Getting ready for CSD-19

Yes, it’s nearly there..CSD-19. Two weeks of being at the UN again. Looking forward to it, but also slightly apprehensive. Watch this space for daily updates.

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Rest day at CSD-18

Sunday did mean ‘no work’! So, a long chat over coffee with Kiara and Jeff (only rule ‘we won’t talk about CSD’) was a nice start of this day of rest. I then went to B&H to find a new microphone, so I could skype without getting frustrated by other people not being able to hear me properly. B&H was amazing, it is owned and run by orthodox Jews and its shop layout is astounishing. Your order gets transported down to the ground  floor via a complicated system of  crates on air-borne conveyors belts.

I then spent several hours walking in Central Park, from top to bottom and back up again. It was good to be amongst trees and hear birds.

Ready for week 2!

Day 0 at CSD-18

And mymyy, did it start complicated yesterday. Our final briefing with Chantal Line and Tonya of the UN Secretariat for CSD-18 included the handing out to each of the Major Groups of 3 different colours of secondary passes….for use on Monday only……! This ritual will happen every day at 6pm when we get the secondary passes for the next day. So, now I’ve got 7 secondary passes for the opening session on Monday morning. Of these 7 passes, 2 are for the seats with the microphone (those 2 are relatively easy – if you get one of these you need to be willing to read a statement on behalf of the Women’s Major Group or answer questions). But how to allocate those 5 other passes? And a similar set of passes exists for the afternoon session.

That’ll be my challenge as chair of Monday’s morning briefing where we’ll need to decide, as a group, on an allocation system. The lucky youth have a structure that is based on regions, and guess what? They are divided in 5 regions, so their solution was easy (one/region). Unfortunately we aren’t structured like that, although I think it’s worth suggestion it to the women. Anyway, that’s Monday’s challenge.

Now these secondary passes are my main anxiety at the moment because the opening session starts at 10am, but our own morning briefing starts at 10am as well. So, basically, as a group we haven’t yet met before we need to use these passes…. I really hope that at the NGO briefing (which happens at 9am), I can find some willing women!

The meeting with the chair (Minister of Guatemala) and vice chairs of the CSD Secretariat was followed by picking up my UN badge, and attending the NGO orientation training. The latter was attended by approximately 50 people, mainly from faith organisations, it seemed. Our own BIC briefing ended the day. We focused on our role as BIC delegate (ultimately we’re here on behalf of the Universal House of justice), some delegate etiquette, read some of the Ridvan 2010 message and some of the BIC statement on Rethinking Prosperity. We’ll study the latter more, but everybody was too tired last night.

This morning (Monday) it’s pouring down, so I feel sorry for all those participants who’ll have to queue up (outside) to get their UN pass. Glad I was able to pick mine up yesterday.

To fly or not to fly ? Getting ready for CSD-18

It’s one week before my flight to New York to attend the 18th session of the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-18) on behalf of the UK’s Baha’i community. I’ll be a member of the 16-people strong delegation of the Baha’i International Community (BIC) and am really looking forward to seeing some of my fellow Baha’i friends back whom I met last year.

That is, of course, assuming that a certain Icelandic volcano behaves and no one panics (that includes me). Normally I wouldn’t mind too much risking being stuck in New York for a few more days (finally getting the change to be the tourist then!), but this time I’d rather be back in the UK so I can be at  my own wedding in May. So, I need some courage over the next week to decide what to do.

This year’s CSD-18 themes are Chemicals, Mining, Waste management, and Transport, as well as a review of the so-called Marrakech process (dealing with patterns of sustainable production and consumption). This year BIC also acts as one of the Organising Partners (OPs) for 2 of the Major Groups: Women and Children & Youth. I’m the BIC’s coordinator for the Women Major Group (WMG) and have been participating in the monthly prepatory conference calls with the UN Secretariat. The last one is scheduled for Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I need to start thinking about what to pack, have ordered a SIM card which works in the US, and decide how I’m going to meet up with my younger brother for a weekend of being the NY tourist. I hope/plan to blog every day about CSD, as I did last year, because I enjoyed that early morning reflection on previous day events/developments. So, please bear with me and spare a few prayers/positive thoughts for me while I make up my mind and gather courage 🙂