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BRIEFING for Monday, 8 March

The 10th meeting of the CSW's 43rd Session commenced at 11:25 am. Chair Patricia Flor (Germany) advised the Commission of the following nominees for officers of the Bureau of the upcoming Preparatory Committee for the special session of the General Assembly: Irma Engelbrecht (South Africa), Christine Kapalata (United Republic of Tanzania), Dubravka Simonovic (Croatia), Rasa Ostrauskaite (Lithuania), Monica Martinez (Ecuador), Sonia R. Leonce (St. Lucia), Patricia Flor (Germany), and Kirsten Mlacak (Canada). The two nominees for the Asian group of States have yet to be announced.

The meeting began with a discussion on the proposed programme budget for the Division for the Advancement of Women [Agenda Item 3(a)]. After the discussion on the proposed programme budget, the Chair moved the gathering into brief informal consultations before adjourning at 12:10 pm.h

In the afternoon, the Chair called to order the 11th meeting at 3:00 pm for a joint session of the CSW with the Open-ended Working Group (WG) on the Elaboration of a Draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) [Agenda Item 6]. The Chair of the WG, Aloisia W�rgetter (Austria), briefed the Commission on progress thus far, informing delegates that she considered the process to be "on schedule" to complete discussions over the next two days. She said advances had been made during the last week and all delegations had confirmed their desire and readiness to finalize the draft protocol, although some important sections, including Articles 10, 11, 11bis, 12 and 20, needed further negotiation. She expressed confidence that the WG's work on the draft will be concluded this week.

Comments from the floor included a statement from a representative of EQUALITY, on behalf of the NGOs' Working Group. She called on delegates to ensure that the protocol is sufficiently strong and is not diluted by too many compromises on the path to reaching agreement. In response to a request from San Marino, the WG Chair then briefed delegates article-by-article on what has been achieved and what remains to be done. She told delegates that if such progress continues, the final document would be strong and effective. The CSW's Chair adjourned the meeting at 3:45 pm. It resumed shortly before 5:00 pm for informal consultations on the draft agreed conclusions from last week's panel discussion on institutional mechanisms, as contained in document E/CN.6/1999/L.3.

THE OPEN-ENDED AD HOC WORKING GROUP The Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group (WG) of the CSW met informally shortly after 11:00 am to continue discussion on agenda item 6, namely the elaboration of a draft optional protocol to CEDAW. In the afternoon it participated in a joint meeting with the CSW, reporting on progress made during its consultations. Following this, the WG resumed informal meetings in closed session.

OTHER MEETINGS One of the numerous events to mark International Women's Day took place from 9:30 am to 11:00 am, when the General Assembly participated in a Global Interagency Videoconference on "A World Free from Violence against Women"(UNIFEM). Opened by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the videoconference linked participants in Strasbourg, Nairobi, New Delhi, Mexico City and New York. It was the first meeting of its kind ever to be held in the UN General Assembly Hall.

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Earth Negotiations Bulletin, 1999. All rights reserved.