Report of main proceedings for 4 April 1995

39th Session of the CSW

Delegates continued their work on the Platform for Action for the Fourth WorldConference on Women (FWCW) during morning, afternoon and evening informal-informal sessions. The first reading of Section H (Insufficient mechanisms at all levelsto promote the advancement of women) in Chapter IV (Strategic Objectives andActions) was completed, as was a third reading of Chapter V (InstitutionalArrangements). Delegates began their first full reading of Sections C (Inequalities inhealth status and unequal access to and inadequate health care services) and I (Lack ofawareness of a commitment to internationally and nationally recognized women"shuman rights). "Gender" was bracketed throughout the text.


The informal-informal group charged with completing consideration of Sections I(Lack of awareness of and commitment to internationally and nationally recognizedwomen"s human rights) and K (Lack of adequate recognition and support forwomen"s contribution to managing natural resources and safeguarding theenvironment) of Chapter IV completed the first reading of Section K Monday evening.The language on consumption was reported to have caused some debate, and delegatesattempted to draft text to indicate that all countries are responsible for consumption,but noted the disproportionate impact of some.

The group discussed the human rights text throughout Tuesday. No final decision wastaken on the section title. In paragraph 149 (universal human rights as the basis foradvancement of women) the list of "all the major human rights instruments" wasbracketed. Amendments introduced new references to links between the ViennaDeclaration on human rights, the Platform and the right to development. Bracketedreferences to the Declaration on the Right to Development and the Declaration on theElimination of Violence Against Women were also introduced. A reference to the"human rights of women and girls throughout the life cycle" was replaced with therights "of women and of the girl child." A new sentence was inserted at the end ofthe paragraph: "Governments must not only refrain from the violation of human rightsof all women but must work actively to promote and protect these rights." The firstsentence of the second paragraph was reformulated: "Recognition of the importance ofthe human rights of women is reflected in the fact that three-quarters of the UNmember States are parties to the CEDAW."

In paragraph 150 (human rights of women and reproductive rights), the first line wasdeleted. A new introductory paragraph was inserted, in brackets: "The WCHR andICPD reaffirmed all aspects of the human rights of women including women"sreproductive rights and the right to development." A reference to "universal" humanrights was bracketed.

In paragraph 151 (signatories to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms ofDiscrimination against Women), the second sentence, which referred to causes thatundermine women"s enjoyment of equal rights, was moved to paragraph 152.References to de jure equality and various law codes were deleted, a referenceto legal systems was replaced with a reference to national administrations and areference to judicial personnel was replaced with a reference to judicial process.Thelast three sentences were separated to form paragraph 151.bis.

In paragraph 152 (gap between de jure and de facto rights), a referenceto a lack of Governments" commitment to enforce rights was replaced with "promoteand protect." References to international monitoring institutions, the Committee on theElimination of Discrimination Against Women, extension of the Committee"s meetingtime and the Optional Protocol were deleted. A reference to international "conventionsand declarations" was replaced with "Human Rights instruments," and references tonational law and national practice were added. The last sentence (women"s awarenessof their rights) was moved to paragraph 156.

In paragraph 152.bis. (integration of women into the UN system), a reference toduplication was deleted, and references to the High Commissioner on Human Rights,CEDAW, the Convention on Criminal Justice and independent experts were added.

The second paragraph 152.bis. (systemic nature of inequality) was bracketed.Paragraph 153 (shared responsibility) was bracketed pending the outcome of thereproductive rights section on health.

Paragraphs 154 (violence against women) and 155 (women in vulnerable situations)were bracketed pending clarification of lists of forms of violence and particularlyvulnerable groups of women.


The informal-informal group charged with completing consideration of Section H(mechanisms) and the new section on the girl child completed half of its task, but italso undertook additional work. The group worked Monday evening and Tuesdaymorning to finish consideration of Section H and then completed a third reading ofChapter V (Institutional Arrangements) Tuesday afternoon. The group expected toconduct a second reading of Chapter VI (Financial Arrangements) during the evening,after which it was to take up the girl child section.

In Strategic Objective H.3 (Generate and disseminate gender disaggregated data andinformation for planning and evaluation), delegates added a reference to the collectionand analysis of statistics that reflect problems and questions related to men and womenin society. Delegates bracketed references to making participation in the informalsector "visible" and to "quantifying and valuing" remunerated and unremuneratedwork. A sub-paragraph regarding time-use statistics and satellite or parallel accounts ofunremunerated economic contributions was bracketed. A reference to data collectionon access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services was bracketed.Governments are now called on to use gender-sensitive data in "implementation ofprogrammes and projects" as well as in policy formulation. Paragraph 148(bis)(multilateral and bilateral donor support to capacity building to measure unremuneratedwork) was bracketed.

In Chapter V, paragraph 187, which calls for changes in rules and procedures and theelimination of sexual harassment, is bracketed. In paragraph 190 (governmentresponsibility for implementation), the invitation to governments to state their owncommitments and to collect them in an annex to the Platform is bracketed. Referencesto "feminist movements" remain bracketed. References to promoting women "withrequisite qualifications" were deleted. In paragraph 203 (implementation), a referenceto the Agenda for Peace and Agenda for Development is bracketed. A paragraphcalling for a high-level post in the office of the Secretary-General is bracketed. Inparagraph 207 (follow-up), a reference to "necessary resources and support" isbracketed. Paragraphs on the CSW, UNIFEM and INSTRAW are bracketed. Areference to NGO monitoring of implementation in paragraph 238 (role of NGOs) isbracketed.


The informal-informal group charged with completing consideration of Section C(health) and the Declaration met Monday evening, when delegates decided to use theSecretariat"s condensed version of the health text, rather than the full compilation text,as the working document. The group resumed Tuesday for morning, afternoon andevening negotiations on the health section.

Negotiations were slow, and discussion of many definitions and concepts, including"unprotected sex," "unplanned pregnancy" and "unsafe abortion," occupieddelegates" time during the morning session. Some language that cannot be settled inthe working group will be sent to the Plenary. References to rights were introduced.Delegates offered different approaches for how to refer to the Cairo language.Delegates also debated the use of female mortality statistics. Discussions wereexpected to extend late into the night.


Due to confusion and bracketed text, the Secretariat provided the following definitionof gender, which is based on the discussion of the gender approach found in the 1994World Survey on the Role of Women in Development (A/49/378): Gender refers tothe relationships between women and men based on socially-defined roles that areassigned to one sex or the other.


Resources, implementation and follow-up are occupying much attention in thecorridors in the wake of discussions on Chapters V and VI. There is disappointmentwith the lack of any commitment to new funding, and proposals for re-allocation ofresources are regarded as modest. Interest is focusing on the prospect of a resolutioncalling for the creation of a voluntary fund to support a post and unit at the level ofUnder-Secretary-General to "make sure that the Beijing Platform is implemented inthe UN system." Support for the fund, in the absence of new resources, has comefrom Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The S-G"s Advisory Group on Beijingis supporting the idea. A number of delegations at the 39th Session of the CSW willbe approached about sponsoring a resolution to support establishing the post withlong-term funding. The initiative would have implications for existing structuresoverseeing the FWCW process, including the Division for the Advancement ofWomen. The Division will pay special attention to the nature and responsibilities ofany new unit set up within the S-G"s office. In principle, the establishment of aunifying mechanism would be welcome, in the absence of proposals for a newpermanent body associated with the FWCW. The extraordinary nature of the proposed"voluntarily funded" unit operating in the S-G"s office is being noted. Platformproposals for the redeployment of resources within the UN system have been met withsome disappointment. The debate on the merger of INSTRAW and UNIFEM has alsohindered debate on new funding.

On NGO access, a number of delegations have put proposals to the Bureau for limitedNGO access to the informal-informals, taking into account the lack of space. The UShas suggested following the procedures adopted at UNCED.


INFORMAL-INFORMALS: Negotiations will continue again today in threeinformal groups. Delegates set midnight as their deadline for negotiations.

Further information


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