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UN General Assembly Special Session (Beijing +5): Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century
New York; 5-9 June 2000

BNT (version française)


Highlights from Wednesday 7 June

On Wednesday, 7 June, the Plenary met in the morning and afternoon. Working Group I, on Sections II and III, and Working Group II, on Sections IV, met in morning, afternoon, evening and late-night, early morning sessions. Contact groups met in morning, afternoon and evening sessions to debate paragraphs on diversity, human rights, the girl child, family, armed conflict and globalization. In Plenary, speakers on the review and appraisal of progress made in the implementation of the PFA's 12 critical areas of concern included one Vice-President, three Deputy Prime Ministers, 21 Ministers, and 12 Chiefs of Delegation. Statements can be found on the Internet at:

Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan (right) spoke at a roundtable dialogue between NGOs and Governments for a "Gender-Sensitive" Citizenship

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan meets with Festus G. Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana


Coverage of the Commission on the Status of Women acting as the Preparatory Committee for Beijing +5.



See below for coverage of side events:

Dialogue between NGOs and Governments: For a gender-sensitive citizenship
Engendering Peace Processes: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities




Photos: Delegates from Cuba (right) and Syrian Arab Republic (left) and Lesotho (bottom right)

On creating and maintaining a non-discriminatory, as well as a gender sensitive legal environment by reviewing legislation with the view to striving to remove discriminatory provision, delegates debated the time frame to removing removing them. SADC countries and others opposed reference to as soon as possible and supported removal by 2005. SLAC, the EU, LIBYA, SADC, SUDAN, CUBA, TUNISIA, EGYPT accepted language on striving for removal by 2005. PAKISTAN opposed the reference. Sudan proposed to removing them as soon as possible, preferably by 2005, and the text was agreed. Regarding reviewing all existing legislation and policy to ensure their compatibility and compliance with the provisions of CEDAW and other relevant international human rights instruments as well as ensure that future legislation is also designed accordingly, some delegates, including Libya and Sudan, noted this as a heavy burden on countries and supported a qualifier on such as consider reviewing or reviewing as appropriate. Working Group II adopted: 53 bis, on addressing the concerns of girls and women with disabilities in policy making and programming; 107(a), on policies and measures to address health challenges; 107(g), on adopting, inter alia, and implementing health legislation, policies and programmes in consultation with women's organizations; 107(g) quarter, on men's sexual and reproductive behavior; 107(j) bis, on substance abuse; 115(g), on social services and support to pregnant adolescents; 132(f), on protecting, inter alia, individuals engaged in promoting women's humanrights; 132(g), on gender perspectives in treaty body reports; 135(d), on poverty eradication programmes, including a Philippines' amendment to refer to physical and mental health care; 135(f), on supporting the Cologne initiative, particularly the speedy implementation of the enhanced HIPC; and 138(d), on access to adequate and affordable, inter alia, treatment for all people. Delegates agreed to 133(m) bis, on disarmament, with SLAC proposals including deletion of a reference to the PFA. They accepted Cuba's proposed 133(m) ter, on generating financial resources through appropriate reduction of excessive military expenditures, with EU amendments including text on the arms trade and investment for arms production and acquisition. In 134(a), on the media and information industry, SLAC, with JUSCANZ and the EU, reiterated its support for a bracketed reference to freedom of expression. The HOLY SEE and LIBYA opposed, and the reference remains bracketed.


Sudan and Thailand

Working Group I: ENB writer Gretchen Sidhu speaks with a representative of the European Union. The EU, supported by CARICOM and SADC , proposed a reformulation of text stating that failure to recognize and measure, in quantitative terms, unremunerated work of women, which is often not valid in national accounts, has meant that women's full contribution to social and economic development remains underestimated. The EU text was agreed. Delegates endorsed text on forms of abuse, including, inter alia, inadequate working conditions, economic and sexual exploitation, and racism. The PHILIPPINES proposed, while BANGLADESH and SUDAN opposed, deleting reference to forced prostitution. Noting implied reference under sexual exploitation, delegates agreed to its deletion. EGYPT proposed, with MEXICO and NIGERIA, language on forms of abuse which impair enjoyment of human rights "and in some cases" constitute violations of human rights, and the paragraph was agreed as amended.


Panel Discussion: "Dialogue between NGOs and Governments: For a Gender Sensitive Citizenship"
The UN Regional Commissions organized a panel discussion on "dialogue between NGOs and Governments: for a gender sensitive citizenship." Participants discussed, inter alia, NGOs' key role in pushing the Beijing agenda forward, raise awareness and denounce gender-based discrimination. They highlighted the necessity to take into consideration the diversity of different regions and noted that although governments have come to value issues of women empowerment since Beijing, the meaning of women citizenship must still be taken beyond a mere status and toward action.

Panel (Left to right): Laura Balbo (Italy), Supartra Masdit (Thailand), Princess Basma Bint Talal (Jordan), Danuta Hubner, ECE, Christine Kapalata (PrepCom Chair), Winnie Byanyima (Uganda) and Gina Vargas (Peru)

Danuta Hubner, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Europe (left), chaired the panel discussion. Christine Kapalata, PrepCom Bureau Chair, said Regional Commissions are in a unique position to offer a dialogue between governments and civil society and called for benchmarks, monitoring and synergies. H.E Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan (right) spoke on the evolution of the role of NGOs in assuring social equity. She noted dialogue in the area of gender is most controversial. Laura Balbo, President of the Italian College of Sociologists (ECE), highlighted the importance of dialogue and gender-sensitive citizenship. She outlined actions undertaken by NGOs in Europe, including in the areas of labor, health and immigration at the local level, and in dealing with debt relief, land mines, and international development and cooperation at the international level. Winnie Byanyima, Member of Parliament in Uganda (ECA), noted that since Beijing, African women have ceased to think of themselves as objects of the State and have taken civic participation beyond voting. Supatra Masdit, Thai Minister in charge of the national machinery for the advancement of women (ESCAP), stated that NGOs have played a critical role in publicizing the critical role of women in the Asian economic expansion. Gina Vargas, Latin American Coordinator for the NGO Forum IV World Conference on Women at Beijing (ECLAC), said that, even in the light of progress, there is a democratic deficiency in Latin American countries. She highlighted the paradox of democracy and poverty.

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and Economic Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)


Photo on right: Supartra Masdit, Thailand and Christine Kapalata, PrepCom Chair

Panel Discussion: Engendering Peace Processes: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities

This panel, sponsored by UNIFEM with UNDP and International Alert, reviewed women's growing participation in peace negotiation and reconstruction processes in war zones and conflict regions globally. Panelists included Amy Smythe, Former Minster of Women and Children's Affairs, Sierra Leone (right), Luz Mendez, General Coordinator, Guatemala National Union (bottom right) and Mu Sochua, Minster of Women's and Veterans' Affairs, Cambodia (left). They discussed their roles in sustaining and rebuilding their nations and communities during and after war. Topics covered included the need to promote and protect women's human rights during armed conflict, how women's concerns are integrated into post conflict peace building efforts, and the advantages of bringing women's perspectives to peace talks, a process predominantly controlled by men. Despite strong recognition within the Beijing Platform for Action for strengthening women's participation at all levels of peace making processes, women continue to be marginalized from peace negotiating tables. This panel will draw attention to a range of ongoing initiatives in support of women's participation in peace processes.

UNIFEM has been involved in the following: Women at the Peace Table: Making a Difference, a UNIFEM publication that has generated a number of global recommendations for bringing women to the table; The Millennium Peace Prize for Women, a joint UNIFEM and International Alert initiative to provide recognition of significant contributions women have made to securing peace in their countries and communities; and Gender and Peacekeeping Operations, the results of a joint study by UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Division of the Advancement of Women to review lessons learned on integrating gender issues into peacekeeping operations. For more information email: [email protected] or visit:

ENB Summary of CSW-44 and the Informal Consultations
Linkages FWCW page
UN Division for the Advancement of Women Beijing +5 Site with official documents and information for participants

Special Events during the Special Session
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