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Daily report for 8 September 1995

4th World Conference on Women (FWCW)

At the close of the first week of the FWCW, delegates prepared to continue negotiations on the draft Platform for Action and Declaration through the weekend. On Friday, Working Group I considered Chapter II, the Global Framework, and began work on Section J (media). Contact Group I continued with Section C (health). Working Group II took up Section G (power structures and decision making). Contact Group II completed readings of the first two sections of the draft Declaration. Country statements also continued in the Plenary.


Working Group I, chaired by Nana Ama Yeboa (Ghana), continued consideration of Chapter II (Global Framework), and then began examining the section on mass media. Delegates first approved an informal group's work on paragraph 361 (UNIFEM and INSTRAW), which included a call for resources from the international community to be sufficient and maintained at an adequate level.

CHAPTER II: Delegates agreed to remove the brackets from family structure[s] in 38 (changes in family).

CHAPTER IV. SECTION J (mass media): After a long debate on 236 (negative images of women), delegates noted that media products "are also negatively affecting" women. In 239(a) (women's education), delegates agreed to Zambia's proposal to "promote and ensure women's equal access to" the media. In 239(c) (equal participation), delegates lifted brackets to call for "full" participation. In 239(h) (freedom of media), the US proposed replacing the reference to media involvement in social issues with text from the Social Summit.

In 242(b) (training to use information technology), delegates deleted the reference to "consider training." In 244(a) (self-regulation of media), delegates called for professional guidelines and codes of conduct and adopted the US proposed qualifier "consistent with freedom of expression." The EU objected to including "pornographic" in 244(b) (guidelines regarding violent materials), which remains bracketed.

In 245(b) (materials on women leaders), several countries, including the G77/China and the EU, wanted to delete the reference to "caring mothers and nurturers of happy families." Some, including Peru, Guatemala and Pakistan, supported a reference to "mothers." Iran suggested a compromise reference to "leaders, inter alia, as not only mothers but as managers and entrepreneurs," which was supported by Australia and the US, among others, but the EU objected. In 245(d) (development of alternative media), delegates agreed to "support the development of and finance as appropriate new" alternatives.


The Contact Group of Working Group I met on Friday morning to proceed with consideration of Section C (health) and hear reports from informal groups set up to consider difficult portions of the text.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE C.4. (research and information). In paragraph 110(d) (preventive action and research), "gender" was removed from brackets. In (e) (increased cancer risk), a compromise formula was adopted: "inform women about the factors which increase the risks of developing cancers and infections of the reproductive tract so that they can make informed decisions." In (h) (sexual health resources), brackets were removed and text amended: "medicine and technology" and "regulation of fertility including natural family planning." In (i) (unsafe abortion), "unsafe abortion" and "contraceptive" were removed from brackets.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE C.5. (Resources and action). In 111(a) (budget allocations), "where necessary" was tentatively removed. "Primary" health and "reproductive and sexual" were removed from brackets. Brackets were deleted in (b) (innovative funding approaches). In (c) (local health services), "where appropriate" was deleted. Brackets were removed from 112(b) (youth NGOs and sexual and reproductive health) and (c) (prioritize women's health).


Working Group II convened in morning and afternoon sessions, chaired by Irene Freudenschuss (Austria), to consider Sections G (power-sharing) and A (poverty) of Chapter IV (Strategic Actions and Objectives).

SECTION G (Power-sharing): In paragraph 183 (women in decision making), the G77/China proposed combining the bracketed text to note that equal participation in decision making is a prerequisite for the promotion and functioning of democracy. The EU, supported by Canada, proposed replacing the bracketed text with a reference to women's participation strengthening democracy. The G77/China objected. In 187 (sources of inequality), the G77/China proposal was accepted to combine the bracketed text to include both discriminatory practices and unequal power relations. The EU proposed changing family to families. Iran objected, and it remains bracketed. The G77/China proposal to delete brackets from a reference to non-formal patterns of decision making was accepted. The EU proposed adding a reference to culturally based male domination. In 189 (distribution of power at all levels), the EU proposed deleting the reference to countries with 33.3% representation, but the G77/China objected. Canada proposed noting that, in some countries, quotas have been applied.

In 192(a) (goal of gender balance), the G77/China proposed removing brackets around the references to setting specific targets and achieving equal representation. The US preferred using a qualifier for targets, which are called for "inter alia." Delegates also included a reference to positive action. In 192(d) (electoral system impact), delegates removed the brackets surrounding the text. In 192(h) (government-funded organizations), delegates called for governments to encourage, and where appropriate ensure, non-discriminatory policies in those organizations, and retained the reference to increasing the number and raising the position of women. In 192(i) (shared responsibilities), the G77/China proposal to lift the brackets was accepted.

In 193(c) (gender issues in political agendas), the G77/China, supported by Jordan, proposed lifting the brackets. The EU, supported by Canada, proposed a reformulation. The G77/China opposed. In 194(a) (women leaders, executives and managers), the G77/China deleted the bracketed reference to qualifications. In 194(d) (equality in NGOs), delegates deleted the reference to equity. In 194(e) (new roles of men and women), the G77/China supported the reference to the family, but the EU preferred "families."

In 195(a) (UN employment), the G77/China preferred gender "parity," but the EU preferred "balance." In 195(c) (collect and disseminate data), the reference to "at least 40%" was deleted and the paragraph was accepted. In 196(c) (databases), the G77/China proposed lifting the brackets. The EU, supported by Russia, added a reference to data protection legislation, Mexico added political parties, and Peru added a reference to other NGOs, which was changed to other relevant bodies. All proposals were accepted.

SECTION A (Poverty): In 50 (feminization of poverty), the G77/China, supported by the Holy See, proposed lifting the brackets. EU proposed deleting the bracketed text. Canada proposed replacing instability with insecurity. Delegates accepted "other emerging factors which may lead to insecurity of families."

In 60(e) (access to resources), the G77/China deleted the bracketed text. In 60(l) (migrants), the G77/China deleted a reference to stringent migration policies and proposed a reference to women migrant workers. The EU and Japan proposed reformulations, but the G77/China preferred either retaining reference to non-documented migrant workers or making no distinction. Brackets were lifted from 60 (m) (integration of poor and displaced women).

In paragraph 61(c) (solutions to external debt), the first alternative paragraph in document L.3. was adopted, referencing, inter alia, the Paris Club (1994) terms of debt forgiveness. In paragraph 62(a) (anti-poverty programmes), a reference to the social responsibility of governments was introduced. In paragraph 62(c) (diverse needs), specific reference to "age, ethnicity, and culture" was deleted from needs to be addressed by women's organizations. In paragraph 62(d) (access to services), a G77/China reformulation called for the participation of women's organizations and NGOs in the "development and application" of national health, education and social services strategy. In 62(e) (education and retraining policies), the EU proposal to delete reference to women's organizations, NGOs and various types of training was accepted. In 62(f) (access to land, property and credit), the G77/China proposals to add a reference to ownership and delete reference to the mobilization of NGOs to protect traditional land and property rights was accepted. Papua New Guinea and others retained a reference to customary laws and traditions, while Sudan and others insisted on bracketing it.


The Contact Group chaired by Olga Pellicer (Mexico) resumed consideration of the draft Beijing Declaration during an afternoon session. Delegates negotiated much of the Preamble and reaffirmed commitments sections of a revised G77/China draft, which incorporates some amendments from US, EU and other proposals.

The first two preambular paragraphs were accepted. Delegates added a paragraph on equality, development and peace. They also added a paragraph on women's voices and diversity with the first word [Recognizing] in brackets. A paragraph regarding women's status and obstacles was accepted. Language regarding the unfavorable international economic environment was bracketed in a paragraph regarding poverty. In a paragraph regarding women's status, women's empowerment was added to advancement.

In a reaffirmed commitment of rights and principles in conventions, delegates debated which legal instruments should be included, in which order, and whether "human dignity" should be deleted. A paragraph regarding past conferences was accepted. The question of inserting language on promotion of rights and freedoms and full implementation of inalienable rights was sent to an informal group. A paragraph regarding implementation of the Nairobi Strategies was accepted. Delegates sent a paragraph on spiritual and moral values, sustainable development, and women's special role to the informal group after some delegations suggested deletion.


NGOs are reporting success in getting their proposals into the draft Platform for Action. The health section is one example where NGOs report that official delegations have used ideas and arguments that NGOs have advocated, although they await the results of closed informal consultations on key issues, such as parental and sexual rights, race and ethnicity. Pre-Conference preparations, including meetings with official delegations in their capitals and at regional ministerial meetings, were among the strategies that NGOs employed in their lobbying campaigns. They credit the "Conference of Commitments" as a hook during the intersessional period for bringing together interested groups to consider the FWCW themes and the commitments they wanted their nations make.


WORKING GROUP I: The Working Group is expected to meet during an afternoon session in Hall No. 16, where it is expected to discuss the sections on health, media and the girl child.

CONTACT GROUP OF WORKING GROUP I: The Contact Group will meet in Hall No. 16 during a morning session to continue discussion on the section on health. Look for reports from the informal groups on issues including resources, race and ethnicity, parental rights, reference to ICPD and genetic engineering.

WORKING GROUP II: The Working Group is expected to meet during morning, afternoon and evening sessions in Hall No. 15, where it will discuss sections on economic structures, mechanisms and environment.

CONTACT GROUP OF WORKING GROUP II: The Contact Group will meet in Hall No. 10 during morning and afternoon sessions to continue its consideration of the draft Declaration.

Further information


National governments
Negotiating blocs
European Union
Group of 77 and China
Non-state coalitions