Daily report for 15 March 2000

44th Session of the CSW (Beijing+5 Preparatory Committee)

On Wednesday, delegates met in Working Group I in the afternoon and evening to continue discussion of Section II (achievements and obstacles) and begin discussion of Section III (current challenges affecting the full implementation). Working Group II convened in the morning and afternoon to continue negotiation of Section IV (actions and initiatives). In the afternoon, the General Assemblys 93rd plenary meeting adopted two resolutions on the participation and accreditation of NGOs at the Beijing +5 Special Session (A/54/L.77, 78).


On paragraph 8 (achievements on women and health), redrafted text was introduced calling for increased awareness of the unequal burden placed on women as health-care providers within families and promotion of gender balance at all levels of the health-care system. The HOLY SEE proposed adding reference to the particular unmet needs of women caused by this unequal burden. The G-77/CHINA opposed all proposals and text remains bracketed.

On paragraph 28 (new issues in PFA implementation), delegates accepted language referring to the rapidly changing global context of PFA review and appraisal. The G-77/CHINA called for language on realizing gender equality, development and peace. JUSCANZ suggested reference to the role of governments, international organizations, the private sector, and NGOs. The EU proposed adding intergovernmental bodies to the list. The G-77/CHINA suggested, and delegates supported, adding "as appropriate" to the end of the list. JUSCANZ and the EU reiterated their preference for including text on gender equality. The G-77/CHINA opposed and the text remains bracketed. Delegates agreed to delete reference to further action and initiatives needed to respond to challenges and trends.

On paragraph 32 (women and labour migration), delegates agreed on text referring to the changing patterns of migratory flows of labour. The G-77/CHINA, supported by the HOLY SEE, suggested language on: womens and girls increased involvement in regional and international labour migration, mainly in farm labour, domestic work and the entertainment industry; exposure of migrant women to inadequate working conditions, increased health risks, trafficking, economic and sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of abuse; and the separation of migrant women from their children. JUSCANZ and the EU preferred avoiding lists and keeping the language broad. The HOLY SEE asked that "entertainment industry" be defined. MEXICO suggested reference to the separation of women from their families and in particular, their children. The EU called for language referring to internal migration and abuses impairing womens enjoyment of their human rights. The G-77/CHINA defined "entertainment industry" as exploitative employment including, strippers and dancers. JUSCANZ noted that this definition was not accurate in all cultural contexts. Text remains bracketed.


On a group of countries draft proposal of paragraph 55 bis (macro-economic and social policies and programmes recognizing the burden of poverty and ensuring universal access to social services), one delegation suggested, and others supported, including a reference to gender perspective in reviewing, modifying, implementing and integrating macro-economic and social policies and programmes. A delegate proposed, and others supported, reference to universal and equitable access to social services. Delegates agreed to inclusion of reference on control over economic resources following language on equal access to resources. One delegate asked for clarification of the meaning of external debt problems.

A regional group stated that some elements of the paragraph, including access to social services, education and health care, were already addressed in paragraph 46 bis (right to health care), and suggested the reference be placed following paragraph 46 (policies and programmes for sustainable development). Delegates opposed, noting that placement of references to social services, education and health care in this paragraph would highlight the connection between access to social services and structural adjustment programmes but agreed to shift placement of the reference if paragraph 45 (common agendas for gender equality) were reformulated to specifically address gender equality. With these changes, the paragraph was adopted.

In paragraph 56 (d) (actions taken by governments on gender disparities in education), a group of countries integrated several text proposals referring to developing policies designed to eliminate gender disparities in vocational training and science and technology. Another group proposed, and delegates supported, language on policies guaranteeing equal access to education and the elimination of gender disparities. Delegates agreed on text calling for the completion of basic education for girls, especially those living in rural and deprived areas, and opportunities for continuing education at all levels for all women and girls. The paragraph was adopted.

On paragraph 56 (d) bis (elimination of gender discrimination in education), one delegate proposed, and others opposed, inclusion of references to cultural, religious, and other forms of diversity. Many delegations agreed to add references on improving enrollment and retention rates for boys and girls. The paragraph was adopted.

On paragraph 56 (d), a group of countries, supported by a regional group, suggested additional text on the development of supportive learning environments that promote peace, respect for human rights, gender equality and all forms of diversity. Another group proposed referring to provision of supportive learning environments, reordering the list of issues promoted, and, with the support of a delegation, called for inserting the words cultural, religious and other forms of diversity. The delegation asked for clarification on previous references to all forms of diversity, noting this wording did not appear in the PFA and that the purpose of the review is not to renegotiate language. A regional group responded that language referring to full diversity appears in the recommendations of Economic Commission for Europe regional preparatory meeting. Another group advocated that different kinds of diversity not be listed, noting categories should not be prioritized. The paragraph remains bracketed.

Delegates agreed to merge three references to women with disabilities contained in paragraphs 56 and 62 and placed the merged text under paragraph 62 (actions to be taken at the national and international level). The merged text calls for designing and implementing policies and programmes to: fully address the specific needs of women and girls with disabilities; ensure their access to education at all levels, health care and employment; protect and promote their human rights; and, where appropriate, tackle existing inequalities between women and men with disabilities. The paragraph was adopted, although exact placement is yet to be determined.

On paragraph 56 (e) (closing the gender gap in primary and secondary education), a regional group agreed to language on accelerating action and strengthening political commitment in closing the gender gap, and suggested adding text on elimination of actions that worsen or perpetuate the gender gap. Delegates agreed to retain a general reference to several global conferences, and the paragraph was approved.

On a draft paragraph 56 (e) bis (curriculum development to address gender stereotyping), a delegate noted the importance of including language on developing gender-sensitive curricula to address root causes of segregation in working life. A group of countries preferred, and others supported, a reference to gender stereotyping as one of the root causes of segregation, rather than a major cause of segregation. With these changes, the paragraph was adopted.


Word is in the air that agreement is close on the Draft Political Declaration, which in its current form contains two of the PrepComs trickier issues: references to ODA and CEDAW. Delegates hope that this will be both a sign of progress, and an important statement of political will.

PrepCom Chair Rose Odera has reportedly been assigned a new diplomatic posting in Ottawa. Questions are swirling about the timing of this transfer. NGOs plan a letter politely affirming the importance of Chair Oderas leadership and continued participation in the Beijing review process.

The officially unspoken word of the week may be "intersessionals." One delegation, perhaps concerned about budgetary implications, optimistically predicted the document would be finished on time. Others remarked on the cost of returning from capitals, and expressed concern that New York-based diplomatic teams have not always brushed up on gender issues. Late April is a possibility, with extra work expected just before the Special Session as well.


PLENARY: In the afternoon, delegates will convene in a plenary session in Conference Room 1 to hear closing statements and evaluate work achieved in the outcome document.

WORKING GROUPS: Working Group I is expected to reconvene at 10:00 am in a room to be announced. Working Group II will meet at 11:00 am in Conference Room 1.

The summary issue of the CSW-44 PrepCom will be available Monday, 20 March 2000 on our website: http//enb.iisd.org/4wcw/ csw44/.

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