Report of main proceedings for 31 March 1995

39th Session of the CSW

The CSW, as preparatory committee for the Fourth World Conference on Women(FWCW), continued work on the draft Platform for Action on Friday, Saturday andSunday. The Plenary, chaired by Ms. Patricia Licuanan (Philippines), met Fridaymorning and afternoon to discuss draft resolutions. The Committee of the Whole,chaired by Ms. Irene Freudenschuss (Austria), met Friday and Saturday afternoon toendorse work that the informal-informal groups had completed. The closed informal-informal groups worked throughout the weekend.

PLENARY

The Plenary first considered draft resolutions under Agenda Item 5, "Monitoring theImplementation of the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies for the Advancement ofWomen." The Russian Federation requested a vote on draft resolutionE/CN.6/1995/L.7, "Relief to women and children who have been taken as hostagesand imprisoned in armed conflict, to be provided by the beginning of the FWCW."The vote was: 27 for, 0 against, 14 abstentions and 2 not participating. Draftresolutions E/CN.6/1995/L.9, "Integration of women in the Middle East peaceprocess," E/CN.6/1995/L.11, "Mainstreaming the human rights of women,"E/CN.6/1995/L.12, "Palestinian Women," E/CN.6/1995/L.13, "Convention on theElimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women," and E/CN.6/1995/L.15,"Violence against women migrant workers," were adopted.

Two draft resolutions on Agenda Item 6 (Priority Themes) were also discussed. Perunoted translation problems in E/CN.6/1995/L.16, "Integration of displaced women intodevelopment processes." Delegates adopted E/CN.6/1995/L.18, "Women working inagriculture and rural development," after which Belgium said she would interpret thereference to "equity" in the wage system as "equality." Namibia, who had introducedthe resolution, offered to change the text, but Iran objected. Pakistan suggested sendingthe proposed change with the resolution to the substantive session of ECOSOC.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

Delegates endorsed the informal-informal group"s work on Chapter III (Critical Areasof Concern) and Sections A (The persistent and increasing burden of poverty onwomen) and B (Unequal access to and inadequate educational opportunities) inChapter IV (Strategic Objectives and Actions) on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, theyendorsed work on Chapters I (Mission Statement) and II (Global Framework) andSection D (Violence against women) in Chapter IV.

CHAPTER I: China bracketed the sentence in paragraph 2 (human rights)reaffirming the Vienna Declaration. In paragraph 4 (immediate action required), Iranoffered to drop the bracketed reference to an "equitable" world if the brackets wereremoved from the reference to the principle of equality "and equity," but the EUobjected.

CHAPTER II: The Holy See bracketed paragraph 9 (respect for nationalsituations). Honduras insisted on bracketing the word "gender" throughout the text,pending a satisfactory definition. In paragraph 17 (move towards democratization),Lithuania, supported by the Russian Federation, bracketed the sentences regardingchanges in Central and Eastern Europe. The US requested brackets around the firstsentence of paragraph 38 (unsustainable patterns of consumption and production).

CHAPTER III: The Chair noted that, in paragraph 37 (list of critical areasof concern), delegates will decide on titles after the corresponding sections in ChapterIV are completed. Norway noted that the order is open to change. The G-77/Chinaadded a reference to family responsibilities in the critical concern regarding sharingpower and decision-making.

CHAPTER IV: The Chair noted that agreement has not been reached on theintroductory paragraphs in Chapter IV.

Section A: In paragraph 39 (introduction to section on poverty), the USbracketed references to the "uncertain global climate" and to the undermining ofGovernment capacity to meet basic needs. The Chair noted that a new paragraphregarding implementation of sound macroeconomic policies had been drafted toreplace paragraphs 46(a), (a bis) and (a ter). The Holy See stated that they had notbeen consulted about the change, and reinserted [sustainable development centered onhuman beings]. The EU proposed retaining all four sub-paragraphs. The Holy Seebracketed [community-based support systems] in sub-paragraph 46(d) (safety nets).The US bracketed i(bis) (integrate marginalized women). The Chair noted that NewZealand was coordinating text regarding indigenous people. The EU removed bracketsaround sub-paragraph 47(e) (create an enabling environment). Fiji bracketed areference to ownership of land in sub-paragraph 48(b) (reform laws to give access toeconomic resources).

Section B: In paragraph 56 (introduction to education section), the USbracketed education as a basic [human] right. The US bracketed paragraphs 62(educational resources and SAPs) and 69(b) (educational funding in SAPs), pendingdiscussions on structural adjustment. In sub-paragraph 63(d) (enrollment and retentionof girls), Cameroon bracketed [flexible school schedules]. Canada stated that sub-paragraph 70(bis)(a) (range of educational programmes) made no sense as amendedand proposed deleting the reference to skills required to live in, contribute to andbenefit from communities and nations. The G-77/China bracketed it.

Section D: Paragraph 88(d) (vulnerable groups) was bracketed. Australiareplaced a reference to women migrant workers in poverty with references to womenmigrant workers and women in poverty. Malta bracketed [forced pregnancy]throughout the text. Egypt requested that Copenhagen language be used for [foreignoccupation] throughout the text. In paragraph 89 (violence within the home), the HolySee added a reference to non-spousal abuse. In paragraph 92 (human rights violation),Australia bracketed references to vulnerable groups, to different forms of violence andto the statement that these forms of violence constitute human rights violations. Inreplacement paragraph 93 (trafficking in women and girls), Iran re-introduced areference to the Special Rapporteur"s exploration of international prostitution andtrafficking networks "as additional causes of violations of human rights andfundamental freedoms of women and girls." Canada bracketed the addition. The HolySee withdrew "unplanned" pregnancy and maintained brackets around "unwanted"pregnancy. In sub-paragraph 94(c.ter) (plans of action), the G-77/China, with EUagreement, inserted a reference to "national and local" Government. The G-77/Chinachanged dowry deaths to "dowry related violence." In sub-paragraph 94(f) (trainingfor personnel), the opening reference to "improve" was bracketed. In sub-paragraph94(g.quinquies) (community resources), the US bracketed an amended reference to"national and local" implementation. In paragraph 94(h.quater) (mandate of theSpecial Rapporteur on Violence Against Women), Mexico added a reference toupdating the mandate. In paragraph 95(c) (education about the effects of violence), theEU added a reference to the work place. The US bracketed paragraph 95(a.bis) (mediaresponsibility). In paragraph 97(bis) (actions to be taken by S-G), Cuba bracketedreferences to missions taken with other Special Rapporteurs and working groups. Inparagraph 98(c) (media and stereotypes), the US bracketed a reference toadvertisements that foster gender-based violence.

STATUS OF THE PLATFORM

The status of informal-informal work on each part of the Platform is as follows:

DECLARATION: The G-77/China circulated a draft Declaration on Friday.Delegates seem willing to have a Declaration and some may offer their own drafts, butdiscussion is not expected until Beijing.

I. MISSION STATEMENT: Work was endorsed by the Committee of theWhole on Saturday.

II. GLOBAL FRAMEWORK: Work was endorsed by the Committee ofthe Whole on Saturday.

III. CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN: Work was endorsed by theCommittee of the Whole on Friday.

IV. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES AND ACTIONS:

A. The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women: Work wasendorsed by the Committee of the Whole on Friday.

B. Unequal access to and inadequate educational opportunities: Workwas endorsed by the Committee of the Whole on Friday.

C. Inequalities in health status and unequal access to and inadequate healthcare services: Informal-informal discussions are expected to begin Monday.

D. Violence against women: Work was endorsed by the Committee of theWhole on Saturday.

E. Effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women: Consideration ofthis text was completed on Sunday, although it is reported that many brackets remain.The Committee of the Whole will possibly review it on Monday.

F. Inequality in women"s access to and participation in the definition ofeconomic structures and policies and the productive process itself: Work wascompleted on this section over the weekend, and the Committee of the Whole isexpected to review it on Monday.

G. Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels: Consideration of this text was completed over the weekend,and the Committee of the Whole is expected to review it on Monday.

H. Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement ofwomen: This section is expected to be discussed by the informal-informal groupthat discussed Chapter V (Institutional arrangements); some delegates have noted thatthe two texts overlap.

I. Lack of awareness of and commitment to internationally and nationallyrecognized women"s human rights: Discussion of this section is to begin in aninformal-informal once consideration of Section J (mass media) is completed.

J. Insufficient mobilization of the mass media to promote women"s positivecontributions to society: Delegates began discussing this section in an informal-informal on Sunday afternoon.

K. Lack of adequate recognition and support for women"s contribution tomanaging natural resources and safeguarding the environment: Discussion onthis section has been delayed. As of Sunday, no compilation text had been produced.

(L.) Persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl-child: The G-77/China circulated their draft for this new section and suggestadding it as Strategic Objective E. Some delegates have requested delaying discussionuntil all original sections are completed.

CHAPTER V. INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: Delegates reportedslow but steady progress as they discussed this section in an informal-informal onSunday.

CHAPTER VI. FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS: The informal-informalcompleted its consideration of this text, which is reported to be relatively bracket-freeand will possibly be considered by the Committee of the Whole on Monday.

IN THE CORRIDORS

An alliance of NGOs and delegations, with the backing of Secretary-GeneralMongella, is lining up behind the Australian initiative for a "Conference ofCommitments." The delegations support references to the initiative in the order ofbusiness for Beijing and in Chapter V. Governments will commit to draw upprogrammes with practical outcomes for women. The initiative is being viewed as a"key instrument for political mobilization, in advance of the FWCW, amongGovernments and civil society." For some NGO representatives, the importance of theinitiative has grown as a number of commitments in the draft Platform have been"dropped through a glass ceiling."

On the issue of NGO accreditation, no final decision on procedures is expected beforethe end of conference, but key delegates believe that a number of issues have beencleared up. A bilateral involving the US and China Friday morning was theculmination of a process of high-level diplomatic exchanges. The meeting will befollowed-up with a draft resolution Monday, requesting the CSW Secretariat to inviteNGOs who had not received accreditation by March 15 to submit further information,and that the Secretariat forward their recommendations to ECOSOC.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY

PLENARY: A Plenary is expected this morning, during which draftresolutions and rules of procedure are expected to be discussed.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE: The Committee of the Whole isexpected to meet during the afternoon to endorse the work of the informal-informalgroups.

INFORMAL-INFORMAL: Negotiations on the Platform will continue inclosed sessions.

Further information

Participants

National governments
US
Negotiating blocs
Central and Eastern Europe
European Union
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions
NGOs

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