Caucus HomePage


Schedule of Meetings

Upcoming Issues

Caucus Position Papers

Meeting Reports




Download Page

Search this site


CSD NGO Women's Caucus

CSD-8 Report

Dear friends and colleagues,
please find below a report from the CSD 8th Session held in New York, 26 April - 5 May, focusing on women's caucus activities, and on caucus discussions on CSD-9 and 2002.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.
Chief Bisi Ogunleye & Minu Hemmati
Co-facilitators of the CSD NGO Women's Caucus

Women's Caucus at the CSD 8th Session, April/May 2000

The caucus met nearly every morning at 8.30 until 9.15 am. We also worked closely with other caucuses who were active at this session.

Elections of caucus co-facilitators were held on Tuesday, 2 May. Chief Bisi Ogunleye and Minu Hemmati were both re-elected by the caucus, and will be serving until the next elections at CSD-9.

A group of women's caucus members participated in the CSD Dialogue Sessions on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD), where NGOs, Industry, Farmers and Trade Unions participated in lively discussions. One of the results of the Dialogue Sessions is a CSD decision for an ongoing multi-stakeholder dialogue on SARD between now and 2002. The four dialoguing groups as well as Indigenous Peoples and Women will be part of the process. The agreement was achieved during the last night of CSD negotiations, at 2am on the morning of Saturday, May 6. I certainly helped that a large group of stakeholders made a statement in favour of an ongoing process during the negotiations earlier in the second week of CSD. This was a premiere at the CSD: a joint statement by NGOs, Women, Indigenous Peoples, Trade Unions and Industry.

During the first weekend's preparatory meeting and the first week of the intersessional, we focused our work on participating at finance caucus meetings and contributing to the papers and statements produced by the finance caucus (available on the steering committee website at

The caucus followed up the work on land issues, which the group began during the preparations for this year's meetings and at the Intersessional.
We held a side event on 3 May, 6.15 - 8pm: "Women's Land Ownership: Strategies Towards Equality", chaired by Jan Peterson, Huairou Commission. Speakers included Chief Bisi Ogunleye (Country Women's Association of Nigeria), Rudo Peace Mungwashu (UN Association Zimbabwe / Women's Operation Green), Pauline Kariuki (GROOTS Kenya). We also addressed land issues in our statement and paper. The caucus lobbied on land issues during the negotiations, including the very last night, when delegates agreed on a paragraph based on language from the Habitat Agenda, which we had been pointing out since the Intersessional meeting. We held more events at the Beijing+5 Special Session, co-coordinated by the Huairou Commission, the CSD Land Caucus, the Women's Caucus and UNCHS, and met at the Habitat Offices for discussions on a global campaign on women's land rights. We agreed to continue the chain of events at the upcoming Copenhagen+5 Special Session (27th June, 12-2pm) and the Regional PrepComs for Istanbul+5. Brainstorming and exchange led to a list of suggestions for further action, based on a summary of the presentations and discussions at the side events since the CSD Intersessional produced by Pamela Ransom.

NGOs founded a new issue based caucus on land issues. As the women's caucus had spearheaded the NGO work on land issues, the women's caucus was asked to nominate one of the co-facilitators for the new land caucus. This role has been taken on by Pamela Ransom, WEDO, and a planner by profession. Get in touch with Pam if you're interested in working with the Land Caucus (Tel +1 212 973 0325, Fax +1 212 973 0335, Email

The caucus did also work on agriculture, particularly through working with the SAFS caucus. We also used caucus position papers and suggested amendments to lobby delegates at the sessions. For example, Vanya Walker Leigh produced a list of existing agreements and ongoing processes as a basis of our arguing for the inclusion of "national and household" food security, reference to the "central role of women in developing countries throughout the food chain", "gender impact assessments" and "full gender mainstreaming".

The caucus held two side events:
1. The Women Food Farmers / WEDO / Women's Caucus Luncheon on 28 May which was a great success - with women explaining the dishes and sharing their experiences, and more than 120 delegates attending. Speakers included representatives form UNIFEM and Ambassadors to the UN. Chief Bisi Ogunleye, who prepared moderated the event, had mobilized all the WEDO team and other colleagues to prepare the food which was plenty and delicious!
2. "Women's Land Ownership: Strategies Towards Equality" (see above)

Based on the background paper ("Women & Sustainable Development 2000 - 2002") and our prepared comments on the Secretary General's report, we lobbied delegates on women's participation in the preparations for 2002, particularly from developing countries and grassroots women's groups; gender disaggregated data for the Rio+10 review; gender mainstreaming of all issues addressed; necessary linkages between to the other UN processes, particularly Beijing and Cairo, etc. After a very lively Ministerial Segment on 2002, where many Ministers expressed support for a high level event to be held in 2002, in a developing country, the negotiations during the CSD second week started rather slow. During an informal night session, it was agreed to recommend such an event which consist of a 10 year review of progress & setbacks since Rio as well as forward-looking discussions on emerging / urgent issues. Although several issues were mentioned as possible "main themes" of a Summit - no agreement was reached to include any of those issues in the CSD decision. National and regional preparations are recommended to start as early as possible, and strong support is given at several points for the active involvement of Major Groups in the preparatory process. South Africa, Brazil and Korea have at the CSD offered to host the Summit - which will be the first major UN Summit since the Food Summit in Rome in 1996. To date, South Africa, being backed by all African nations and offered support from several developed countries, seems the most likely candidate. (Update: Brazil has withdrawn its bid and asked all its supporters to support the South African bid; Indonesia has also publicly announced its bid and is being supported by the Asian community.) The General Assembly is to make the decision in the autumn. (Update: The GA made the decision in December 2000 to hold a WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT in South Africa in 2002. The South African Government has announced that the Summit will be held in Johannesburg.

We continued to work with the previously prepared position and background papers and with amendments to the draft outcome documents from the Intersessional meeting. We produced a caucus statement, which was delivered in the Ministerial Segment of the first week of CSD-8, by Nelcia Robinson. We were also able to give 200 copies of the statement to the conference room staff who then distributed it to all delegates while it was delivered. The statement will be circulated with the next message (and put on the caucus web-site sometime this week). In addition to the statement, we produced a 4-page document summarising our priority points; we distributed over 200 copies of this paper. Both statement and paper have been circulated on the caucus list server. Copies of caucus position papers and the summary of recommendations were also distributed, much so in the course of our individual lobbying of delegates, other NGOs, and other stakeholder representatives As during the Intersessional, we also distributed several hundred copies of an info leaflet about the women's caucus. This will be made available shortly on the caucus web-site for your to download and use when talking to your colleagues about our work. Viisti Dickens from Sustainable Development International, a London publisher, has translated the caucus position paper on land issues into Spanish. We hope to increase the number of translations in our preparations for CSD-9.

The caucus had several articles in the daily NGO newsletter 'OUTREACH', including in its 100th edition on 4 May, on the history of the women's caucus. Issues of Outreach can be accessed via the CSD NGO Steering Committee web-site at

We hope this gives you a bit of an account on what happened at the CSD-8 session.
We are looking forward to working with you!

Best wishes,
Chief Bisi Ogunleye & Minu Hemmati

Women's Caucus preparations for CSD-9 and 2002: discussions at caucus meetings during CSD-8

- Energy (Dialogue Sessions)
- Atmosphere
- Transport (Dialogue Sessions)
- Information for Decision-Making and Participation (incl. Indicators)
- Enabling Environment

Our initial discussions focused on energy issues. The energy caucus has approached us asking for input and collaboration, e.g. on firewood / fuel issues in developing countries. We have caucus members who have been working on gender & energy issues but will need to outreach further to increase our numbers (on all issues coming up). We are aiming to do this also through the registration process as well as further outreach at Beijing+5 and Copenhagen+5 and asking all caucus members to pass on information about the CSD women's caucus (info leaflet).
It was suggested to try and identify a group of women from various stakeholder groups (NGOs, trade unions, industry) aiming to discuss common women's positions on the issues. Minu will try to get this going.
Chief Bisi will aim to bring African women to the CSD to enable to speak for themselves at the meetings. She will work with UNDP on this, through Gail Karlsson who is working with UNDP on gender & energy issues.
The women's caucus representatives, WEDO and UNDP should meet to discuss possible collaboration, at least to raise travel funding for developing countries NGOs. Another troubling issue is the dumping of nuclear waste in developing countries, a problem will try and get onto the agenda of CSD-9; WEDO has worked on this. We should link with the Human Settlements Caucus to bring success stories, pictures and other material illustrating our points.

We shall work with the Transport Caucus who will be preparing for the Dialogue Sessions for the NGO side. We agreed to write to the Chair of CSD-9, Bedrich Moldan from the Czech Republic, to point out that women should be one of the Major Groups participating in the Dialogue Sessions, not only as part of the NGO group (Chief Bisi & Minu).

We have started a registration process for caucus members, using the list server and all contacts we have (membership registration). The initial membership list shall be all who attended the women's caucus at CSD-8 and CSD-9. Everybody shall pass on the registration forms & information within their networks. The agreed closing deadline for registration was 15 July. However, we shall continue outreach and registration after that date; this date is only important with regard to possible voting procedures to be undertaken in case we develop a proposal to raise funds for our work in the name of the CSD NGO Women's Caucus.
A possible proposal discussed was to support the caucus co-facilitators communication efforts (phone, fax, email, postage). This would allow Chief Bisi to be connected to the internet and would allow more information sharing with people who have no internet access via post. Membership of the list server group shall not be limited to organisations registering for caucus membership. Another possible proposal discussed was, on the basis of consultation with the respective constituencies, to focus on regional activities to organize national and regional meetings, fundraising for local transportation and communication; to gather case studies and women's initiatives to bring into the process towards CSD-9 and 2002. It was agreed that we all engage in brainstorming with our organisations and networks and start initial discussions on activities and possible proposals by the end of the summer. The co-facilitators shall consider their communication needs and costs involved.

TOWARDS 2002, we felt it was important to ensure active participation from all countries, at national, regional and international level, aiming to get issues of utmost importance to us onto the agenda and ensure that all issues addressed are being covered with a strong and clear gender perspective. We discussed possible national, regional and international women's meetings towards 2002, and possible issues to focus on. However, we felt that there should be a consultation process so that more people can contribute what they would wish to see & do between now and 2002.