UN Commission on Status of Women – Conclusions agreed by consensus

Having spent months lobbying across the world to try and ensure that at the end of the 57th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) we had agreed conclusions – when the good news came through last night – I was very relieved.

Last year when the theme was Rural Women – much to everyone’s surprise – consensus was not achieved and therefore there were no agreed conclusions. This may have passed many by (as this world meeting on women never gets the attention it deserves) but had this happened a second time – the consequences would have been very serious.

This year the theme was Violence Against Women – and with the world shocked at the rapes in India and the shooting of Malala (let alone the fact that violence against women and girls is epidemic across the world in all countries including the UK)  focus and attention was very high. That didn’t, however, stop this negotiation going to the wire.

Not only did I (and the Secretary of State) spend a lot of effort lobbying across the world in advance – but when I was in New York at CSW I had many meetings with other ministers to persuade and discuss with both like-minded countries and with those of the other persuasion that we must deliver – for the sake of women across the world – agreed conclusions.

So when the good news came through last night – I was heartily relieved. Well done and thank you to all the team who worked so hard to deliver this successful result.

The news was tinged with a touch of sadness as, in announcing the result of the negotiations, Michelle Bachelet (the President of UN Women) announced that she was stepping down and returning to Chile.