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Fourth World Conference on Women Informal Consulations

3 August 1995

Briefing Note #4

by Lynn Wagner and Langston James Goree VI

Delegates met on 3 August, 1995, for the fourth day of the week long informal consultations on the draft Platform for Action, which is to be adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in September. The meeting was called to reduce the number of outstanding issues that must be resolved in China. Two working groups are examining the bracketed text by issue related clusters that the Secretariat identified prior to the meeting. At the end of the day, the Chinese delegation briefed delegates on visa procedures and Mrs. Gertrude Mongella discussed conference preparations.

Working Group I, chaired by Patricia Licuanan (Philippines), continued its consideration of rescue issues. Slow but steady progress was made to remove some brackets or delete bracketed text on questions related to "adequate" vs. "necessary" resources, the role of international financial institutions, and resource priorities. The Group began consideration of the cluster of bracketed text related to the institutional framework during the afternoon session, beginning with consideration of outstanding text related to the Commission on the Status of Women. Deliberations by this Group were scheduled to continue into the night.

Working Group II, chaired by Irene Freudenschuss (Austria), began the day by revisiting several unresolved issues in the human rights cluster. This Group resolved several of the bracketed phrases calling on governments to "consider" ratification of certain international agreements by altering the language to call on governments to "take urgent measures to ratify" those agreements. Delegates engaged in considerable debate on the response governments should take to the proposed optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, but postponed a decision to allow for further consultation. Delegates agreed in a number of places to replace references to [internally] displaced women with references to "refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection, and internally displaced women." This Group turned to the cluster of bracketed text addressing issues of diversity, including questions of groups of special concern, in the afternoon and was to continue deliberations during an evening session.

A special briefing was held for delegates on the issues of conference preparations and visas. Mrs. Gertrude Mongella noted that, during her June planning mission to Beijing, the host government had honored all aspects of its agreement with the United Nations. A number of measures are being taken to bridge the distance between the government and NGO sites. Facilities will be available for NGOs in a recreation center that is connected to the government meeting site. Closed-circuit television will be used between the NGO Forum and the government site. Finally, transportation arrangements include 6000 buses to provide service between the two meeting sites.

The Chinese Ambassador to the UN and representatives from the Chinese Consulate General and the Chinese Permanent Mission then discussed the visa question. They emphasized the large response to the conference and the measures that their country was taking to process visas. It was reported that a majority of the hotel confirmation letters have been sent out by the Chinese Organizing Committee. For those experiencing special difficulties, the following telephone and fax numbers were distributed:

Chinese Organizing Committee
No. 15 Jianguomen Street
Beijing 100730
PR China

(8610) 522-5363
(8610) 522-5364
(8610) 522-5365
(8610) 522-1133 x 3006

(8610) 522-5326
(8610) 522-5329
(8610) 238-5431
(8610) 238-4294

The opinions expressed in this briefing note are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from this briefing note may be used in other publications with appropriate citation. �