During the 2 weeks of CSW there can be over 300 Parallel Sessions taking place. Sessions start at 8:30 am and move through 90-minute blocks until 6:15 pm. Some events take place in the evening and over lunchtime. These sessions are called Parallel Sessions because they take place in parallel to the Commission and UN Side Events.
This is mainly an NGO presentation and attendance space, although many government officials attend the Parallel Sessions. It is where grassroots meets the UN and is a dynamic and inspirational space. This is where sharing of strategies, building alliances and scoping best practice reveals itself at CSW. Booking of space for parallel events begins towards the end of December.
When booking the rooms, there are various options (all at different costs). Most sessions are for 90 minutes. You can hire a data projector from the UN Church Center, however, there have been challenges when the data projector did not work or was incompatible with the laptop available. Searching for technicians and spending time on getting equipment working can eat into your 90 minute time slot and come the end of your session, there will be people waiting to get into the next session. You may wish to bring your own equipment, however, remember to bring any extension cords, adapters you may need and check if there is a table to stand the equipment on in the room. Take nothing for granted-check everything. Sessions are run on a tight timeframe, so it is necessary to be mindful and respectful to clear the room of people at the end of your session and exit the room on time. You can always offer to join anyone for coffee or a chat after the session in an outside venue.
Given the number of Parallel Sessions being held in the same timeslot, it may be an idea to bring flyers with you to New York (printing in New York can become expensive) and think of an advertising plan to get people to your session. One of the options for hosting a parallel session is to provide food, though this is not necessary. It can be costly and you should check that food is allowed in the room you are using. There is the possibility of taking advertising space in the CSW NGO book that is distributed as part of the registration to the NGOCSW day. Use your networks and Caucuses to get your information out.
OFW tracks Australian NGO events that they are made aware of and distributes a list via the mailing list prior to departure. NGOs looking for support for parallel events should make these requests in writing and as early as possible