NEWSLETTER 
 PUBLISHED BY THE ARS, INC. U.N. COMMITTEE

ISSUE 1. VOLUME 2                                                                                                       DECEMBER 2014

 
 
   

Dear Members,

Welcome to the First Issue of the "Armenian Relief Society at the United Nations". We hope that you will find the newsletter a useful tool in the update of our activities at the United Nations (UN) and understand better the role the ARS has, and continues to play, in the International Arena. As a volunteer organization, the ARS recruits members who are able to give their time and energy by networking and ensuring that the ARS priorities are shared with decision makers and incorporated into statements and policy whenever possible. 

Our representatives learn to monitor UN activities by attending annual commissions, special sessions, Non-governmental Organization (NGO) meetings and take every opportunity to share the mission and vision of the ARS. We hope you will enjoy this latest version of the newsletter, and we look forward to updating you on our activities throughout the upcoming year.

Sincerely,
ARS UN Team and Editors

 


Activities in New York

New York is the headquarters for the UN, and so it is here that we have the largest team of representatives. Major annual meetings include the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Commission on Social Development, and the Commission on Population and Development. New York is also the headquarters for UN Women and the Department of Public Information (DPI), which is the information center for NGOs. While the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is now based in Geneva, most meetings are still held in New York, its former base.

The ARS has been participating with United Nations activities since 1975. In 1978, the ARS was granted DPI status, and on May 28, 1998, the ARS was granted consultative status in the Roster category with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  

Consultative Status is a phrase whose use can be found during the founding of the UN and is used within the UN community to refer to NGOs in 
Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC. Having Consultative Status is a privilege granted to only a select few NGOs. ECOSOC status provides NGOs with the opportunity to participate at UN conferences and events, make oral and written statements at these events, organize side events, enter the UN premises, and have the opportunity to network and lobby with diplomats, UN staff members and other NGO representatives.
DPI status is another privilege granted to NGOs within the UN system by the Department of Public Information (DPI). NGOs granted DPI status are given access to the UN premises and permitted to attend meetings, conferences and events. Unlike ECOSOC status, NGOs with DPI status do not have the additional benefits of making oral and written statements.


FROM MDGs TO SDGs

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in the year 2000. There are eight goals in particular: to halve the number of undernourished people; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality and empower women; to reduce child mortality; to improve maternal health; to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability; and to develop a global partnership for development.

 Each one of these goals has a set target date of achievement by the year 2015. We are very close to the year 2015, and these goals have not been met yet in all parts of the world. Although these goals have not yet been completely achieved in all geographical regions, for the past two years, the United Nations has been working on a new set of goals post-2015. 

These post-2015 goals are called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On July 19, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly's Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals forwarded its proposal for a set of SDGs to the Assembly. The proposal contains 17 goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests. The purpose of these goals will be to "narrow the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be". 


THIS YEAR'S SUCCESS
The Committee on Non-governmental Organizations, also known as CoNGO, based in Geneva and New York alternately, was established 66 years ago to support NGOs within the UN system. Its mission is to facilitate, through various means of development, a dynamic and informed world-wide NGO Community able to influence policies and actions at all levels of the United Nations. On April 4, 2014 during the Conference of NGO's General Assembly, Armenian Relief Society was elected as an Executive Member of the CoNGO Board from 2014 to 2017.

 

ACTIVITES OF ARS IN NEW YORK
Currently, the ARS has been an active member with four specific NGO Substantive Committees within CoNGO: first, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women; second, the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development; third, the NGO Committee on Children's Rights; and fourth, the NGO Committee on Human Rights; as well as the Working Group on Girls. In addition to being an Executive Member of the CoNGO Board, the ARS has been part of the Executive Committee of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) for the past year and a half.









RESULTS FROM CSW SIDE EVENT ON SEX SELECTION
  A few years ago, ARS, Inc. discovered through UNFPA Armenia (United Nations Population Fund) the issue of "Sex Selection". In Armenia, sex selection comprises selective abortions of female fetuses. Driven by strong son preference, the use of prenatal sex determination technology and declining fertility, this trend hinders progress toward gender equality and has serious social, demographic, and health implications.


Attendees of the CSW ARS side event on Sex Selection, in 2014.
ARS members at the CSW58 session, in NYC.


















ARS is proud to claim a major influence in helping eradicate the much-repudiated practice of sex selection in Armenia. ARS UN Committee organized a panel discussion during the Commission on the Status of Women 58 (CSW58) in 2014, in partnership with World Vision while advocating with the Armenian Mission to the UN. After two years of hard work, in May 2014, Armenia's Health Ministry introduced a bill to the parliament that will ban the fetal gender determination until the 30th week of pregnancy. About 20 ARS members from the Eastern Region and Canada participated at the Sex Selection side event.


ARS members from New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Montreal, at the CSW58 forum, in 2014.





DPI NGO CONFERENCE 2014 
ARS NGO Representatives participated in the 65th Annual DPI/NGO Conference held August 27 to August 29, 2014. Ungerouhi Nory Boiatchian, a Youth Representative for the ARS, had been involved in the planning process of the conference as part of the DPI/NGO Youth Sub-Committee. The purpose of the conference was to harness the strategies, expertise and resources across the broadest spectrum of civil society to include poverty eradication, sustainability, human rights, and climate justice in the mainstream discourse and to spark sustained public demand for political action in support of ambitious outcomes from the post-2015 sustainable development process. A conference declaration was produced as a result of the meetings in order to frame an ambitious "Action Agenda" for civil society networks and activists to look at and follow.



69th SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
ARS members attended the 69th Session of the General Assembly open debate. They heard President Barack Obama and various other heads of State address the Assembly. Armenia's President, Serzh Sargsyan, also addressed the Assembly on various issues related to Armenia's national foreign policy. 

ARSers attending the 69th Session of the General Assembly.
















 




UN ACTIVITIES IN GENEVA


As part of the Executive Committee of the NGO Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), ARS UN Coordinator attended the NGO CSW Geneva Forum on November 3-5, 2014 alongside ungerouhiner in Geneva. The Forum is part of a Global Regional Review to celebrate and help implement the Beijing Platform for Action which took place almost 20 years ago in Beijing and produced an unmatched document that addresses women's and girl's rights, signed by 187 member states. Ungh. Armik Yeromian of Geneva and Ungh. Houry Geudelekian of New York participated in many round table discussions and submitted strong recommendations in the outcome document.

Yeromian and Guedelekian at the NGO CSW forum in Geneva.
For more information, visit: 
Outcome document: 
ARS UN Executive Committee
  • Pauline Getzoyan - USA, CEB liaison
  • Rosie Bedrosian- USA, CEB liaison
  • Valentine Berberian - USA, Chairperson
  • Stephanie Killian - USA, Advisor
  • Lara Nercessian - USA, Communications Coordinator
  • Tamar Der Bedrosian- Lebanon
  • Frida Kezelian-Hadjian- Armenia
  • Araxie Apelian-Kolanian- Greece
  • Lucy Pamboukjian- South America
  • Lucy Pampalian- Australia
ARS UN Representatives in New York
  • Suzi Azarian
  • Valentine Berberian
  • Nory Boiatchian
  • Carol Jaffarian 
  • Linda Tarzian 
 

ARS UN Representatives in Geneva
  • Dorine Kouyoumjian
  • Armik Yeromian
  • Annie Yeromian-Sallier

ARS UN Coordinator
  •  Houry Geudelekian

CALENDAR OF UPCOMING UN EVENTS
  •  Armenian Genocide Centennial Event at UN New York Headquarters from March 5 to March 6, 2015.
  • The fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59)will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 9 to March 20, 2015.

LINKS OF INTEREST




Armenian Relief Society, Inc.
80 Bigelow Ave. Suite 300
Watertown, MA 02472, USA
Tel: 001-617-926-5892