9th Day CSD-17

Stakeholder dialogue day. I met Meena at 9 AM to practice and then went to the NGO briefing. Gerda Verburg (Dutch chair) was answering questions and she reminded us that we were only in day 7 of negotiations with 4 more days to go. Bascially she told us not to be so impatient 🙂 She’s a very good chair and has become more relaxed during this week. I like her.

After the Women’s briefing I went straight to room 6 and managed to find a seat. I was pleased to see Michaela (Dutch youth rep) in the chair of the Children & Youth. After the opening by Verburg, the highest UN rep on Gender & Development spoke about the importance of women as agents of change. That was nice!

The first part of the Dialogue was not much of a dialogue, just statements presented by Major Groups with the odd question to the governments thrown in. But the 2nd part was much better, focussing on different themes (farmers, rural development, urban/rural linkages, and land & water rights). Good statements, good replies by different governments (Netherlands, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, USA, Czech Republic (=EU), Italy)  and UN agencies (such as UNEP). After the statements by the Major Groups, no one had questions, so Verburg ‘threatened’ she’d look for a volunteer. The Dutch representative then proceeded to reply after Verburg had commented:’He knows me! He’d been volunteered by me anyway’. I thought that was funny. Humour definitely has its place in these kind of meetings or maybe it is because I get all the Dutch word games/jokes.

The chair gave all Major Groups the opportunity to answer the questions/suggestions made to them and it was really good to see that government replies were postponed until all Major Groups had had their say. I thought it was probably as interactive as you can get it at the UN.

Quick lunch with Jeanette from WOCAN in the main canteen while we were keeping an eye out for any female Minister of Agriculture & Environment. Last year WOCAN initiated a network of female Ministers of Agriculture & Environment, so Jeanette is always on the look-out for new ones.

Coffee & biscuits at BIC kept me going in the afternoon and I managed to get access to my email and blog. The wireless connection on my laptop is playing up which is really annoying, so apologies for irregular postings.

I went back for about an hour to the main session and walked in hearing Australia say to the chair: ‘English is not our first language, it’s Australian’. Lots of laughter. Apparently there was confusion about some grammar and a little while later the US also apologised for their poor English. I thought it quite impressive that they could still joke after 2.5 hours of solid negotiations.

The evening event was organised by the South African government & WOCAN showing innovative experiences of female farmers. Very impressive and one of the delegates queried why this was a side event. Dotting ‘i’ and discussing commas should be the side event, this sharing of experience was the most important event – big round of applause by everyone!

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