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Report of main proceedings for 3 June 2000

23rd Special Session of the UN General Assembly (Beijing+5)

On Saturday, 3 June, the PrepCom concluded informal consultations in preparation for the Beijing+5 Special Session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: Gender equality, development and peace for the 21st century."Working Group I discussed Section II in the morning. Working Group II discussed Section IV in morning, evening and late-night sessions. The contact group facilitated by Vice-Chair Patricia Flor met in the morning, afternoon and evening to discuss paragraphs on globalization.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF BEIJING+5

FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN: The FWCW was held in Beijing, China, from 4-15 September 1995. An estimated 50,000 government delegates, UN representatives, NGOs and members of the media attended the Conference and its parallel NGO Forum at Huairou. The principal themes of the Conference were the advancement and empowerment of women in relation to womens human rights, women and poverty, women and decision-making, the girl-child, violence against women and other areas of concern. At the end of the Conference, delegates adopted the Beijing Declaration and PFA. The PFA sets out an agenda for empowering women and accelerating implementation of the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies (NFLS), and aims to achieve significant change by the year 2000.

Beijing +5: In Resolution 52/100, the GA decided to convene a Special Session to review and appraise progress in implementing the NFLS and the Beijing PFA to take place five years after the FWCW, and to deliberate on further actions and initiatives. This review is not intended to renegotiate existing arrangements, but will assess successes, failures and obstacles to goals set at Nairobi and Beijing.

In Resolution 52/231, the GA designated the CSW to act as the PrepCom for the Special Session during its 43rd and 44th sessions in March 1999 and March 2000. The GA invited the Commission to propose the agenda and documentation for the Special Session and to focus in particular on the report requested from the Secretary-General that will contain suggestions on further actions and initiatives. The Committee was asked to pay particular attention to mainstreaming a gender perspective and identifying common trends and themes across the 12 critical areas of concern set out in the PFA.

CSW-44: The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held its 44th session at UN Headquarters in New York from 28 February to 17 March 2000. The CSW met in two sessions: in the first session (28 February-2 March), the Commission followed up on the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW), and in the second session (3-17 March), the Commission acted as the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for Beijing+5.

Delegates had before them the task of negotiating the proposed outcome document for the Special Session, which includes an introduction and three sections on: achievements and obstacles in the implementation of the 12 critical areas of the Platform for Action (PFA); current challenges affecting the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the PFA; and actions and initiatives to overcome obstacles and to achieve the full and accelerated implementation of the PFA. Delegates also discussed the draft provisional agenda and organizational matters (E/CN.6/2000/PC.8) and the list of speakers (E/ CN.6/2000/PC.9) for the Special Session.

After a slow start, delegates negotiated their way through a limited portion of the text during the last week of the PrepCom and only succeeded in lifting brackets from a few paragraphs in each section of the outcome document. As a result, the PrepCom held informal consultations on 8, 9, 11, 15, 16 May and 24 May - 3 June.

BEIJING+5 PREPCOM

WORKING GROUP I

SECTION II: ACHIEVEMENTS AND OBSTACLES

Violence: In revised paragraph 10, on achievements, delegates agreed on reference to wide acceptance that violence against women and girls, whether occurring in public or private life, is a human rights issue. On it being accepted that violence against women where perpetrated or condoned by the state or its agents constitutes a human rights violation, EGYPT, with IRAN, SYRIA and ALGERIA, but opposed by others, called for deletion of "where perpetrated or condoned by the state or its agents" and said the language is negative and vague. CARICOM, JUSCANZ and SLAC cited sources to indicate that this is agreed language. With no consensus, the sentence, and additional references continuing through text on improved legislation, politics and programmes, remain bracketed. Delegates agreed to a reference to successful cooperation between governments and NGOs.

In paragraph 11, on obstacles, delegates agreed to "comprehensive" rather than "multi-focused" programmes dealing with perpetrators, and accepted reference to programmes enabling them to solve problems without violence. In a JUSCANZ-proposed reference to forms of violence, ALGERIA requested clarification on negotiations related to this subject in Section IV, and a list of forms, including FGM and marital rape, remains bracketed. Delegates debated language on the absence of a multidisciplinary approach to responding to violence which includes, inter alia, the health system and the media. NIGERIA supported the text, while CUBA suggested reference to there "still" being an absence. SLAC, CARICOM, the PHILIPPINES and SADC agreed. KENYA preferred a formulation on this approach being limited; JUSCANZ and the EU agreed. IRAN, with SLAC, CUBA and NIGERIA, and opposed by SADC, specified "in some countries," while JUSCANZ supported "many countries." PAKISTAN called for insertion of "insufficient," and, supported by LIBYA and ALGERIA, suggested deleting the list including health systems and the media. SYRIA proposed including reference to foreign occupation. Brackets remain on the reference to many or some countries, and on the list.

WORKING GROUP II

SECTION IV: FURTHER ACTIONS AND INITIATIVES

National and International Actions: In the late-night session on Friday, 2 June, discussion included text under paragraphs 135 and 136. Sub-paragraph 135(f), on the Cologne initiative for the reduction of debt, was referred to the contact group on globalization. In 135(g), on lending windows, no consensus was reached on references to, inter alia, private financial institutions. Delegates agreed to delete 135(h), on policies for transparency and accountability relating to economic restructuring processes. Brackets remain on: 136(a), on creating a supportive environment for the mobilization of resources by womens organizations and other NGOs; 136(b), on creating multi-stakeholder partnerships; and 136(c), on partnerships among international organizations and other relevant actors of civil society, including the private sector.

On Saturday, 3 June, Vice-Chair Misako Kaji presented the results of contact group negotiations on sub-paragraphs 104(a), (b), (c), (d), new 131(a) (combined 131(a) and (b)) and new 131(b) (old 131(c)), on trafficking. She noted agreed language on all but 104(a), which remains bracketed, and asked delegates to accept the text for inclusion in the outcomes document. Delegates agreed to transmit bracketed language in 104(a), on addressing root causes of trafficking, pending further discussion, and agreed on 104(b), on a comprehensive anti-trafficking strategy, and 104(c), on prevention of prosecution of trafficking victims, as drafted.

In 104(d), on exchange of information and data, GHANA called for clarification of a reference to "considering setting up or strengthening" a national coordinating mechanism. SYRIA questioned reference to "civil society, including NGOs," stating that NGOs are encompassed in civil society and calling for deletion of reference to NGOs. Vice-Chair Kaji said that specific mention of NGOs was deemed necessary for emphasis. MOROCCO suggested replacing "including" with "especially." GHANA preferred to retain the original language. SYRIA agreed to accept the reference. Sub-paragraph 104(d) was agreed.

In 131(a), on intensifying international cooperation, inter alia, by supporting the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, NIGERIA, with PAKISTAN, called for clarification of language on cooperation between states of origin, transit and destination. JUSCANZ said that this language applied to all international and national actors, not only states of origin, transit and destination. PAKISTAN proposed, and the PHILIPPINES opposed, deletion of reference to "origin, transit and destination." PAKISTAN proposed, with support from ALGERIA and the PHILIPPINES, splitting the text into two sub-paragraphs, one on intensifying international cooperation between states of origin, transit, and destination to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children; and another on supporting the negotiations on the draft protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Delegates agreed to this proposal, and sub-paragraph 131(a) became new 131(a) and new 131(b), which were both agreed. Sub-paragraph 131(b), on strategies, legislation and policies to combat trafficking, was then renamed 131(c). The PHILIPPINES asked whether this sub-paragraph could be strengthened. Other delegates opposed, and the text was agreed as drafted.

The EU supported JUSCANZ-proposed 136(d), on promoting and encouraging substantive partnerships among governments and multilateral organizations, private sector institutions and NGOs to support poverty reduction initiatives focused on women and girls. Delegates deleted "substantive." The HOLY SEE preferred referring to civil society, including NGOs. LIBYA and ALGERIA, opposed by JUSCANZ, advocated relocating 136(d) under national actions. IRAN advocated specifying partnerships and cooperation. EGYPT and SYRIA preferred cooperation to partnership. SYRIA supported "encouraging" but not "promoting." LIBYA, supported by CHINA, proposed a reformulation to encourage multilateral organizations, IFIs and the private sector to support national poverty eradication efforts. In response, JUSCANZ withdrew 136(d) and, with SLAC, and opposed by LIBYA, EGYPT and SYRIA, opposed discussing reformulations of its text. The paragraph, with all proposals, is pending.

In 136(e), on supporting the intermediary role of NGOs in establishing linkages between financial institutions and disadvantaged women in rural and urban areas, ALGERIA, EGYPT, IRAN, LIBYA and PAKISTAN suggested placement under national actions. PAKISTAN suggested alternative text on encouraging financial institutions and support for disadvantaged women to establish small businesses for sustainable livelihoods. IRAN proposed additional text on the intermediary role of NGOs. NIGERIA suggested adding reference to community-based organizations. ST. KITTS AND NEVIS proposed deleting text on urban and rural areas. SLAC introduced an alternative SLAC/ EU/JUSCANZ text, integrating all amendments. EGYPT presented another formulation, integrating all amendments. The paragraph remains bracketed.

In 136(f), on supporting the critical role of womens NGOs in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the integration of a gender perspective in, inter alia, environmental programmes, MEXICO, supported by the EU, JUSCANZ and SLAC, introduced text on sustainable environmental and resource management mechanisms, programmes and infrastructure. PAKISTAN, supported by ALGERIA and EGYPT, suggested deleting reference to the implementation of Agenda 21. The paragraph remains bracketed.

In EU-proposed 136(g), delegates agreed to negotiate a SLAC redraft on promoting the gender-sensitive social responsibility of the private sector by, inter alia, information campaigns and codes of conduct. ALGERIA, CHINA, IRAN and LIBYA opposed reference to codes of conduct. The Chair suggested "voluntary" codes of conduct. Delegates agreed to delete the reference. The PHILIPPINES called for reference to advocacy campaigns. MAURITANIA suggested text on balancing family and work time. Some delegations proposed placement under national actions. The paragraph remains bracketed. Delegates agreed to delete 137(a), on recognizing the social significance of the family and the important role often played by women in caring for members of their family.

CONTACT GROUPS

The contact group facilitated by Vice-Chair Patricia Flor discussed paragraphs on globalization, including paragraph 29, and reportedly had reached little consensus by the evening session.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

PLENARY: The plenary will convene at 10:00 am in the General Assembly.

AD HOC COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The Ad Hoc Committee will meet at 11:00 am in Conference Room 2 for a general debate and to discuss organization of work.

WORKING GROUPS: Working Group II will meet in Conference Room 2 following the conclusion of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole, and at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Working Group I will meet in Conference Room 6 at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

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