Uplifting Women from Poverty ARS CSW Presentation In New York

The Armenian Relief Society Inc. (ARS) in collaboration with the Mission of Armenia to the UN held a side event during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) entitled, “Uplifting Women from Poverty Through Partnerships” on March 14, 2016, at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City, NY.

The side event was started with an introductory speech by H.E. Ambassador Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. Ambassador Mnatskanyan, highlighted the importance of the Commission on the Status of Women and spoke of the commitment of Member States to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). He further went on to introduce the ARS by stating the following, “…how very excited I am to welcome you all to this side event that we have initiated with the ARS a long standing partner of our mission here at the UN and a very active participant on the work of the UN especially on issues which concern the agenda on the Commission of Sustainable Development”.

Dr. Nyree Derderian Vice-Chairperson to the ARS Central Executive Board served as moderator to the event. She spoke of a recent development project taken on by the ARS with the Russian Federation, Armenia and UNDP. This project is taking place in the Tavush region of Armenia and is meant to uplift women from poverty by focusing on SDG 1 (poverty eradication), SDG 2 (hunger), SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 8 (employment) and SDG 17 (partnerships).

The list of panelists of the event included the Senior Adviser of UNFPA, Mr. Michael Herrman; the founder of ONEArmenia, Mr. Patrick Sarkissian; the co-founder of Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves, Ms. Sylvia Tirakian; the founder of Meline’s Garden, a startup initiative introducing quinoa to Armenia by Ms. Taline Kevonian; and the Manager of UN Women/Empower Women, Ms. Anna Falth. Each panelist spoke of his or her work and on going projects.

The event ended with a lively question and answer session and was attended by a large number of member states, UN agencies, and ARS and other NGO leaders and members. The purpose of the event was to bring together those interested in the promotion of the empowerment of women through programs and projects that increase sustainability and inclusive growth. The Armenian Relief Society is a proud participant and member of the CSW and will continue efforts to empower women in Armenia and many other parts of the world.

For anyone interested in seeing the event, it can be viewed on UN live webcast TV at the following link: http://webtv.un.org/…csw60-side-event/4801920201001

H.E. Ambassador Mnatsakanyan giving introductory remarks

H.E. Ambassador Mnatsakanyan giving introductory remarks

Moderator and Panelists of the event, from left to right, Ungeroohi Nyree Derderian Vice-Chair of the ARS Central Executive Board. The Senior Adviser of UNFPA, Mr. Michael Herrman, the founder of ONEArmenia, Mr. Patrick Sarkissian, the co-founder of Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves, Ms. Sylvia Tirakian the founder of Meline’s Garden, a startup initiative introducing quinoa to Armenia by Ms. Taline Kevonian, and the Manager of Empower Women Ms. Anna Falth

Moderator and Panelists of the event, from left to right, Ungeroohi Nyree Derderian Vice-Chair of the ARS Central Executive Board. The Senior Adviser of UNFPA, Mr. Michael Herrman, the founder of ONEArmenia, Mr. Patrick Sarkissian, the co-founder of Harvest Song Artisanal Preserves, Ms. Sylvia Tirakian the founder of Meline’s Garden, a startup initiative introducing quinoa to Armenia by Ms. Taline Kevonian, and the Manager of Empower Women Ms. Anna Falth

ARS  Central Executive Board and committee members with Ambassador Mnatsakanyan and several panelists of the side event

ARS Central Executive Board and committee members with Ambassador Mnatsakanyan and several panelists of the side event

General view of the conference room at the UN

General view of the conference room at the UN

March 8, 2016 -International Women Day

This “Day”, started since more than a century ago, on every March 8, has brought together women of the civilized world to raise their voices collectively, under one banner, in demand of equal rights.

Thus, in New York City, six years before World War I, in March, 1908, around 1,500 placard-bearing women were marching for an increase of meager wages, a decrease of long working hours, and the right to vote, thus far an unreachable goal for them.

This unprecedented phenomenon was unraveling in the very same city of the New World, where, barely two years later, Aknuni, an ARF field worker, was to found a vigorous women’s organization, the present global structure of which is today known as Armenian Relief Society.
Over the years, across the progressive countries of Europe and the American Continent, this international “Day” of women, moving ahead with the robust progress of International Socialism, was to gain international recognition, enhancing the on-going struggle for the legitimation of women’s human, social, and political rights.

Here, we can proudly mention, that long before many “progressive” countries of the day, in the year 1918, the Constitution of the First Republic of Armenia already recognized and put to practice the equality of men and women in the right to vote, and be elected.
It is sad to say, that in spite of certain progress achieved in various areas, there is a long road ahead of us before legitimized rights are put to practice in the real world, both on the socioeconomic and political levels.

To this day, women’s inalienable rights remain out of reach in many countries, prompting the United Nations Organization’s Committee of the Status of Women (CSW) –in which the ARS remains active, in the ranks of the Economic and Social Committee (ECOSOC) –to annually convene an international conference to examine assess and improve the status of women everywhere; a conference, to which the ARS brings its active participation on all levels.

On this occasion, the ARS Central Executive Board extends its best wishes to its diligent entities throughout the world, to all Armenian mothers, sisters and daughters actively involved in implementing ARS-initiated programs in the Diaspora and the Homeland, encouraging them to continue their struggle until the realization of a just and egalitarian world society, where men, women and children are equally guaranteed a free, productive and prosperous life.

ARS Participates at the 54th Session of the UN CSocD in New York

The 54th session of the Commission on Social Development (CSocD) took place from Feb. 3-12 at the United Nations (U.N.) Headquarters in New York. The priority theme for the session—”Rethinking and Strengthening Social Development in the Contemporary World”—aimed to identify new opportunities for sustainable development and provide concrete, forward-looking policy recommendations. It also articulated key inter-linkages between the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

CSocD54 assembled a multi-stakeholder panel discussion which explored how existing UN institutional frameworks could contribute to strengthening the mainstreaming of disability, enhance awareness and improve cooperation to advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Agenda 2030 puts poverty and sustainable development at its core and emphasizes a people-centered, unified and coherent approach. Strengthening social policy and development was emphasized as it is critical to ensure an integrated follow-up, balancing its social, economic and environmental dimensions.

As promising as the program and participants sounded, this year Civil Society felt an unprecedented exclusion to the process. Although they were allowed to make statements during some of the sessions, no Civil Society representatives were allowed in any of the negotiations of the resolutions. This, after many promises from member states on the board including representatives from Rumanian and Portuguese Missions. How will member states implement this agenda without Civil Society participation? That was a question till the closing session on Friday February 12. As Ms. Elisabeta David, Diplomatic Counsellor of Rumanian Mission said during one of the Civil Society briefings, “I must be an optimist that we will deliver on this agenda with the help of Civil Society, we were honored to host the regional meetings and saw the influence in our community, we hope to see more of that kind of cooperation in the future”.

But as of the printing of this report Civil society organizations have yet to see the agreed upon resolutions.

Armenian Relief Society, Inc. (ARS) U.N./NGO Committee representatives were present at the Civil Society Forum, titled “Inequalities and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Rethinking and Strengthening Social development in the Contemporary World,” on Feb. 1-2.

ARS U.N./NGO Committee representatives had concrete recommendations for the commission on understanding the relationship between CSocD and Agenda 2030, and making the link between governments and grassroots.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

NGO Committee Social Development Civil Society Forum

NGO Committee Social Development Civil Society Forum