 February to 9 March 2012. Representatives from Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world will attend the session. There will be a number of activities, including interactive dialogues and panels, during the two-week session.

This following highlights key focus areas of CSW 2012.

  • Priority Theme: The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges
  • Review Theme: Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women (agreed conclusions from the fifty-second session)
  • Emerging Issue: Engaging young women and men, girls and boys, to advance gender equality

Side Events by Permanent Missions and UN Entities

Side Events by NGOs

> Read more



International Women's Day 2012

Worldwide, 8 March 2012
Host / Sponsor: United Nations

Theme for International Women's Day 2012:
Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty

International Women's Day was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year. More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration.

In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women's Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions. The Day is traditionally marked with a message from the Secretary-General.

> UN System Observances for IWD 2012
> The UN System and Rural Women (Special Feature)



Q&A with UN Mediation Experts on Twitter

Online, 9-12 March 2012
Host / Sponsor: UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA)

On 9 March 2012, the UN Department of Political Affairs launched its Guidance for Mediators on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence. On the sidelines of the event, UN Mediation Experts will answer your questions about addressing conflict-related sexual violence in ceasefire and peace agreements.

Tweet your questions with the hashtag #sexualviolenceinconflict from 9-12 March 2012.

Selected questions will be answered and published on this page. Follow the UN Department of Political Affairs on Twitter @UN_DPA


> Read more



International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Worldwide, 21 March 2012
Host / Sponsor: United Nations

The theme for this year's event is "Racism and Conflict," highlighting the fact that racism and discrimination often are at the root of deadly conflict. The theme was chosen to capture the often ignored yet mutually reinforcing relationship between racism and conflict. In many parts of the world, racism, prejudice and xenophobia create extreme tension and are used as powerful weapons to engender fear or hatred in times of conflict. Prejudice and xenophobia can even lead to genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes.


> Read more



International World Water Day

Worldwide, 22 March 2012
Host / Sponsor: United Nations

International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

This year's theme is water and food security. In developing countries, 43 percent of the farmers are women, but their importance is even higher than this figure might suggest, according to the FAO. Women, for instance, are usually not enabled to perform well because of unequal access to services and resource inputs — including water. If women had the same access to resources as men, they could increase yields to their farms by 20 to 30 percent. Closing the gender gap would lift 150 million people out of hunger.

Related Links


> International World Water Day (Main Website)

> Brochure on Water and Food Security (World Water Day 2012)



International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims

Worldwide, 24 March 2012
Host / Sponsor: United Nations

On 21 December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 March as the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims.

The purpose of the Day is to:

  • Honour the memory of victims of gross and systematic human rights violations and promote the importance of the right to truth and justice;
  • Pay tribute to those who have devoted their lives to, and lost their lives in, the struggle to promote and protect human rights for all;
  • Recognize, in particular, the important work and values of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, of El Salvador, who was assasinated on 24 March 1980, after denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable populations and defending the principles of protecting lives, promoting human dignity and opposition to all forms of violence.

The UN General Assembly, in its resolution, invites all Member States, international organizations and civil society organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day in an appropriate manner.


> Read more



International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Worldwide, 25 March 2012
Host / Sponsor: United Nations

The yearly remembrance serves not only as an opportunity to reflect on those that suffered and perished at the hands of slavery, but also as an occasion to raise awareness to the world's youth about the dangers of racism and prejudice.

This year's theme of "Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors" of the Transatlantic Slave Trade aims to pay tribute to the brave men and women who valiantly fought against the inhumane practices of slavery.


> Read more



E-forum — Gender Equality in Education: Looking Beyond Parity

Online, 26 March - 6 April 2012
Host / Sponsor: UNESCO

Globally, 39 million girls are currently not enrolled in either primary or secondary education, while two–thirds of the world's 796 million illiterate adults are women. Only about one third of countries have achieved gender parity at secondary level. The evidence shows that something needs to change.

The IIEP 2012 e-forum will build on the IIEP evidence-based policy forum of the same title held in October 2011 as part of the comprehensive follow-up on forum recommendations proposed by participants. In order to ensure continual collaboration on issues relating to gender, the online forum will bring together a number of actors, including participants who were unable to attend the IIEP evidence-based policy forum in 2011, to carry on this knowledge exchange.

The e-forum will resume the debate initiated during this event on how the education system can function pro-actively in the equal interests of girls and of boys, men and women, on an interactive virtual platform. It will look at evidence, experience, and research from around the world at two different levels. Firstly, at the school and classroom levels through analysis of gender differences in student learning achievement; and secondly to examine how gender equality can be enhanced in relation to educational leadership in planning and management.

For further information, please email eforu[at]iiep.unesco.org.

> Apply online
> Read more



Quilt Exhibition: Women are the Fabric

Main Visitors Lobby, United Nations Headquarters (1st Avenue between 45th and 46th Street), New York, 5 March - 27 April 2012
Host / Sponsor: UNFPA

Everywhere in the world, women weave and mend the social fabric of family and community, as well as clothing and textiles. Quilts, a traditionally female art form, often also serve as tangible expressions of women's creativity, frugality, love, solidarity or sociability.

A new exhibition of quilts in the lobby of the United Nations, with a special opening on International Women's Day (8 March), is a tribute to the enduring strength of women and a plea for the support and protection they need to take care of themselves and their communities.

Women are the Fabric displays 20 quilts embedded with powerful messages and appeals for action. Some are cries of pain from women who have directly experienced sexual violence and massacres. Several express anger at the impact of war on women. One depicts the magic of a rainforest threatened by oil exploration. Together they convey the strength of women working together on shared concerns.

> Related News
> Facebook Album of Select Quilts




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