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Informal Consultations of the 44th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (Beijing +5 PrepCom)
New York, May 2000







The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), acting as the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the special session of the General Assembly entitled Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the 21st century, also known as Beijing +5, resumed intersessionals on Wednesday, 24 May.


After welcoming delegations to the meeting, PrepCom Chair Christine Kapalata (Tanzania) outlined the paragraphs for discussion under a contact group and the informal-informal working group on trafficking, and described side events to take place during the Special Session. Some delegations expressed operational difficulties with parallel contact group and Working Group meetings. Participants agreed to prioritize specific paragraphs relating to the Beijing Conference Report, family, armed conflict, and health.


Working Group II discussed Section IV from 11am to 1pm, and from 7pm to 10pm. Working Group I discussed Section II from 3pm to 6pm. The following summary covers only text negotiated in the current sessions.




Economy : In paragraph 14, on achievements, PAKISTAN questioned language on compatibility with international labor conventions and measures that address women's economic and social rights. GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries, suggested, and delegates agreed, dividing the sentence to clarify the reference. In a reference to the positive effects of measures such as maternity, paternity, and parental leave, IRAN stated that inclusion of parental leave in the language was redundant, and suggested that either parental or paternity be included. ALGERIA noted that some countries do not have paternity leave. Delegates accepted text including all three terms. They agreed to move a reference to increased participation of women in the labor market to the beginning of the paragraph, and accepted references to the promotion of women's roles in entrepreneurship and to research on the barriers to economic empowerment faced by women.


In paragraph 15, on obstacles, delegates agreed the importance of a gender perspective in the development of macro-economic policy is still not widely recognized. They also agreed that many women still work in rural areas and the informal economy as subsistence producers, and in the service sector with low levels of income and little job and social security. On reference to women with comparable skills to men lagging behind men in income and career mobility in the formal sector, ALGERIA, LIBYA, CUBA, PAKISTAN and CHINA advocated a qualifier referring to women "in some countries." The HOLY SEE suggested a compromise formula referring to "many women." GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries, opposed the some countries qualifier and specified comparable skills "and experience." Delegates agreed to Guatemala's formulation, but "in some countries" and "many women" remain bracketed.  Supporting retention of the references to income and career mobility, GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries, opposed an EU reformulation referring to women being confronted with a gender wage gap. JUSCANZ, supported by the HOLY SEE and GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries, suggested stating women with comparable skills and experience are confronted with a gender wage gap and lag behind men in income and career mobility. Delegates agreed to this amended language. Regarding language stating that equal pay for women and men for equal work, or work of equal value, has not yet been realized, the Chair, after calls for qualifying language, suggested specifying not yet been fully realized in all countries. The EU agreed. SENEGAL  preferred "everywhere" to "in all countries." These alternatives and "fully" remain bracketed.




Actions to be taken at the international level: In 120(a), delegates accepted JUSCANZ language on assisting governments to build institutional capacity and develop or further implement national action plans for PFA implementation. ALGERIA specified assisting governments at their request and the paragraph was agreed. 


In 120(b), on assisting NGOs, especially women's organizations, to build their capacity to help monitor, advocate for and implement the PFA, GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries, advocated a reference to follow up instead of to monitoring. CHINA agreed. SOUTH AFRICA and the EU supported adding follow up but opposed deleting monitoring. A number of delegations, including ALGERIA and PAKISTAN, called for relocating the paragraph to national level actions. IRAN said monitoring instead of follow up was acceptable if the paragraph was relocated. CUBA also supported relocation but called for follow up instead of monitoring. The EU proposed relocation to actions at the national and international level. The paragraph remains bracketed.


In 120(b) bis, on strengthening or establishing national collaborative and regular reporting mechanisms to monitor progress on implementation of national polices, programmes and benchmarks for achieving a gender perspective, the EU added a reference to participation of NGOs, especially women's organizations, and substituted gender equality for gender perspective. The G-77/CHINA agreed, on the condition that the paragraph be relocated under national level actions. The paragraph was relocated and agreed.


In 120 (c), delegates agreed on referring to allocating sufficient resources to regional and national programmes to implement the PFA in its 12 critical areas.   


Delegates accepted a Russian Federation proposal for 120(d), on assisting governments in countries with economies in transition to, inter alia, develop plans for women's empowerment. In 120(e), on encouraging ECOSOC to request the regional commissions to establish a database listing UN programmes and projects, including a reference to evaluation of their impact on women's empowerment, the EU questioned whether this involved additional resources. A representative from the regional commissions clarified that it would. The G-77/CHINA, which had proposed the text, noted that the suggestion was consistent with 1997 ECOSOC agreed conclusions. The text remains bracketed.


The EU suggested placing Iraq's proposal for 120(e) bis, on alleviating the negative impact of the economic sanctions on civilian populations, to the section on national and international actions. The HOLY SEE supported the text, and agreed to the EU proposal. IRAN, CUBA and ALGERIA called for maintaining the current placement. IRAQ insisted the text and placement remain intact, and noted the entire world is asking that sanctions be lifted. The paragraph remains bracketed.


In JUSCANZ-proposed 121(a), on implementing and monitoring initiatives to mainstream a gender perspective into all policies and programmes of the UN system, GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries, suggested deleting references to participation of women, plans of action and UN reform, and inserting reference to relevant GA resolutions. ALGERIA, IRAN and CHINA called for deleting the sub-paragraph. The EU accepted Guatemala's proposal, except for deleting plans of action.  JUSCANZ requested maintaining participation of women, clarifying this did not specify NGOs, but women within the UN system. The PHILIPPINES and SOUTH AFRICA supported Guatemala, although the latter called for retaining the reference to UN reform. CUBA noted it did not favor plans of actions, and proposed deleting references to reform and to gender units and focal points. The EU noted the difficulties of implementing a debate on reform, and JUSCANZ agreed it could be deleted. SOUTH AFRICA again noted its preference for retaining the reference. IRAN objected to the reference to GA resolutions, as these are not all adopted by consensus. The Chair proposed language on monitoring the mandated work of the UN agencies.  Delegates reached no consensus, and the sub-paragraph remains bracketed.


Delegates agreed to 121(a) bis, on supporting national efforts, particularly in developing countries, for enlarged access to new information technology. The EU proposed, and the G-77/CHINA opposed, relocating the paragraph under national and international actions. Placement is pending. In JUSCANZ-proposed 121(b) (appearing as 122 (a) bis), on emphasizing the provision of training on gender mainstreaming and the human rights of women for UN personnel and officials, GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries, proposed reformulating the paragraph to ensure such personnel receive training with a gender perspective and including human rights of women. The EU preferred referring to gender mainstreaming. IRAN proposed including the right to development. PAKISTAN and LIBYA called for deletion of the paragraph. JUSCANZ amended Guatemala's language on personnel receiving training with a gender perspective to personnel receiving training in order to mainstream a gender perspective in their work. GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries, agreed. The JUSCANZ and Guatemala alternatives, as amended, remain bracketed.


In paragraph 121(d), on analysis of linkages between the PFA and relevant UN conferences, PAKISTAN, supported by ALGERIA, LIBYA, PAKISTAN and SUDAN, called for deletion. GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries and supported by the EU and CHINA, suggested text on disseminating widely a comprehensive analysis. The paragraph remains bracketed. GUATEMALA, supported by CHINA, CUBA, IRAN, LIBYA, NICARAGUA, PAKISTAN and SUDAN, called for deletion of paragraph 121(e), on reviewing the mandate of the CSW. The EU suggested text calling on the CSW to further develop its role and working methods within its mandate and monitoring and advancing implementation of the PFA. The paragraph was bracketed.


In paragraph 121(f), on development planning, GUATEMALA, on behalf of like-minded Latin American countries and supported by the HOLY SEE, suggested new text referring to gender mainstreaming. PAKISTAN proposed incorporating gender mainstreaming dimensions, while JUSCANZ recommended referring to a gender perspective as a key dimension of development. ALGERIA and NICARAGUA opposed reference to "key." PAKISTAN suggested using "important." The words "key" and "important" remain bracketed.



This briefing note was provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © [email protected]. It was written and edited by Tonya Barnes <[email protected]>, Richard Campbell <[email protected]>, Wendy Jackson <[email protected]>, and Gretchen Sidhu <[email protected]>. The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <[email protected]> and the Managing Editor is Langston James "Kimo" Goree <[email protected]>. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at <[email protected]> and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. 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 non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor.    

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