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Reports on Participation in the 56th Commission on the Status of Women (February 26 – March 4, 2012)

    To exchange information with NGOs from both Japan and overseas and to present its research fi ndings, the Kitakyushu Forum on Asian Women (KFAW) was accredited with NGO Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Since then, it has participated in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held annually at UN Headquarters in New York. At the recent CSW 56 (February 28 – March 8, 2012), I organized a KFAW parallel event and reported on the “Empowerment of Japanese Rural Women : Under the Globalizing Economy and the Disaster of 3.11.”

February 26 Arrived in New York. Participated in the NGO Consultation.
February 28 8:30-10:00 at United Nations Church Center (hereinafter “CC”)
    Attended a parallel event titled “Gender and Disaster in Asia and Pacific” organized by APWW (Asia Pacific Women’s Watch). Listened to reports on response to disaster and gender situations.
10:30 -12:00 at CC
    Participated in a parallel event titled “Rural Women of America” organized by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and listened with interest to presentations by people from small farms in the U.S. on their situations.
March 1 12:30-13:00 at CC
    Briefly visited a parallel event titled “Women’s Roles in Food Security and Sustainable Development: Partnership Between Rural and Urban Women,” organized by the Rural Women Empowerment and Life Improvement Association.
13:15-14:45 at UN Lawn Building
    Participated in a side event with excellent content that was organized by three NGOs from Japan under the theme”Disaster/Reconstruction and Gender Equality.” In this event, attended by 90 people, presentations were made by seven people, including Dr. Nobuko KUROSAKI from Doctors Without Borders. This NGO entered an affected area with a chartered helicopter on the day following the Great East Japan Earthquake. At this CSW, the Japanese government proposed elements of a resolution for the fi rst time in the history of the 56 Commissions. This appears to have been due to concentrated efforts by all the related women’s groups and researchers since the symposium held on June 11 last year as well as the results of subsequent lobbying.
    Participated in a parallel event on the problems of women in farm villages in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) including female genital mutilation as well as gender inequality in patriarchy and land ownership.
March 2 12:30-14:00 at CC Drew Room
    Held a KFAW parallel event titled “Empowerment of Japanese Rural Women: Under the Globalizing Economy and the Disaster of 3.11.”
CSW56.2012.03.02.JPG     The event started with my explanation on the emerging TPP problems as well as the damage incurred by the earthquake and nuclear power plant accident impacts on agriculture in Japan. Namely, that both were situations that could shake the foundations of Japan’s agriculture including food/life safety and security.
Moreover, I explained before the occurrence of this national crisis, the sustainability of agriculture in Japan had already been jeopardized by such factors as a 50% reduction in agricultural production; the graying and decrease of successors (particularly women) in agriculture and the increase in abandoned farmlands. I also mentioned the lower economic status and participation rate in decision-making processes of rural women in Japan.
    Briefly, I spoke on the history of political responses to these problems, including enhancing the social status of women. Then I touched upon the declaration in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan 1992 Vision. Specifically, this vision emphasizes that women engaging in agriculture should be respected as individuals. Next, I mentioned Article 26 of the New Agricultural Fundamental Law (Equal Participation of Women in Management) and related points of the Family Management Agreement. Finally, I showed a DVD on family management.
    Ms. OKABE, who is a visiting researcher of KFAW, reported on cases of successful female entrepreneurs in farming and the analysis results of a questionnaire for female entrepreneurs throughout Japan (as part of research fi ndings by KFAW’s visiting researchers). In the Q&A session, participants actively asked questions. And Ms. OKABE’s research and analysis was well received.
    Participated in a briefi ng to NGOs by the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations held in the building of the Permanent Mission of Japan.
March 4 Returned to Japan.

NGOs from Japan participating in this CSW held four events and presented their information. KFAW’s is one of them.