Twenty four non government organizations (NGOs), from 12 Pacific Island Countries, working in the areas of gender, HIV, and disability will participate in a four day training in Nadi from Monday September 22.

This is to prepare for the next (53rd) session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 53).

Organised by the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Pacific Centre, the Pacific Regional NGO/CSO Training and Strategy Session for CSW 53 will introduce the participants from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu to what the CSW is all about, how Pacific NGOs can engage in the CSW process both in New York, and at home, and will also include discussions to identify Pacific NGO priorities for CSW 53.

Four representatives of Pacific NGOs whose participation at the last session of the CSW was supported by the UNDP Pacific Centre will also share their experience with participants at this training. They include Cook Islands Women's Counseling Centre's Kairangi Samuela, Solomon Islands based Vois Blong Mere's Lisa Horiwapu, Solomon Islands National Women's Centre's Ella Kauhue and Pacific Islands News Association's Matai Akauola.

The CSW is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. It is the principal global policy-making body.

Every year, representatives of Member States gather at UN Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.

The 53rd session of the CSW will take place from March 2-13, 2009. The priority theme for this session is "The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS".

The UNDP Pacific Centre's support to NGOs and CSOs to participate at the CSW is part of a larger initiative aimed at building the capacity of Pacific NGOs and CSOs to engage with international human rights mechanisms.

Press Release (UNDP, Pacific Centre, Suva)