Attending New Zealand’s third Universal Periodic Review of human rights at the United Nations in Geneva, one recurrent theme of our delegation’s meetings with UN agencies was the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite the absence of SDGs in UPR recommendations so far, the natural convergence between the development and human rights agenda means combining the two can make them each doubly powerful. Given this under-utilised relationship, I will argue the need for the SDGs to be at the forefront of recommendations made during the current third cycle of the UPR.
As I sit typing this on our 17-hour flight back to NZ, unable to sleep, I’m able to reflect on the fastest 2 weeks of my life, and in particular, what I learned in the 3 days of the forum. The sessions were all very different but very informative, to the point where I’m a little overwhelmed (or maybe just a little jetlagged!).
Wow, we’ve only been here a week, but it’s been a week jam-packed full of meetings and tours! Just thought I’d share a bit about what we’ve been doing and some tips for any of you who might be travelling to Geneva.
It’s a little daunting, knowing I’ll be in Europe for the 1st time in a little over 24 hours, but when you’re in the world’s diplomatic capital, it’ll be an incredible experience regardless of the small hiccups we might experience.
Earlier this year, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women conference in New York thanks to AYLI.
Since then, my eyes have been opened to how we can still engage with the United Nations and international community from afar. Just this week, I prepared an oral statement which (despite technical difficulties) was read to the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) at its 70th session in Geneva.
‘… today’s global economy is increasingly volatile, meaning that human rights are frequently infringed upon and as a result, begin to mean less to those who fall victim to this.’
My experience over the last few weeks at UNCSW62 has been busy – busy in that meaningful, productive sense that one feels as an impetus pushing you further along, and to further auspices.
The level of chaos in the hallways at the UN falls somewhere between a high-school corridor during the rush between classes, and the zoo stand at the Dunedin Forsyth Barr stadium. To start with, every time I went to a civil society session, I felt like we were playing a very heated, very loud, very political, and very exhausting game of sardines.