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CSW-43

BRIEFING for Tuesday, 16 March

COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN (CSW) ACTING AS THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY (GA) (16 MARCH 1999)

The CSW acting as the PrepCom for the GA held its third meeting at 10:00 am on 16 March 1999. The PrepCom continued its consideration of agenda item 2: Preparation for the special session of the GA, and heard presentations by the second panel of experts on further actions and initiatives.

Laura Balbo (Italy), Minister for Equal Opportunities and President of the International Association for the Study of Racism (Amsterdam), emphasized that to achieve the goal of gender mainstreaming and women's empowerment required both a global and regional perspective. While the agenda must continue to be global, implementation efforts would necessarily be more focused on the national and regional levels. In the case of Europe, she said the latter two levels are gradually merging to "Europe building"(earlier called nation-building). Though focusing on Europe she pointed out that despite vast differences in economic, social and cultural backgrounds, the major transformation in women's self-identity, expectations and social creativity is worldwide. She discussed women's voice and visibility in public and political life, including the "organizational dimension" and the "symbolic" level" in the context of a future-oriented agenda. She recommended the following concrete strategies to promote the Beijing Agenda: strengthening commitment at the highest level of the UN system; developing a multidimensional and participatory approach to governance; promoting women's leadership qualifications; supporting women's self-organization in politics; and promoting women's leadership through legally binding measures.

Magalys Arocha Dominguez (Cuba), a member of the National Secretariat of the Federation of Cuban Women for International Affairs and Expert Adviser to the Cuban Government on women's issues for international and national events, emphasized the social impact of globalization. She stated that in a globalized international economic order rich countries are increasingly richer and poor countries are increasingly poorer, with an increasingly disparate income distribution in the countries' interiors, where exclusion becomes more visible in women. The many and significant advantages of globalization without homogenization and hegemonization needed to be shared. Above all, she said there is a need for resources to implement policies that ensure women's access to development.

Diane Elson, Special Adviser to UNIFEM's Executive Director, spoke on gender-sensitive budget analysis as a tool for implementing the Platform for Action (POA). Drawing attention to the frequent gap between policy development and budget appropriations, she said this is a major problem in implementing the POA. The two processes are different and governments often have difficulties in bringing them together. A gender-sensitive budget analysis can achieve this, helping governments to implement policy effectively. She discussed the approaches and experiences in South Australia and the Philippines, then drew attention to the growing number of initiatives throughout the world amongst both governments and NGOs. Gender-sensitive budget analysis could be used to examine whether resources have been budgeted to implement a country's National Plan of Action and assess the adequacy of these resources. A further reason for this analysis is that there can be losses to the nation as a whole from failing to consider the gender implications of public expenditure and revenue.

Nirmaladevi Nababsing (Mauritius) Ministry of Women, Family Welfare and Child Development, provided an overview of the role and status of women in Mauritius' society and economy. She drew attention to several areas of concern that require attention, including the health of women, infant mortality, the low rate of participation due to lack of finance and managerial capacity. She stated that the government had made considerable progress in the areas of economic, legal and gender based reforms, however more was required to achieve the goals it had set for itself.

The Chairperson then opened the floor to delegates for questions and comments relating to the presentations made. Several delegates, including Haiti, Georgia, and Madagascar raised questions and made comments. NGO representatives also made several interventions based on the presentations. Following the conclusion of the dialogue the meeting was adjourned until 3:00 pm, when a closed informal meeting of the G77/China was held.

Today's photo and RealAudio highlights





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Nirmaladevi Nababsing, Ministry of Women, Family Welfare and Child Development, Mauritius, emphasized the need for economic empowerment and legal reforms as future strategies. She is pictured here with Magalys Arocha Dominguez, National Secretariat of the Federation of Cuban Women, Cuba
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Minister Laura Balbo, Minister for Equal Opportunities, Italy (center), discussed the ideas of organizational dimensions, symbolic levels for women's voice and visibility in public and political life

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Charlotte Bunch, Center for Women's Global Leadership, urged that the Special Session enable increased NGO participation and provide for sessions that facilitate real exchange between governments and NGOs
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Magalys Arocha Dominguez, National Secretariat of the Federation of Cuban Women, Cuba, spoke on implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and neoliberal globalization

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Diane Elson, Special Advisor to the Executive Director, UNIFEM, discussed gender-sensitive budget analysis as a tool for implementing the Platform for Action Christine Kapalata, Tanzania, chaired the panel on Further Actions and Initiatives
Diane Elson, UNIFEM, and Angela King, Assistant Secretary on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women Chair Christine Kapalata, Kate Newell, Secretary, and Diane Elson, UNIFEM

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Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 1999. All rights reserved.