Australian Delegation to the 59th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

Call for NGO Delegate Applications

Applications close 11:59pm 2 November 2014


The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) is seeking applications from interested individuals and representatives of non-government organisations to be included on the official Australian Government delegation to the 59th session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) to be held from 9-20 March 2015.


Whilst all applicants will be assessed based on their individual merits, in order to ensure a broad range of views are represented on the delegation, the Australian Government encourages both men and women from diverse backgrounds to apply including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and people with disabilities.


CSW is the highest level international forum on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Commission meets annually in New York.


The priority theme for CSW59 is reviewing progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.


The review (Beijing+20) will also include the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly, the first five-year assessment conducted after the adoption of the BPFA, which highlighted further actions and initiatives.


The session will also address current challenges that affect the implementation of the BPFA, as well as opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.


Role Description 


The successful delegates will provide expert advice to the Australian Government, act as liaison points between both domestic and international civil society organisations and the Australian delegation, and attend meetings and events as official members of the delegation.


Delegates should have an understanding of UN architecture and CSW processes, an understanding of issues relating to the Beijing+20 review, the Millennium Development Goals and post-2015 development agenda and expertise or experience working on matters relating to gender equality, women’s leadership and empowerment, human rights or other relevant fields.


Participation on the delegation will provide individuals with a unique and valuable opportunity to represent Australia at high-level meetings and events, and work with a range of stakeholders.


The successful delegates will be expected to act in a professional and collaborative manner at all times whilst representing the Australian delegation. Selected delegates will be required to agree in writing to a set of specified Terms & Conditions before their position on the delegation is confirmed.


Applicants should be aware that being included on the delegation may be a stressful experience for some people as delegates are expected to cope with working long hours, take in complex, detailed information in a short space of time, work in an unfamiliar environment away from their normal support networks and participate in potentially emotive discussions.


The selected delegates participation in CSW59, will be conditional on them meeting the following minimum standards of engagement.




Prior to attending CSW59 in New York the selected delegates will:


Participate in discussions to assist Australia’s preparation for CSW, including attending at least one in-person meeting in Canberra.

Provide expert advice to the Australian delegation on issues relating to the Beijing+ 20 review process, including suggestions on language for any outcomes document.

Utilise their networks to encourage and facilitate engagement with the CSW process by other non-government and civil society organisations.

Provide requested information relating to their attendance at CSW59 including personal details, photographs and biographical information to the Office for Women within specified timeframes.

Take any and all reasonable actions to assist the Office for Women in arranging any travel or logistical matters relating to their attendance at CSW59 within specified timeframes.

Clear any requests to speak at CSW events or engage in media activities, including the use of social media, in relation to their role as an Australian NGO delegate through the Office for Women.


During CSW 


During CSW the selected delegates will:

Provide expert advice to the delegation on issues relating to the Beijing+20 review process and other relevant issues.

Liaise with other non-government participants, including through relevant caucuses, and provide feedback to the Australian delegation on their priority issues.


Participate in a range of meetings events including formal Commission sessions, side events, parallel events and official functions.


Host daily briefing sessions for Australian non-government participants, as directed by the Office for Women.


Perform various administrative and other reasonable tasks as requested in order to support and facilitate the delegation’s involvement at CSW.


Dependent on their relevant skills and areas of expertise selected delegates may also be given the opportunity to present or speak at Australian sponsored CSW side events as determined by the Office for Women. Consideration of an applicant’s potential and experience as a possible speaker will be given when shortlisting candidates.




Upon their return to Australia following CSW59 the selected delegates will:


Attend at least one post-CSW debrief/event in order to share their experiences at CSW and their views on the outcomes of CSW.


Provide a written report to the Office for Women on their involvement in the Australian delegation to CSW59. The report will focus on their views on the outcomes of the session, as well as ideas on how to improve on the involvement of non-government delegates at future CSW sessions. Excerpts from the report may be used in a range of post-CSW materials.


Continue to work to engage their networks in the CSW process including the promotion of any outcomes document and the government’s progress against improving gender equality within Australia.


Share any knowledge about their experiences at CSW and the outcomes with other non-government and civil society stakeholders as appropriate.


Clear any requests to speak at events or engage in media activities (in their role as an Australian NGO delegate) including the use of social media through the Office for Women.




Applicants should be aware that preparations for Australia’s involvement in CSW are both complex and lengthy, with the participation of non-government delegates being just one element of the overall engagement strategy. Therefore, timeframes for selecting delegates, booking travel and arranging any other logistical matters are expected to be tight and are often non-negotiable. Failure to comply with specified timeframes may result in successful delegates missing out on opportunities to participate in certain events.


Those delegates who are chosen must be available to:


attend a pre-CSW meeting in Canberra – late Jan/ early Feb 2015

travel to New York between 7 – 22 March 2015 (tbc); and

attend at least one post-CSW debrief/ event – prior to 30 June 2015


The successful delegates are expected to be announced by the end of 2014. Failure to return the necessary documentation required to confirm a delegate’s participation at CSW may result in the successful candidate not being included on the delegation.




Non-government delegates will receive financial support to attend CSW59. Details of the specific funding arrangements will be provided to the successful applicants at the time they are invited to be part of the Australian Government Delegation.


Applicants should note that the any funding is subject to the selected delegates’ full participation in the CSW59 process


Please note that any funding will only cover periods of official travel. Any personal travel taken in conjunction with periods of official travel will be at the delegates’ own expense. Selected delegates must notify and obtain approval for any personal travel from the Office for Women prior to bookings being made. Unless otherwise agreed, all delegates must enter and exit the USA via New York and return to Australia via the most direct/ economical route.


All applicants must have or be willing to obtain a valid passport and visa (if required) at their own expense.


Support for Delegates


The Office for Women will provide nongovernment delegates on the official delegation to CSW with reasonable administrative and logistical support to facilitate their attendance at CSW59. No support will be provided in relation to personal travel arrangements or activities that fall outside the scope of the delegates’ official duties whilst in New York.


Selected delegates are expected to read and understand all information provided to them by the Office for Women and respond to all correspondence within a reasonable timeframe.


Lodging an application 


To lodge an application to participate on the official Australian Government delegation to CSW59, please provide:


telephone, email and postal contact details;

your resume or CV;

claims against the selection criteria below;

a photograph and one page biography (for use in any media); and

details of two referees who may be contacted as part of the selection process.


Incomplete applications will not be considered.


In addition to the above mandatory requirements applicants may also choose to provide either/ or

two pages max on Australia’s priorities for CSW59

a one page proposal on a possible side event


Applicants who are shortlisted will be required to participate in a short phone interview. It is expected that interviews will be conducted in mid to late November 2014.


Applications close 11.59pm Sunday 2 November 2014. Late submissions will not be accepted.


Applications may be sent to by email or post to the addresses below.


Email address:


Postal address:

Office for Women

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

PO Box 6500



The Office for Women will provide confirmation of receipt of your application via email.


Queries regarding the application process should be directed to Jane Quick at or on (02) 6271 5140.


Please note that the Office for Women can only provide general advice on the application process. In the interest of running a fair and open selection process, questions relating to Australia’s position on the priority theme, how to answer the selection criteria etc. will not be answered.


For additional information on CSW, including what to expect as an NGO delegate please see the Australian NGO Guide to the Commission on the Status of Women


Selection Criteria 


Please address the selection criteria set out below, noting that each criterion carries the same weighting. Please limit your response to a maximum of 300 words per criterion and include specific examples. Either paragraph or bullet point format is acceptable.


Demonstrated understanding of issues affecting women in Australia and internationally, including issues relating to the priority theme: Reviewing progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.


Demonstrated ability to provide advice to the Australian delegation to CSW on issues relevant to the CSW59 priority and review themes and Australia’s negotiation priorities.


Well-developed communication skills, including the ability to effectively communicate with diverse audiences, including Australian Government representatives and the Australian and international non-government community.


Well-developed liaison and networking skills, and the willingness and ability to share experiences and promote CSW outcomes.


Demonstrated interest in being involved in the Australian delegation to CSW59, including evidence of relevant strengths, skills and knowledge of gender equality and women’s rights in Australia and internationally and an understanding of the role of the Commission on the Status of Women.


Demonstrated ability to work well within a small team and in high-pressure situations.

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