Many Women’s Institute members are unsure of how the organization is involved with the United Nations. The following article, written by Elizabeth Rushton, Alberta Women’s Institutes, during her terms as Area President of ACWW for Canada, outlines those links as they existed in 1999.
“Probably one of the lesser known activities of ACWW is its involvement with the United Nations, in fact, one of the five committees of ACWW is the United Nations Committee. The organization holds consultative status with several UN agencies – the Economic and Social Council (ECOSCO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
We also hold operational status with the UN Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) and observer status with the Commission with the Commission on Sustainable Development. Operational status encourages a more active working partnership. With the potential for collaborating on future projects through our member societies. Also, through representation on various working groups and committees, ACWW is active in the areas of health, nutrition, agriculture, environment and rural development, the status of women, the girl child, the family and population.
Our volunteer representatives in New York, Geneva, Rome, Paris, Vienna, Nairobi and Bangkok attend sessions and conferences on our behalf and send reports to ACWW in London. These are then sent to board members, and recent ones I have received cover such topics as the official launch of the International Year of Older Persons, 43rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, Child Soldiers and Children in War in Geneva, NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations) Committee on Population and Development in New York, Violence in the Family in Geneva, Poverty Alleviation in Thailand, 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in New York, FAO Council in Rome, International Working Group on Refugee Women in Geneva, NGO Committee on the Family in Vienna, and so on.
If you would like information on any of these reports, please contact me. More detailed information can be obtained from the Chair of the UN Committee, Fiona Ross, c/o ACWW in London.
Elizabeth Rushton, ACWW Area President (Canada)”
I believe our involvement has increased since this article was published, but nonetheless, this article depicts the substantial role the Associated Country Women of the World (and the Women’s Institutes as member of ACWW are playing in the development of better living, health and agriculture conditions in the developing world.
Yours For Home and Country,
Ruth Fenner, B C Women’s Institute Historian
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