The UN-CSW 68 Session: Positive impacts of collaboration between Nurses Across The borders, DESOPADEC

By Cyriakus Nnaji

The 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), is the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ideally, this year’s edition which commenced on 11th of March will come to an end on 22 of March.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective”.

Indeed the international community is at a crucial crossroad for gender equality, bearing in mind that globally 10.3 per cent of women live in extreme poverty today, and they are poorer than men. Progress towards ending poverty needs to be 26 times faster to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Unarguably, accelerated progress requires investment. Data from 48 developing economies shows that an additional $360 billion is needed per year to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment across key global goals, including ending poverty and hunger.

Solutions to end women’s poverty are widely recognized: investing in policies and programmes that address gender inequalities and boosting women’s agency and leadership. Such investments yield enormous dividends as over 100 million women and girls could be lifted out of poverty if governments prioritized education and family planning, fair and equal wages, and expanded social benefits. Almost 300 million jobs could be created by 2035 through investments in care services. Closing gender gaps in employment could boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita by 20 per cent across all regions.

At CSW68, governments, civil society organizations, experts and activists from across the world are already brainstorming to agree on actions and investments that can end women’s poverty and advance gender equality.

Therefore the role of Nurses Across the Borders in networking and attracting wide range of international attention and assistance to local communities, states and Nigeria, through conventions like this has become phenomenal.


But most important is her collaboration with the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC). There is no doubt that Delta State and indeed Nigeria have a lot to gain from the numerous investments and intervention opportunities likely to emanate from a conference like this and also tapping from the numerous collaborative efforts aimed at ensuring an end to gender disparity.


Nurses Across The Borders (NAB), is international charitable non-government, not-for-profit organization, which has continued to provide hope and a future to those ravaged by the HIV/AIDS scourge; it is also involved in the provision of relief materials and cash to those affected by both natural and human disaster, not forgetting capacity building for both healthcare and healthcare consumers.

Nurses Across the Borders has played incredibly commendable roles in climate change mitigation strategies. Last December at the UNFCCC COP 28 in Dubai, DESOPADEC actually co-hosted the side event with NAB and also signed an MOU with the group in the areas of developing and promoting mitigation and adaptation strategies against climate change and helping to build the capacities of the oil communities healthcare workers.

It has also shown capacity in the critical area of fight against gender inequalities.

DESOPADEC, an interventionist agency set up by Government of Delta State, Nigeria with the aim of providing development to the communities suffering from oil exploration and pollution and the adverse effects of climate change disasters has also collaborated with NAB to co-host the Side Event organized by Nurses Across The Borders, at the ongoing CSW 68 Session in United States of America.


In 2023, the Chairman of DESOPADEC, Chief (Barrister) John Obukowho Nani, received an award as a Global Climate Change Advocate presented to him by Nurses Across the Borders International in faraway United Arab Emirates at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-UNFCCC COP 28 Conference, in recognition of his unflinching environmental sustainability activities in the state even from his days as the Commissioner of Environment. Whilst he was Commissioner in Delta State, Nani was also able to lay the solid foundation for the climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in the state.


Chief (Barrister) Nani, Chairman, who has done so much for Nurses Across The Borders, was unavoidably absent at the year’s side event in The US due to the crisis in Okuoma, Delta State which emanated from the killing of soldiers by locals and the consequent reprisal attacks by soldiers.


Nani, a critical thinker and thorough bred administrator showed class in helping the government of Delta State paddle its way out of the storm when flooding orchestrated by climate change raged the state. He ensured that the state entered into collaboration with Nurses Across the Borders which have the international connection to attract global assistance to making flooding and negative impacts of oil exploration in Delta State a thing of the past.


Indeed the big vacuum created by his absence at the event was felt by all and sundry, many have indeed longed for his invaluable contributions in such a gathering.


While speaking at this year’s CWS, President/CEO, Nurses Across The Borders, Pastor Peters Omoragbon, maintained that there is an urgent need to increase efforts to ensure social protection that explicitly promotes gender equality.


Omoragbon who is also the Director for International Liaison Nigerians Charitable Association UK and Chairman Health Committee, Nigerians in Diaspora Organization-UK South: said “Social protection systems that do not address gender inequalities risk exacerbating the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination women and girls face. There is, therefore, an urgent need to increase our efforts to ensure social protection that explicitly promotes gender equality. This event will explore these issues, which include women’s health, girls and young women, financing for women’s rights, and gender equality and governance, among others.”


He enumerated various areas in which women are discriminated against, which include but are not limited to occupational segregation, leadership, and salary, among others, adding that women face a lot of challenges to secure decent work, including sexual harassment, and bias, saying “Large percentage of women in health workforce face bias and discrimination.


He enumerated the role and the numerous interventions by Nurses Across the Borders saying “As a civil society, ours is not only to advocate for the voiceless in the society, but also engage the community in awareness creation on emerging issues that impact sustainable development but equally collaborate with governments and agencies of governments and international organizations like the United Nations to provide and fund the enabling environment for correcting the social imbalance in society, among other interventions.


In her vote of Thanks, Evang. Helen Peters, appreciated profusely, the Special Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker, First Lady of Osun State Nigeria and wife of the Executive Governor, Her Excellency, Mrs. Titilola Adeleke, saying “Your keynote address and your commitment to women struggle will be rewarded by the impacts on the Osun State women by the present government in Osun under your influence.


Mrs Omoragbon did not forget the contributions of the DSOPADEC saying “To our Partners-Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission under the able leadership of Olorogun (Barrister) John Nani who was the Chairman of today’s occasion but unavoidably absent, we say a big thank you for continuing to identify with and nurturing the partnership between Nurses Across the Borders and DESOPADEC.”

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She also thanked the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs, Children and Social Affairs, Osun State, Hon. Ayobola Awolowo; the Permanent Secretary, Barrister Abimbola Babatude and the Director of Women Affairs, Mrs. Oluyemisi Oladele, among other dignitaries.


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