A Civil Society Advisory Group has been established following a participatory and inclusive civil society- led selection process. Information on the selection process may be found here. The Group includes 21 members that represent broad and diverse constituencies. The Civil Society Advisory Group supports the decision-making of the Core Group, ensuring that civil society’s priorities are reflected in the Forum’s outcomes.
BERTHA CECILIA GARCIA CIENFUEGOS
Asociación Regional Mujeres Ingenieras
Engineer, Master of Science, mention Natural Resources, National University of Cajamarca, has followed studies in scientific research at CAEU-OEI, University of Oviedo-Spain, with AECID scholarship, and Disaster Risk Reduction-DRR at Universidad San Carlos, Guatemala and Florida University-USA, with USAID / OFDA scholarship. CONCYTEC associate researcher, with extensive experience in plant taxonomy, biodiversity, environment, water, sanitation, DRR, climate change and resilient ecosystems; She has 16 years of university teaching experience and has represented in 9 countries as Lecturer in Science Congress. Recognition by Women`s Environment & Development Organizations as women force in defense of environment; currently, Vice President of the Peruvian chapter of the Organization for Women in Science for the Development World-OWSD, from where she continues to contribute to the science and technology of the country and Latin America; In addition to this deployment of intellectual abilities, Master Garcia has formed a family with her husband and children.
International Trade Union Confederation
Chidi is the Director of the Equality Department at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the umbrella organisation for trade union national centres worldwide. She leads the implementation of policies adopted by the ITUC Congress and governing bodies as regards equality. She developed and led the ITUC campaign to secure a Convention to address gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work. She also led on behalf of the ITUC on the negotiations of the Violence and Harassment Convention and Recommendation 2019 (C190 and R206) at the International Labour Conference of the ILO, providing the secretariat to the Workers’ Group. Chidi served on the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She represents the ITUC on the steering committee of the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) led by the International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Women and the OECD and is a member of EPIC’s Equal Pay Platform of Champions.
Egyptian Feminist Union
Fatma Khafagy completed her graduate studies in the UK and obtained a PhD in Development Planning from University of London. Since 1985, she has worked for UN agencies like UNICEF and UNIFEM and established and headed the first Gender Equality Ombuds Office in Egypt. She is a founder and member in national and regional feminist NGOs and networks such as the Egyptian Feminist Union, the Alliance for Arab Women and she is the coordinator of the Arab Women Network for Parity and Solidarity “Tha’era”. She is a member of the gender expert group of North-South Center of Council of Europe. She has been involved with the UN, government and with civil society in Beijing events, participating in Beijing conferences since 1995 and contributed to regional governmental as well as regional parallel reports on Beijing+10, +15 and +20. She works actively with other Arab feminists and networks in lobbying for strengthening the role of Arab women in politics and for combating gender based violence including political violence. She is an author of several publications on women’s rights and won several national and regional awards recognizing her work.
Youth Empowerment and Leadership Organization
Gharsanay Ibnul Ameen is a Fulbright scholar pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). She earned a Bachelor of Law from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF). She has won several awards, the Women of Distinction Award 2019 from the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, New York; she was the youngest person to get this award in her twenties. She won the Emerging Young Leaders Award in 2017 from the US State Department, an award given to 10 social activists from across the world. Gharsanay is the co-founder of several organizations including the Young Women Leadership Conference, the Global Youth Development Initiative, the Afghan Girls Sustainable Education Project, and the first Model-UN in Afghanistan (co-organizer). Gharsanay has worked for the past one and a half years at the Afghan President’s Office as the deputy to the Special Assistant to the President. Currently, she is on the Civil Society Advisory Group to the core group with the UN Women.
GIA GASPARD TAYLOR
Network of Rural Women Producers, Trinidad and Tobago
Gia Gaspard Taylor is a national of Trinidad and Tobago, who continues to devote herself tirelessly to national service particularly working with young people, women and the disadvantaged. She holds a BSc in Social Work from the School of Continuing Studies University of the West Indies; and has had many years of experience in working in both the public and private sector in Trinidad and Tobago, regionally, and internationally. She currently serves as President of The Network of Rural Women Producers, Trinidad and Tobago. Since 2016, Gia serves on the UN Women Advisory Council for Latin America and the Caribbean. She is also serving on the Committee for Economic Cost of Violence Against Women and girls in Trinidad and Tobago and the EU funded national project on Environmental Issues in the Trinidad and Tobago Environmental, Governance, and Transparency.
Hakima Abbas is the co-Executive Director of AWID, a global feminist movement support and membership organization. Hakima has been active in social movements for two decades. Trained in international affairs, her work as a policy analyst, popular educator, advocate and strategist has focused on strengthening and supporting movements for transformation.
NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY
Houry Geudelekian, Chair of NGO CSW/NY, previously Gender Program Coordinator, served two terms on Executive Committee as Communications Secretary. Involved in almost all aspects of organizing the annual NGO CSW Forum; Co-Chaired Planning committee for CSW58 and 59 (Beijing+20), Rally, Women of Distinction Award and last year coordinated the full Forum including over 400 parallel events. Was involved with establishing both Cities for CEDAW campaign and NGO CSW Regional Committees. Currently UN Coordinator for Unchained At Last, US based organization fighting to stop early marriage. As UN Coordinator for Armenian Relief Society (2010-2016), a global grass root organization, helped curve the sex selection trend in Armenia through CSW advocacy. Helped establish a $5million women's empowerment project in border towns of Armenia with Russian Federation, Republic of Armenia and UNDP. Collaborating with UN Women Civil Society section since 2012 on various campaigns and events. Prior to UN career, established a $2million business with strengths in project management, marketing and public relations. Armenian born in Beirut Lebanon, lives in NYC, survivor of early marriage, civil war and genocide, fighting for human rights for all.
Jeanne Hefez is a Senior Policy Advisor at Ipas where she focuses her advocacy and energy into advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, including and especially the right for every women and girl to access safe abortion care, regardless of her circumstance. Originally from France, Jeanne has spent the past 13 years living and working between South Africa, New York City and Francophone Africa,
operating at an intersection of social justice, women’s rights, advocacy and movement building. This year will be her fourth CSW and CPD and she has a keen interest in making sure the global agenda keeps recognizing sexual and reproductive health and sexual rights as pillars of societal freedom and bodily autonomy.
OutRight Action International
Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, specializes in gender, sexuality and human rights globally. At OutRight, she has doubled the budget, supported the legal registration of LGBTIQ organizations globally, helped secure the mandate of the United Nations Independent Expert on Discrimination and Violence based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, and advanced the UN LGBTI Core Group. She is frequently quoted by the media in The New York Times, The Guardian, and Time. She has provided expert opinions to governments globally and UN mechanisms, including UNWomen where she serves as a member of the LGBTI Reference Group and Women Human Rights Defenders Reference Group. Her writing has been cited by the Indian Supreme Court in its seminal judgement decriminalizing homosexuality (Navtej Singh Johar versus the Union of India) and featured in a new chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace and Security (2019). She is an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University.
KUWONU AFIWA KAFUI
Lawyer and Human Resources manager, Ms. Kuwonu Afiwa Kafui has professional experience and expertise in gender and women's rights. Ms. Kuwonu held executive positions in public administration for twenty years before finally joining in full time NGO work in 2002. Currently she works as senior Programme Officer in the WiLDAF West Africa Office. In this position, she plays a leading role in capacity-building activities for women’s rights organizations and other organizations working for women’s empowerment projects in the region. Founding member of GF2D (Group of Reflection and Action, Women, Democracy and Development in 1992, she was the General Secretary of this organization from 2006 to 2010. She participated in the establishment of WiLDAF-TOGO and was its first president from 1999 to 2003. She is also representing WiLDAF AO at Women Major group since 2013. She is the Co-Chair of NGO CSW Africa.
Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer, FEIM)
Mabel Bianco is a MPH and specialist in Epidemiology and Medical Statics. President and founder of FEIM, an NGO working to improve women's rights since 1989. Co-coordinator of Women Won’t Wait, a global campaign to eliminate VAW and HIV. She was twice elected as NGO member of UNAIDS PCB. Member of Civil Society Regional Advisory Committee UNWOMEN till 2016. Since 2012, Co-Chair of the CoNGO CSW LAC. Member of WMG since 2014. Elected as Women’s Mayor Group WMG OP Organizing Partner for Latin America and the Caribbean for period 2019-2021. Awarded by the Argentinian MOH, Women Deliver and Newsweek recognized her as one of the “150 women that moved the world” and in 2017 by NGO CSW NY as “Distinguished Woman of the Year”. She is author and editor of 10 books and more than 150 papers and articles.
FEMNET - African Women's Development and Communication Network
Memory Zonde-Kachambwa is a pan-African feminist and social-justice activist. A recognized dynamic leader in movement-building, feminist organizing in policy advocacy and networking with over 18 years’ experience developing, managing and implementing programs promoting women and girls rights regionally and globally. A seasoned cross cultural thought leader and strategist bridging national, regional, global women’s rights networks with policy leaders. Has extensive front line experience implementing campaigns policy advocacy initiatives advancing human rights, gender equality, economic justice, sexual-rights and bodily autonomy, transformational leadership, ending violence against women and girls and sustainable development. She is passionate about dismantling and disrupting patriarchy, neo-liberal systems and structures that oppress and deny women dignity. She has a MPhil in Water Resources Management focusing on women’s leadership in the Water Sector and a BSc in Geology, Geography and Environmental Science. She has been working on gender and development for over 15 years with 8 years in the UN and as Executive Director of the Women’s Trust- on women’s leadership and governance and Gender and empowerment specialist for International Youth Foundation.
NAIARA LEITE COSTA
Articulação de Organizações de Mulheres Negras Brasileiras
Naiara Leite is a black lesbian feminist, from the communication area and coordinates the Communication Program of Odara - Institute of Black Women. In the communication has acted with the narrative disputes to break the racist imaginary, sexist and also to make visible the situation of the Brazilian black population, primarily, black women. In the black feminist struggle she has been working with the production of campaigns to confront domestic violence, maternal mortality, the feminicide of black women and to confront racial violence. She was one of the coordinators of the National March of Black Women Against Racism, Violence and Good Living, held in 2015, which brought together more than 50,000 black women in the Brazilian capital. In the national coordination of the Articulation of Brazilian Black Women's Organizations (AMNB), she is the executive secretary and acts in dialogue with black women's organizations in the five regions of the country.
Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA)
Phelister Abdalla is the National Coordinator of Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA). She is a founder of African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA) and one of the pioneers of the Sex Workers Movements in Africa. Before joining KESWA, Phelister worked for ICRH Kenya as a peer educator and zone leader leading in the organization’s advocacy and peer mobilization. She is on the front line in creating awareness and advocating for the rights of sex workers at national, regional and global levels including lobbying and advocacy for policy reform and leading in decriminalization of sex work process in Kenya. She is known for her articulation in addressing critical issues such as stigma and discrimination; violence faced by sex workers, community of sex workers empowerment and inclusion of the sex workers agenda across the country and across Africa. Her dedication to highlighting the issues of sex workers, places her as a strategic Key Populations ally to the Global network of sex work projects (NSWP), Global Network of people living with HIV (GNP+) and the Global Fund acting as a regional expert on Global fund issues. Phelister also serves on numerous committees and board of directors representing sex workers and Key Populations in Africa and globally.
Women Engage for a Common Future
Sascha Gabizon is an international director of Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF), a network working for gender equality and sustainable development in over 50 countries. She calls herself an Eco-Feminist. Sascha was born in Nigeria and studied in France, Germany and the UK. Sascha was very lucky to participate in the Beijing 4th World Women’s Conference in 1995. She also facilitated a delegation of women environmental activities, which created the basis for the network she is still working with. In her region of UNECE, Sascha and her colleagues are facilitating the preparation for the regional Beijing+25 CSO Forum which will take place on the 28th of October at the UN in Geneva. They are coordinating with the regional UNWOMEN office and UNECE secretariat, and trying to ensure an inclusive process for the drafting of the CSO Forum's program and policy statements. As WECF and WMG, they coordinate also closely with the other facilitators of the regional Beijing+25 CSO forums in the other regions, as well as for other global UN processes on the SDGs and Climate, where they are active supporters of the women’s constituencies.
International Women's Health Coalition
Shannon oversees IWHC’s work on international and US foreign policy advocacy. She is an experienced and effective advocate for sexual and reproductive rights and health, is very familiar with UN negotiations, and is an expert on HIV and AIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and programs to advance youth sexual and reproductive health. Prior to IWHC, Shannon was director of the global health financing initiative of the Open Society Foundations. In this role, she oversaw a $1.6 million grantmaking and operational initiative to ensure that global health donors and financing mechanisms are transparent and accountable, and meet the needs of communities and marginalized groups. Previously, Shannon worked for Family Care International and the Center for Reproductive Rights. She has been published in Global Public Health and co-authored What Works for Women: Evidence for HIV Interventions (Open Society Foundations, 2010). She has been featured in several media outlets, including The Guardian, Associated Press, Reuters, and Huffington Post. Shannon holds a BA summa cum laude from CUNY/Hunter College, and an MPA in health policy and management from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Shifting the Power Coalition & Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict
Sharon Bhagwan Rolls is a Pacific Island Feminist from the Fiji Islands. She is a Gender, Media and Communications Specialist who has been actively engaged in the implementation of women's media initiatives in Fiji and the Pacific. She is currently the Technical Adviser of the Pacific women led Shifting the Power Coalition. She has been a civil society adviser to the UN on Women, Peace and Security. Sharon is presently the Board Chair, ISG Gender Liaison & GPPAC Pacific Regional Representative of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict Co- Chair of the Global Fund for Women: Board of Directors. She is also the Pacific Coordinator of the Global Media Monitoring Project, a member of the Steering Committee: Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR), the Pacific rep of the WACC Board Member & a World Pulse Ambassador (2019).
ARROW (Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women)
Siva is the Executive Director of ARROW. She is the author of Reclaiming and Redefining Rights: The Status of SRHR in Asia and the Pacific - the seminal alternative report which examines the fulfilment of women's sexual and reproductive rights at the five-year review intervals of the ICPD. She is feminist advocate deeply committed to advancing the rights of women and girls in being able to achieve and exercise bodily autonomy and bodily integrity. As part of ARROW's intersectional feminist practice, she expanded the work of the network to include the issues of climate change, migration, conflict, food sovereignty and to include young people, people with disabilities, and LBT as key constituencies of the organisation.
YouAct - European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Sophie is a Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) activist from Georgia. She is the current chairperson of YouAct, the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, a founding member of a Georgian grassroots organization Civic Empowerment Initiative, and the Project Coordinator at Women’s International Network. In 2017 Sophie co-founded the first-ever website on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in Georgia, for Georgian youth. She mainly focuses on human rights, gender equality, SRHR and meaningful youth participation in her advocacy work, both nationally, and on EU level. In 2018 Sophie was nominated for the Kato Mikheladze Human Rights Award for her activism work in Georgia.
Young Feminist Europe
Xenia has a background in international law, human rights and European and international criminal law. She is specialized in Women, Peace and Security as well as combatting human trafficking, a field in which she worked in for several years at the KFN with a focus on cross-border investigations and cooperation in Europe. She previously studied law in Mexico and worked for CLADEM in the field of VAW focusing on the issue of femicide and the monitoring of the implementation of CEDAW in the aftermath of the “cotton field case”. In her work she focuses on multi-layered approaches for systemic and transformative change and fostering inclusive feminist leadership towards gender equality. Xenia recently became a co-founder and lead of the advocacy team at Young Feminist Europe. YFE offers the structures that enable young feminists to take action, put their ideas into practice and empower them to be changemakers and shape the societies they want to live in.
ZONEZIWOH MBONDGULO- WONDIEH
Women for a Change
Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh (@ZoFem) is an award winning feminist humanitarian storyteller and researcher with over ten years of experience in gender and digital activism, movement building, policy advocacy and youth leadership. She is the Executive Director at Women for A Change in Cameroon where she designs, directs and executes programs for the advancement of women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health rights, leadership, and empowerment. Her advocacy involves creating spaces for women and girls to engage with policy and decision makers at the highest levels including the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), and translating and raising awareness on national and international women’s rights protocols and frameworks including the Maputo protocol and the Beijing Platform for Action. Zoneziwoh holds an MSc. in Sex, Gender and Violence and is currently a PhD candidate in Conflict Resolution. A Multi-stakeholder Steering Committee is being established by the Core Group in consultation with partners. The Committee includes 25 members comprising civil society, member states, the private sector and other stakeholders who are contributing to the Forum’s design, planning and implementation.