Report of main proceedings for 15 March 1995

39th Session of the CSW

The 39th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), meeting at UNHeadquarters in New York from 15 March to 4 April 1995, will serve as thepreparatory committee to negotiate the Platform for Action, the document to beadopted by the Fourth World Conference (FWCW) on Women in Beijing, inSeptember 1995. The draft Platform for Action, which will serve as the basis fornegotiations, was prepared by the FWCW Secretariat, with input from five regionalgroup meetings, four expert group meetings, consultations with UN agencies, andinformal, open-ended consultations in December 1994.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DRAFT PLATFORM FOR ACTION

In resolution 45/129, the UN General Assembly endorsed ECOSOC resolution1990/12, which called for a world conference on women to be held in 1995 andrequested that the CSW serve as the preparatory committee for the conference. Insection III of resolution 37/7, the CSW requested that the Secretary-General prepare adraft Platform for their 38th session. Following that meeting, the CSW requested, inresolution 38/10, that the Secretary-General further develop the draft Platform, takinginto account the results of regional group meetings.

REGIONAL GROUP MEETINGS

The regional group meetings were organized by the Economic Commission for Europe(ECE), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), theEconomic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ECAP), the Economic Commissionfor Africa (ECA), and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia(ESCWA). Each meeting adopted a regional platform, which identified specificproblems faced by women in that region.

EUROPE: The High-Level Regional Preparatory Meeting of the ECE washeld in Vienna from 17-21 October 1994. The critical areas of concern identified bythis region are: insufficient promotion and protection of women"s human rights;feminization of poverty; insufficient awareness of women"s contribution to theeconomy and promotion of their potential; insufficient de facto gender equality;insufficient participation of women in public life; insufficient statistical systems,databases and methodologies; and insufficient intra- and interregional networking andcooperation.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: The Sixth RegionalConference on the Integration of Women into the Economic and Social Developmentof Latin American and the Caribbean met in Argentina from 20-25 September 1994,where the region"s Platform for Action was discussed. The Platform was finalized at a16-18 November meeting in Chile. Participants discussed the strategic areas of: genderequity; economic and social development; elimination of poverty among women;women"s equitable participation in decision-making and in the exercise of power inpublic and private life; human rights, peace and violence; shared familyresponsibilities; recognition of cultural plurality; and international support andcooperation.

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC: The Second Asian and Pacific MinisterialConference on Women in Development was held at Jakarta from 7-14 June 1994. Thedelegates suggested actions to address the following critical areas: feminization ofpoverty; unequal participation in economic activities; inadequate recognition ofwomen"s role in environmental management; inequitable access to power and decision-making; violation of women"s human rights; health; access to education and literacy;negative portrayal of women in the media; mechanisms for promoting theadvancement of women; and women"s role in peace-keeping.

AFRICA: The Fifth African Regional Conference on Women was held atDakar from 16-23 November 1994. The conference suggested actions to be taken inthe following critical areas: women"s poverty, food security and economicempowerment; access to education, training, science and technology; women"s role inculture, family and socialization; women"s health; women in environmentalmanagement; women in the peace process; political empowerment; women"s legal andhuman rights; gender-disaggregated data; women, communication, information andarts; and the girl-child.

ARAB REGION: The Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting was held atAmman from 9-10 November 1994. Delegates suggested actions to be taken on thefollowing issues affecting Arab women: the right to participate in power and decisionmaking structures; alleviation of poverty; equal opportunity in education; equal accessto health services; strengthening capabilities of Arab women to enter the labour marketand achieve self-reliance; the impact of war, occupation and armed conflict on women;violence against women; environmental management; and the use of communicationsto change roles in society and achieve equality.

EXPERT GROUP MEETINGS

The Expert Group meetings focused on the subjects of: gender, education and training;women and economic decision-making; institutional and financial arrangements for theimplementation of the FWCW"s Platform for Action; and gender and the agenda forpeace. The experts recommended specific actions to address the issues underdiscussion.

GENDER, EDUCATION AND TRAINING: The Expert Group meeting onthe promotion of literacy, education and training, including technological skills, tookplace at the ILO International Training Center in Turin, Italy from 10-14 October1994. The report stressed: access to education as a human right; the need forinterventionist approaches; science and technology; the special needs of refugees andothers in exploitative circumstances; and resource implications flowing from structuraladjustment.

EQUALITY IN ECONOMIC DECISION-MAKING: The Expert Groupmeeting on women and economic decision-making met in New York from 7-11November 1994. The Group examined the challenge of increasing and improving thepresence of women in economic decision-making and the market. The areas of action proposed were: affirmative placement and retention of women; greater access tofinance, markets and technology; linkages between formal financial institutions andNGOs; highlighting the market potential of women in certain sectors; and traininginitiatives. Finally, the Group made a number of recommendations to increase thevisibility of economic opportunities for women.

INSTITUTIONAL AND FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR THEIMPLEMENTATION OF THE FWCW"s PLATFORM FOR ACTION: TheExpert Group convened to consider institutional and financial arrangements met inNew York from 21-23 November 1994. The Group considered principles andguidelines for implementation and monitoring of the Platform, and examined the rolesof relevant actors at all levels. The principles identified by the Group for effectivearrangements for implementation are: clear mandates; transparency; consistent flow ofinformation; and transparent monitoring and reporting on progress. Nationalgovernments are expected to be catalysts for implementation. The Group drew uponthe language and ideas of the ICPD Action Programme and stressed the need forspecific funding arrangements. The Group proposed that governments establish andfund effective core programmes for women"s empowerment, and anticipated that asmuch as two-thirds of implementation costs will come from member states.

GENDER AND THE AGENDA FOR PEACE: The Expert Group meetingon peace and women in international decision-making took place in New York from 5-9 December 1994. This Group"s report is predicated on the argument that equalparticipation by women will "make a qualitative difference, in terms of content andstyle, to the benefit of society and the achievement of peace." Recommendations forincreasing female participation in peace and security fora include: inclusion of womenin all candidate lists; a 40% target for women"s involvement in UN peace operations;UN registration of arms production; education on links between violent play and theculture of violence; designating rape during the conduct of war as a war crime; andgender sensitive training for personnel in peace and security operations.

THE DRAFT PLATFORM FOR ACTION

The draft Platform for Action consists of six parts: the mission statement; the globalframework; critical areas of concern; strategic objectives and actions; institutionalarrangements; and financial arrangements.

MISSION STATEMENT: This section notes that the Platform for Actionstresses partnership between men and women as the basis for achieving equality,development and peace, and aims for women"s full participation in all spheres of life.It also notes that the Platform"s success requires commitment to and adequateresources for implementation of the agreements made.

GLOBAL FRAMEWORK: This section notes that much has happened inthe world since the Nairobi Conference. Development has suffered setbacks and newstrategies promoting peace and equality are needed. Conflicts around the world haveleft women predominant among refugees. Governments are called on to reformulatelegal, political, economic, and social structures to include women in decision-makingat all levels.

This section also identifies the problems and required actions related to: poverty;population growth; equitable sharing of family responsibilities; the communicationsexplosion; environmental degradation; and rural to urban migration.

CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN: The Platform for Action identifiesthe following areas of critical concern: women in poverty; unequal access to andinadequate education and health care; violence against women; effects of conflict onwomen; power-sharing and decision-making; mechanisms to promote the advancementof women; women"s human rights; mass media; and women"s management of naturalresources and the environment.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES & RECOMMENDATIONS: This sectiondescribes the critical areas of concern in greater detail, and lists recommendations forgovernment action on:

  • Poverty: adopt policies that address the needs of women; revise laws and practices that limit women"s access to economic resources; provide access to credit and savings; and conduct research enabling women to overcome poverty.
  • Education: ensure equal access to education, vocational training, science, technology and continuing education; eradicate illiteracy among women; develop non-discriminatory education and training; and allocate sufficient resources for educational reforms.
  • Health: achieve universal access to health care; strengthen preventative programs; address the HIV pandemic; promote research and information dissemination on women"s health; and increase resources for women"s health.
  • Violence: take measures to eradicate violence against women and study its causes; adopt measures to eliminate trafficking in women; and assist female victims of violence.
  • Effects of conflict on women: increase women"s participation in decision-making and conflict resolution; reduce the availability of instruments of violence; promote non-violent conflict resolution; foster a culture of peace; and provide assistance and training to refugee and displaced women.
  • Participation in definition of economic policy: secure economic rights for women; facilitate women"s access to resources, employment, markets, information, technology and trade; provide business services to low-income women; strengthen women"s commercial networks; eliminate occupational segregation and wage inequality; and create a flexible work environment.
  • Inequality in decision-making and power-sharing: ensure equal access to and full participation in power structures, decision-making, and leadership.
  • Mechanisms to promote the advancement of women: integrate women"s concerns in all public policies; and generate and disseminate gender disaggregated data and information.
  • Women"s human rights: implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and other human rights instruments; ensure equality under the law; and achieve literacy.
  • Mass media: increase and enhance women"s access to expression and decision-making in and through the mass media; and promote a positive portrayal of women in the mass media.
  • Management of natural resources and environment: involve women in environmental decision-making; integrate women"s concerns in policies for environmental and sustainable development; and assess the impact of these policies on women.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: This section notes that links at alllevels between governments, NGOs and other groups, including those in the privatesector, are crucial for implementation. Effective implementation will also requirechanges in values, behavior, procedures, the dynamics of power, and the organizationalculture. The text notes that institutions must have the authority and resourcesnecessary for successful implementation, and identifies national, regional andinternational level actions to be taken.

FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS: This section states that nations andinstitutions must make a serious commitment to allocating sufficient human andfinancial resources to implement the Platform. Specific actions at national, regionaland international levels are outlined.

CSW HIGHLIGHTS: : WEDNESDAY, 15 MARCH 1995

The 39th session of the Commission on the Status of Women was called to order byMs. Patricia Licuanan (Philippines), Chair of the Commission. She stated that thegoals of Nairobi remain valid but, for the most part, unattained. She noted that theconference title, "Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality,Development and Peace," indicates the need for concerted action.

Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Development, Nitin Desai, thenspoke and noted that this session is where the basic outcome of the BeijingConference will be shaped. He urged delegates to place the Conference in the contextof the other recent UN conferences. All of the UN conferences, beginning with the1990 World Conference for Children, are part of the process of searching for a role forpublic policy in a rapidly changing world and of defining the responsibility ofgovernment for the social good.

Mrs. Gertrude Mongella, Secretary-General of the Fourth World Conference onWomen, noted the productive work of the regional groups and highlighted theSecretariat"s innovative process of involving youth in these meetings. She noted thatthe draft Platform for Action sets forth more than 200 actions, and stressed theimportance of the institutional and financial arrangements contained in the text. Shealso stated that NGOs are an essential, democratizing element in this process.

The Chair turned to the Provisional Agenda (E/CN.6/1995/1). The officers of theCommission will not change, with the exception of the C“te d"Ivoire, who is no longeron the Commission. Namibia was elected to the vacant Rapporteur post.

Delegates then turned to NGO accreditation. The EU, supported by several otherdelegations, called for a transparent, open NGO accreditation process, and proposedthat the list of NGOs to be accredited be left open until the end of the CSW session.In response to delegates" concern over the accreditation process, the Secretary-Generalreported that over the past fifteen months applications for accreditation from over 140countries had been carefully reviewed, standard UN review procedures had beenapplied, and every effort had been made to publicize deadlines. A total of 1700applications had been considered, including 300 ECOSOC-accredited organizations.Armenia questioned the accreditation of the Armenian Relief Society, Inc. The HolySee challenged the accreditation of "Catholics for Free Choice," objecting to the use ofthe word "Catholic" in its title while espousing positions opposed to the CatholicChurch, including its position on abortion. Delegates adopted the list of NGOs adreferendum, pending examination of the questioned NGOs and leaving the list openuntil the end of the CSW.

Mongella introduced Agenda Item 3, Preparations for the Fourth World Conference onWomen, by noting that the Commission"s decisions will shape the conduct of theconference in Beijing. The remainder of 15 March, all of 16 March and the morningof 17 March were then devoted to statements about preparations for the BeijingConference.

Dame Nita Barrow, Governor-General of Barbados and convener of the NGO Forumin Nairobi (1985), urged NGOs to use their arrival in the citadels of decision-makingwith thoughtfulness and a spirit of co-operation, in tribute to the tenacity of thewomen who had struggled to bring them out of the "wilderness." She described thepreparations for Beijing as one of the greatest mobilizations around women"s issues.

SPAIN stated that women suffer from a democratic deficit and compared theissue of the equitable distribution of power to the women"s struggle to get the vote.She noted efforts by her country to prepare for the Beijing Conference.NAMIBIA called for a short, concise Platform for Action that examines theroots of the problems faced by women, and identified the girl-child problem as theroot of youths" and women"s problems. She proposed the examination of a mechanismto implement the Platform, and noted Namibia"s efforts to develop a national programto implement the documents. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC pointed out:obstacles to the goals of peace, equality and development; the need for women in highpositions of responsibility; and the need for women in fields that are traditionallymale. Present institutions are insufficient, and more support is needed for agencies thatsupport the advancement of women, especially those that conduct research, such asINSTRAW. Change is necessary to involve women and men in social, economic,political and development structures.

UNIFEM looks for four achievements to come out of Beijing: a new visionof development founded on realities and built on women"s rights; adequate resources toimplement the new vision; a basis of solidarity for the international women"smovement; and new partnerships between civil society and governments. She alsostressed the need to empower women, especially in the areas of social and economicchange, to influence decision making at all levels. HONDURAS warnedagainst creating a world of individuals, and said that the family should be the target ofdelegates" efforts. She also underscored the importance of education.AUSTRALIA proposed a "Conference of Commitments," in which allparticipating governments would identify their priority goals to improve the status ofwomen in their country. The commitments could be reinforced or updatedcommitments that were previously made, and they should be recorded in an annex tothe Beijing agreement.

The OAU focused on the need to include African women in developmentand to empower African women socially, politically and economically. Recenteconomic and social crises on the continent have affected women greatly, and theymust participate in conflict prevention and resolution. Traditional restrictive roles andlack of access to education must be changed in order for women to gain equality in allareas. TUNISIA stressed that women"s status is linked to economic, politicaland social stability, and when instability exists, fanaticism and extremism threatentheir rights. The UN should create a preventative approach to international problems,including migration, environmental dangers, extremism, food security, and health, andspecial attention should be paid to violence against women, especially in war.

TANZANIA suggested that the critical area of violence in the Platformshould be combined with the critical area of human rights, since violence againstwomen represents a lack of respect for their rights. Attention was also drawn to thefact that culture is often used to justify practices that discriminate against women.BOTSWANA discussed national projects to enhance women"s participation,noted national efforts to ensure access to education and basic health care, and stressedthe importance of the girl-child issue for the Platform for Action. The SPECIALADVISOR TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL ON PUBLIC POLICY tolddelegates that one of the three female signers of the UN Charter recently told her thatshe now hears the same words that she heard 50 years ago, but has seen little actionon those words. The Special Advisor noted her efforts to inform the media and thepublic about UN activities, including the Beijing Conference.

The ECONOMIC COMMISSION OF EUROPE reported on the ECE-sponsored regional meeting. An NGO forum met prior to the meeting and producedtwo documents that contributed to the outcome of the ECE meeting. The regionalparticipants identified seven critical areas of concern, including recognition of women"scontribution to the economy and full participation of women in public life. Genderstatistics and research methodologies were stressed by this region, as was regionalmonitoring. The ECE will hold a meeting with international organizations in theregion, following Beijing, to develop an implementation strategy.

The ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THECARIBBEAN reported that delegates at the ECLAC-sponsored regional meetingcalled for better links between women and jobs and for better training. They noted thathousework should be compatible with paid work, and that all family members shouldshare in the housework. Education was stressed as a method to eliminatediscrimination. The meeting noted the gap between women"s de jure and de factorights, and that although women in the region are active, especially in human rightsorganizations, this is not reflected in decision-making levels and politicalorganizations. The ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIAAND THE PACIFIC-sponsored meeting noted that, although growth in theregion has been significant and women"s employment has increased, most women havelow wage, low skill jobs in the informal sector, leaving more women affected bypoverty. The meeting stressed the need to empower women, improve women"s legalstatus, involve women in decision making, and reduce the portrayal of violence againstwomen to close the gap between women"s de jure and de facto rights. Critical areasidentified by this meeting include the feminization of poverty, elderly women, womenmigrant workers, health, education, power in decision making, the media, mechanismsfor the advancement of women, and women"s role in peace building.

The ECONOMIC COMMISSION OF AFRICA, reporting on the fifthAfrican regional conference, said the focus had been a review and appraisal of theNairobi strategies. The meeting examined the achievements and shortfalls since 1985in the integration of African women into the processes of economic and politicalrenewal for sustainable development. In an opening declaration, government ministersfrom the 50 member states present noted the obstacles created for the post-Nairobiagenda by the series of crises that beset most African countries in the 1990s. Theregional conference noted the responsibility of development partners in helping withimplementation.

The ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR WESTERN ASIArepresentative underlined her regional conference"s commitment to a Platform forAction consistent with the region"s culture and values. The ESCWA"s Platform forAction stresses the need for governments to accelerate the provision of legal rights forwomen and to facilitate their participation in decision-making. Two critical areas ofconcern are the eradication of the causes and effects of poverty and women"sparticipation in conflict resolution and prevention measures. The Platform also callsfor a central mechanism to facilitate NGO capacity building at the highest levels.

CSW HIGHLIGHTS: : THURSDAY, 16 MARCH 1995

The Chair opened the second day of the CSW and announced the Bureau"s decision toform a working group to examine the questions raised Wednesday regarding NGOaccreditation. Each regional group will have two members on the committee.

The floor was then opened again for statements under Agenda Item 3, Preparatoryactivities for the Fourth World Conference on Women. The UK announcedthat the final report of the Gender Working Group of the UN Commission on Scienceand Technology would be made available to the CSW. The report concludes that:women and girls are under-represented in scientific and technical education andcareers; rural development programmes have failed to target the needs of women; andthe specific needs of both women and men need to be taken into account in researchand development of new technology. PAKISTAN noted that new measuresto empower women challenge patriarchal, social and economic structures. The delegatealso stated that state sponsored violence in Bosnia and Kashmir has specificallytargeted women and that rape has been used as a weapon of war to punish andhumiliate entire communities.

The EU called for a new partnership between men and women and a for achange in social organization to include women in decision-making processes. Shestressed that the draft Platform for Action should concentrate on those issues that werepriorities at the regional conferences. DENMARK stated that women are thekey to social change and called for the Beijing Platform to use language alreadyagreed upon in previous conferences. She stressed the need for eliminating violenceagainst women and ensuring health rights. SWITZERLAND stressed theseriousness of violence against women, and the need to include women in decision-making processes, to give them more influence over decisions about conflict, whichoften leads to the violation of women"s human rights.

NEW ZEALAND described the role of Maori women in leading arenaissance of their indigenous culture. She expressed disappointment in the UN"sfailure to realize the fundamental principle of equality of men and women in its ownstructures. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA noted that equal rights for womenand sustainable development could not be realized without resource commitments frommember states. The costs of implementing the Platform and mobilizing resources mustbe considered. Korea is currently constructing a center for women"s NGOs to use inthe follow up to the Beijing Conference. BANGLADESH noted that thecountry"s constitution contains measures for affirmative action and that the nationalplan on women includes measures on access to health and education, and participationin the productive sector and national planning.

MEXICO stated that national preparatory efforts in his country havetriggered interaction between women"s groups, and that his government has renewed itscommitment to strengthen its program on women. He noted that: the poverty chapterdoes not mention measures needed to address structural aspects of the problem; thechapter on environment should add causes other than poverty for environmentaldeterioration; and the institutional section should call for strengthening existing bodiesand coordination. JAPAN called for the mission statement to reaffirm thebasis for the Platform for Action and reaffirmed her nation"s commitment to strengthenassistance for women in development. LATVIA described national efforts toidentify the condition of Latvian women, stressed the need for a change of philosophytowards abandoned children, and noted the impact of a lack of family planninginformation.

The RUSSIAN FEDERATION described the activities of women"sorganizations in her nation, and noted successes that the organizations have had ininfluencing state policy with regard to women. She supported an information center forNGOs. The G-77/CHINA suggested a separate section in the Platform forthe girl-child. She stressed the link between violence and poverty, and the need forresources to implement programs to eliminate both of these at national andinternational levels. She also noted that education is the key to empowering women.The BAHAMAS supported the fund for undeveloped countries to attendconferences and Australia"s "Conference of Commitments" proposal. She called onregional commissions to participate in the follow-up to Beijing.

INDIA noted that economic independence is a key liberating factor and thatthe media has a critical role in the portrayal of women. He stressed that the girl-childshould receive particular attention in all sections of the document and called forpartnerships between governments and NGOs. A representative of the UN HIGHCOMMISSIONER ON REFUGEES described the UNHCR"s efforts during theregional meetings to include the needs of refugee women in their Platforms. Heencouraged delegates to retain the references to refugee and displaced women, andnoted that all regions recognized that peace is a prerequisite for equality.

The OECD noted that donor countries recognize their specific obligations.The OECD nations stressed several issues regarding implementation, includingstrategic gender analysis and planning, transparency of implementing agencies, andadequate institutional capacity. The CONVENER OF THE NGO FORUM"95 stated that the political will of women had forced governments to take noteand create the CSW. She hoped that the Fourth World Conference would be anopportunity to recall and celebrate women"s accomplishments, notably the linkagesforged with other issues, including the environment, population, and economic andsocial development.

The INTERNATIONAL WORKING GROUP ON WOMEN ANDSPORTS hoped to see women and sport on the agenda at internationalconferences such as Beijing, noting that inequality in sport is part of the wider issuesfacing women. SOUTH AFRICA stated that her government recognizes theneed to establish programs and institutions to promote the advancement of women,especially in the areas of education, poverty, health, violence and empowerment. ACommission for Gender Equality has been established to advise on laws affectinggender and the status of women. AFGHANISTAN appealed for UN supportfor its post-war development strategies. She stated that resources were insufficient toidentify the full scope of problems faced by Afghan women. National rehabilitationprogrammes will require UN support and international financial and technicalassistance.

ECUADOR noted the Platform"s emphasis on the impact of violence onwomen"s lives. She stated that a lack of political commitment and financial adjustmentprogrammes had denied the women of Ecuador benefits from the Nairobi conference.The HOLY SEE supported the call for a special section in the Platform onthe plight of the girl-child. He recalled Pope John Paul II"s message on the role ofwomen in creating a culture of peace, and welcomed women"s growing participation ineconomic and political life. C"TE D"IVOIRE focused on the economic andpolitical situations that have made it difficult for African nations to implementadvancements for women. He noted that his country ratified all conventions relating towomen in 1995, and he emphasized the priority of education and training of girls andwomen.

EGYPT noted that there is a great gap between women"s de jure andde facto rights, and suggested that social practices be changed. She also saidparticular attention should be paid to women in poverty in Africa, to rural women indeveloping countries, and to empowerment. AZERBAIJAN focused on thenegative effect of armed conflict on women and agreed that peace was a prerequisitefor development. She noted that a drop in general resources has made it difficult toimplement programmes for the advancement of women. She also proposed a seminaron women and children in the Armenian conflict. CHILE discussed severalnational actions, including an interministerial committee, to prepare for Beijing. Shecalled for the participation of men to promote shared responsibility, and supported the"Conference of Commitments" proposal.

ISRAEL identified a need for tools to follow-up the commitments to bemade in Beijing. She noted national activities in preparation for Beijing, includingbringing together women in Israel to identify their agenda, and urged the inclusion ofwomen in all aspects of peacemaking. The PHILIPPINES stressed theimportance of the chapters on institutional and financial arrangements. She also calledattention to the emerging feminization of migration. CUBA noted that hernation provides an example of how equality can transform the status of women. Shealso reported on the social situation in Cuba.

INDONESIA said the fiftieth year of the UN offers a unique opportunityfor an assessment of the programme prepared for the International Decade for Womenand subsequent related UN initiatives on poverty, development, the environment andhuman rights. The delegate also supported calls for appropriate financial and humanresources and institutional arrangements to implement the draft Platform for Action.MALTA outlined its comprehensive measures to prevent discriminationagainst women and provide redress, noting that an EU report stated that Malta"s recordin some areas surpassed that of the Union. GHANA said global recessionand unfair global trading practices have deepened the gap between North and Southand exacerbated the poverty trap affecting increasing numbers of women. She stressedthe needs of girl-children and called for governments to target resources. She notedthat the UN had failed to do justice to the objectives regarding women"s access topolitical power.

CHINA outlined plans to accommodate the Fourth World Conference onWomen. She identified a number of priorities for the draft Platform for Action:eradication of poverty; adoption of targets to advance the status of women; adoption ofrealizable, country-specific targets; and implementation and resources.KENYA noted that poverty, structural adjustment programmes and debtservicing had acted as major constraints on government programmes for theadvancement of women. A national coordinating committee had agreed on threemeasures with the government: a review of the school curriculum to challenge femalestereotyping; a programme to encourage girls to complete schooling; and legislation toeliminate discrimination. A proposal for legislation to allow women to co-own land isalso being considered. NEPAL supported: opportunities for women toparticipate in decision-making and in international negotiations; equal legal access forwomen to property, land, and education; and training for the girl-child.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA, on behalf of the Pacific Islands, agreed with theemerging consensus that women are marginalized in traditional cultures. Pacific peopleare concerned about retaining the strengths of their cultures as they integrate into theglobal culture, and stress the unique difficulties that development poses in small islandnations. Papua New Guinea added that the position of women will change only ifinfrastructure changes.

At the end of the day, the Chair and Mrs. Mongella relayed the CSW"s concern aboutthe imminent execution in Singapore of the Filipino woman, Flor Contemplacion, tothe Secretary-General, requesting his intervention for a stay of execution.

Pakistan exercised its right of reply in response to a statement made earlier by India,and denied the allegations of rape. India countered by citing Amnesty Internationalreports of violations carried out by Pakistan authorities. Pakistan conceded certainallegations, but stressed that the alleged incidents in Kashmir had the backing of theIndian Government. India accused Pakistan of wasting the CSW"s time.

CSW HIGHLIGHTS: : FRIDAY, 17 MARCH 1995

The Chair opened the morning session with a minute of silence for FlorContemplacion. The Plenary then continued with discussion of Agenda Item 3,Preparatory activities for the Beijing Conference.

ALGERIA stressed the negative effects of religious fundamentalism onwomen, and noted that economic problems exacerbate all other problems in society.Women"s problems have been compounded by debt restructuring programs.UNICEF noted the need for: equality at all levels and in all spheres ofsociety; empowerment; gender analyses; and time bound goals. She expressed concernabout the increase of violent backlash against women and urged ratification of theConvention to Eliminate All Forms of Violence Against Women and the Conventionon the Rights of the Child. PANAMA said men no longer consider womenas an enigma as they prepare to take a place in a new order alongside men ineconomic and political spheres. Priority issues include literacy and access to scientificand technological education and training.

CYPRUS called for a new emphasis on practice over theory, and stated thatwomen have lost patience with persistent inequalities. The Beijing Conference shouldlook critically at past achievements and should be one of commitments. Arepresentative of THE FEDERATION OF INTERNATIONAL CIVILSERVANTS ASSOCIATION noted the UN"s failure to meet most of its targetsto promote women. Action programmes and the underlying organizational system hadproven ineffective. He called attention to the FICSA"s recommendations for progress,and suggested that they be included in the Platform. MALAYSIA called onthe CSW to review its achievements and modus operandi, and to improve itsmembership, representation and capacity for action. The Platform should include theobjective of reducing poverty by 50% over the next decade.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA said the majority of the casualties of itsthree-year conflict have been women and children. As refugees and victims ofsystematic sex war crimes, women have been stripped of their right to development.She called on the CSW to recognize that rape conducted during war is a systematicstrategy that should be regarded alongside the crime of genocide. The USsaid that social, economic and legal barriers impede women"s progress and suggestedthat governments implement programs to educate women about their legal and humanrights. She stressed partnership in decision-making at all levels. SAMOAinformed delegates of national activities for the advancement of women, including theestablishment of the Ministry of Women"s Affairs and a national plan of action. Shestressed the importance of issues regarding the family, the environment, violenceagainst women and adequate resources.

CAMBODIA stated that his nation had set up information centers to helpwomen participate in the development process. He noted that women are the drivingforce for development and a prerequisite for national conciliation. He also proposed afund for women"s higher education. ITALY noted that increased numbers offemale judges will improve the achievement of women"s human rights, and shesuggested that the Platform reflect the decisions of the ILO regarding women"s work.The UNITED ARAB EMIRATES stressed the issues of family andchildren, and noted national commitments and objectives, such as support for childcare and the family.

SWEDEN highlighted its achievement of gender equality in government andnoted that the main obstacles to equality for women lie in the structure of society. Shenoted a number of reservations on the draft Platform for Action. BRAZILsaid that violence, poverty and economic independence are linked, and noted that thejudicial system in Brazil and many other nations is insufficient to ensure women"slegal rights. CANADA stated the need to recognize the diversity of women,noted that economic restructuring policies should reflect women"s needs andcontributions, and said that governments should consider women"s programs anecessary investment. She also reaffirmed that women"s rights are an integral part ofhuman rights, and that education, power sharing and partnership are priorities.

The CONGO said that, through the Beijing Conference, nations shouldfirmly commit to the reduction of poverty, a priority of her government and region.Multilateral financial organizations should be asked to relieve debt burdens andprovide technical support. IRAN said a number of offices have been createdin her government to oversee the advancement of women, and increased numbers ofwomen have entered parliament. She stressed the moral and cultural dimensions of theposition of women. MOZAMBIQUE noted that her country had been at warduring the Nairobi conference, and that women and children have been most seriouslyaffected by the war. She called on the international community, NGOs, and the privatesector to support efforts to advance women in Mozambique. NIGER referredto the linkage between social progress and peace, and noted the financial handicapsexperienced by her country. Institutional and resource improvements are required forthe Beijing Platform, along with provisions for refugees, handicapped women andthose affected by natural disasters.

SWAZILAND noted many of the problems that women in her country face,and discussed a number of national programmes to improve the status of women.Examples include the establishment of a multisectoral national steering committee onwomen"s affairs, the drafting of a national policy on women, and the creation of NGOsto educate women about their rights. NIGERIA proposed free medical carefor children under five. He also noted a number of national programmes that supportwomen, including a programme to help rural women and a family support programme.HAITI outlined a number of priority issues, including: mechanisms to assistvictims of rape; the fight against poverty; and access to health care, includingreproductive health care.

The representative of the AD HOC INTERAGENCY MEETING ONWOMEN described the work of the UN inter-agency group, and stated that UNagencies have a role to play in implementation. The representative fromITC/UNCTAD/GATT stated that the external trade sector can be a vehiclefor promoting equity, particularly through entrepreneurship. She noted the need forforward and backward linkages between demand and factors of production.

PLENARY

The Chair opened the morning session with a minute of silence for FlorContemplacion. The Plenary then continued with discussion of Agenda Item 3,Preparatory activities for the Beijing Conference.

ALGERIA stressed the negative effects of religious fundamentalism onwomen, and noted that economic problems exacerbate all other problems in society.Women"s problems have been compounded by debt restructuring programs.UNICEF noted the need for: equality at all levels and in all spheres ofsociety; empowerment; gender analyses; and time bound goals. She expressed concernabout the increase of violent backlash against women and urged ratification of theConvention to Eliminate All Forms of Violence Against Women and the Conventionon the Rights of the Child. PANAMA said men no longer consider womenas an enigma as they prepare to take a place in a new order alongside men ineconomic and political spheres. Priority issues include literacy and access to scientificand technological education and training.

CYPRUS called for a new emphasis on practice over theory, and stated thatwomen have lost patience with persistent inequalities. The Beijing Conference shouldlook critically at past achievements and should be one of commitments. Arepresentative of THE FEDERATION OF INTERNATIONAL CIVILSERVANTS ASSOCIATION noted the UN"s failure to meet most of its targetsto promote women. Action programmes and the underlying organizational system hadproven ineffective. He called attention to the FICSA"s recommendations for progress,and suggested that they be included in the Platform. MALAYSIA called onthe CSW to review its achievements and modus operandi, and to improve itsmembership, representation and capacity for action. The Platform should include theobjective of reducing poverty by 50% over the next decade.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA said the majority of the casualties of itsthree-year conflict have been women and children. As refugees and victims ofsystematic sex war crimes, women have been stripped of their right to development.She called on the CSW to recognize that rape conducted during war is a systematicstrategy that should be regarded alongside the crime of genocide. The USsaid that social, economic and legal barriers impede women"s progress and suggestedthat governments implement programs to educate women about their legal and humanrights. She stressed partnership in decision-making at all levels. SAMOAinformed delegates of national activities for the advancement of women, including theestablishment of the Ministry of Women"s Affairs and a national plan of action. Shestressed the importance of issues regarding the family, the environment, violenceagainst women and adequate resources.

CAMBODIA stated that his nation had set up information centers to helpwomen participate in the development process. He noted that women are the drivingforce for development and a prerequisite for national conciliation. He also proposed afund for women"s higher education. ITALY noted that increased numbers offemale judges will improve the achievement of women"s human rights, and shesuggested that the Platform reflect the decisions of the ILO regarding women"s work.The UNITED ARAB EMIRATES stressed the issues of family andchildren, and noted national commitments and objectives, such as support for childcare and the family.

SWEDEN highlighted its achievement of gender equality in government andnoted that the main obstacles to equality for women lie in the structure of society. Shenoted a number of reservations on the draft Platform for Action. BRAZILsaid that violence, poverty and economic independence are linked, and noted that thejudicial system in Brazil and many other nations is insufficient to ensure women"slegal rights. CANADA stated the need to recognize the diversity of women,noted that economic restructuring policies should reflect women"s needs andcontributions, and said that governments should consider women"s programs anecessary investment. She also reaffirmed that women"s rights are an integral part ofhuman rights, and that education, power sharing and partnership are priorities.

The CONGO said that, through the Beijing Conference, nations shouldfirmly commit to the reduction of poverty, a priority of her government and region.Multilateral financial organizations should be asked to relieve debt burdens andprovide technical support. IRAN said a number of offices have been createdin her government to oversee the advancement of women, and increased numbers ofwomen have entered parliament. She stressed the moral and cultural dimensions of theposition of women. MOZAMBIQUE noted that her country had been at warduring the Nairobi conference, and that women and children have been most seriouslyaffected by the war. She called on the international community, NGOs, and the privatesector to support efforts to advance women in Mozambique. NIGER referredto the linkage between social progress and peace, and noted the financial handicapsexperienced by her country. Institutional and resource improvements are required forthe Beijing Platform, along with provisions for refugees, handicapped women andthose affected by natural disasters.

SWAZILAND noted many of the problems that women in her country face,and discussed a number of national programmes to improve the status of women.Examples include the establishment of a multisectoral national steering committee onwomen"s affairs, the drafting of a national policy on women, and the creation of NGOsto educate women about their rights. NIGERIA proposed free medical carefor children under five. He also noted a number of national programmes that supportwomen, including a programme to help rural women and a family support programme.HAITI outlined a number of priority issues, including: mechanisms to assistvictims of rape; the fight against poverty; and access to health care, includingreproductive health care.

The representative of the AD HOC INTERAGENCY MEETING ONWOMEN described the work of the UN inter-agency group, and stated that UNagencies have a role to play in implementation. The representative fromITC/UNCTAD/GATT stated that the external trade sector can be a vehiclefor promoting equity, particularly through entrepreneurship. She noted the need forforward and backward linkages between demand and factors of production.

DRAFTING GROUP

The Drafting Group held its first meeting on Friday afternoon, chaired by Ms. IreneFreudenschuss (Austria), to discuss its programme of work. The Drafting group isscheduled to conduct two readings of the draft Platform for Action. Work will beconducted on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis. When consensus is not possible duringthe first reading, the disputed text will be bracketed and deferred for considerationduring the second reading. No agreed text or new amendments will be considered afterthe first reading. The Group will begin with Chapter III (Critical Areas of Concern),and proceed to Chapters IV (Strategic Objectives and Actions), V (InstitutionalArrangements), and VI (Financial Arrangements). After the Plenary completes its workon Tuesday, 21 March, a sub-group of the Drafting Group will begin consideration ona proposed Declaration and Chapters I (Mission Statement) and II (GlobalFramework). The Chair requested that delegates provide written copies of amendmentsfor other delegates.

IN THE CORRIDORS

Many delegates and NGO representatives have expressed concern about the NGOaccreditation process, and about the decisions that have resulted from that process. Itappears as though entire categories of NGOs, such as those who are Taiwanese orTibetan, as well as certain organizations, such as Catholics for Free Choice, have beenor may be denied accreditation. The EU and US delegations have stated they know ofnumerous cases that should be reassessed. The Bureau has formed a closed workinggroup to evaluate the situation.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: The Plenary is expected to have a morning and afternoonsession today to continue discussion on agenda items pertaining to the work of theCSW.

DRAFTING GROUP: The Drafting Group is expected to begin work thismorning, focusing first on Chapter III (Critical Areas of Concern). An afternoonsession is also expected.

Further information

Participants

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