08.18 Which event to choose?


With a number of events taking place simultaneously, it is difficult at times to decide which event may be the most productive to attend. How do you decide which event may be the most productive for you? If you are there on your own, it is the luck of the draw and the decision made on the day will be the best one for you. Entry and exit from the different venues may take time, so preference may fall with the event

occurring closest to where you are. NGOs attending with larger delegations may wish to split up and attend different events in different venues.

Whatever your situation, it is good to think of a communication strategy that allows for de brief and sharing of ideas from the events. For some this may occur within an organisational perspective, with others it may mean blogging or writing up notes to send back to the organisation. Others may find a friendly ally to tic-tac with on specific issues. Either way, with the number of events presented at CSW, in order to remember key issues on return to Australia, it is a good idea to think of, or agree to a communications strategy before you leave for CSW.

At times there may be confusion around the differences between side events and parallel events. Table 5 below outlines the key differences between these two events, and may serve as a Guideline as to which may be the most productive to attend.

Parallel Events (Presented by UN Agencies, NGO’s) Side Events (Presented by Governments, UN agencies, NGO’s)
NGO hosted events that are usually held in the UN Church Center or other non-UN venue. (run parallel to the CSW) Government or UN Sponsored events (Australia usually sponsors some Side Events in the UN) and held within the UN main building.
Expert panels from grassroots and civil society. Expert panels from government, academic, and UN agencies (some also present with NGO representatives)
Can draw a very large audience-no ticketing necessary in external to UN venues-CSW pass may be necessary. Can get chaotic in the presentation rooms with changeover from previous session. Can draw a very large audience – these events are ticketed as they take placein the UN building. Booking for UN Side Events is essential.
Audience is predominantly NGO, including international. The audience for Side Events tend to involve more government representatives. Thematic Side Events draw an audience from Government, UN Agencies and NGOs.
Advertised in NGOCSW Handbook and via NGOCSW site Advertised through mailing lists and posted on NGOCSW site and in UN journal.
Table 5.  Information on Side Events and Parallel Events

Figure 7 below (a repeat of Figure 4) reminds us that for some events in addition to the UN CSW Grounds Pass other passes may be needed to attend these events.

This figure summarises the various forms of events and access arrangements.

Live streaming of some events occurs – check the UN CSW site for the events that are to be live streamed. When some rooms reach capacity, an overflow room may

be available for live viewing of the speakers. Guards will direct you to an overflow room if there is one. The overflow rooms are usually equipped with video screens and therefore are often a much better option.

Figure 4. NGO Requirements to different CSW Events
Figure 4. NGO Requirements to different CSW Events

In the UN meetings of Government, delegates’ seats in the meeting rooms are assigned to delegates of the various countries. Two seats are allocated at the desk and two behind. This means that even government delegations need to coordinate who is in the conference room. There are a number of seats at the back and sides of the room designated to NGO representatives (not with the delegation). For the formal meetings, space is at a premium. If someone such as the UN Secretary General is speaking, UN staff may also attend.

Meetings listed as ‘closed’ or ‘informal’ are not  open  to  the  public  or  t o  NGO representatives (not with the delegation).

CSW   is   an   exhausting,   inspiring , challenging, frustrating, wonderful, and at times, an overwhelming experience. On return to Australia, many need time to recover from the experience and write up reports for their organisations. Attending CSW for two weeks and having to travel to New York for the meeting is a long time to be away from loved ones, work and other activities. Often there are a million emails waiting on your return, household and work duties resume and catch up with friends take priority for a short while.