Daily report for 15 May 2000

Informal Consultations of the 44th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (Beijing+5 PrepCom)

On Monday, 15 May, Working Group I met from 10pm to 1pm to discuss Section II of the outcomes document, on achievements and obstacles. Working Group II met from 3pm to 7pm to debate Section IV, on further actions and initiatives. The G-77/China held a consultation during an evening session originally scheduled for Working Group II.

In the morning, Chair Christine Kapalata addressed delegates and offered an assessment of progress: agreement had been completely reached on two out of three paragraphs in Section I, two of 25 paragraphs in Section II; no paragraphs in Section III; and 25 of 226 subparagraphs in Section IV. Chair Kapalata stressed the need to use time efficiently to achieve consensus before the convening of the Special Session on 5 June 2000. She added that approximately 3,100 NGO representatives are expected to attend the Special Session, coming from 903 organizations previously accredited to the FWCW, and 322 organizations that are newly accredited.

The following covers only text negotiated in the current sessions.


In paragraph 10, on achievements in ending violence against women, delegates accepted G-77/China formulated text with minor amendments and a few brackets. The first two sentences, on violence as a human rights violation, remain bracketed pending EU consideration. Delegates agreed to: an EU proposal on laws to prosecute perpetrators of violence; G-77/China language on recognition at all levels of violence as a health issue and on the role of health care providers; a Holy See suggestion on police units with special training; and a JUSCANZ reference to health care providers in place of medical personnel. JUSCANZ added reference to gender studies on the roles of boys and men in violence against women, and the EU proposed text on the impacts of domestic violence on children. CROATIA, with JUSCANZ, preferred to retain language on cooperation between governments and NGOs in preventing violence. The G-77/CHINA opposed, and the reference remains bracketed. Delegates agreed to text recognizing female genital mutilation as a form of violence against women and supporting education and legislation aimed at eradicating this and other harmful traditional practices.

In paragraph 11, on obstacles to eliminating violence against women, delegates agreed to G-77/China formulated text, with minor amendments, on: women continuing to be victims of various forms of violence; inadequate understanding of the root causes of violence hindering efforts to eliminate it; inadequate data impeding informed policy-making; discriminatory socio-cultural attitudes and economic inequalities reinforcing women's subordination; and legal and legislative measures, including against domestic violence, being weak in many countries. The EU opposed a reference to laws against pornography, which the HOLY SEE suggested should be retained. It remains bracketed. JUSCANZ proposed text on the lack of programmes dealing with perpetrators, especially their inability to solve situations of conflict peacefully. The G-77/CHINA opposed the language on solving situations of conflict. No agreement was reached after several attempts to reformulate. The rest of the paragraph remains in brackets pending discussions of proposals from JUSCANZ on linking fragmented prevention strategies to women's vulnerability to violence, and highlighting the absence of co-ordinated multidisciplinary approaches, treatment of domestic violence as a private issue, and insufficient awareness of the consequences of domestic violence. The EU has suggested reference to economic and sexual exploitation.


Actions to be taken at the national level by governments: The G-77/CHINA proposed a reformulation of 103 (a), on reviewing and revising existing legislation on violence against women. The EU proposed integrating the G-77/China text with JUSCANZ language emphasizing introduction of legislation. The paragraph remains bracketed. In 103 (h), on integrating mental health services into primary health care systems, the G77/CHINA supported a reference to gender sensitive programs, and the paragraph was agreed.

In 106 (a), on adopting legislation to protect traditional knowledge related to biodiversity, the EU, with JUSCANZ, opposed a G-77/China reference to accordance with national legislative procedures. No agreement was reached. The G-77/CHINA proposed reformulating 109 (b) to emphasize increasing investments in the social sector, particularly in education and health. JUSCANZ added language on utilizing investments in the social sector appropriately and effectively. No agreement was reached.

Actions to be taken at the national level by governments, the private sector, NGOs and other civil society actors: No agreement was reached on a G-77/China proposal to delete 114 (a), on policies that protect and promote women's human rights. The text included a JUSCANZ reference to training and legal literacy programmes. In 114 (b), on encouraging coalitions among, inter alia, NGOs, traditional and community leaders to protect and promote women's human rights, delegates agreed to a G-77/China proposal to refer to collaborations. The G-77/CHINA opposed JUSCANZ proposals to insert partnerships and to refer to various levels of government. Delegates also did not agree to a Holy See reference to religious leaders, and to G-77/China text on the dignity and worth of the human person. All of these references remain bracketed.

In 117 (a), on opportunities for women in politics, delegates accepted a G-77/China reformulation of the text, replacing language on local, regional and national politics with references to politics at all levels and to providing favorable conditions. The EU added reference to conditions on equal terms with men, and the paragraph was agreed. In 117 (b), on supporting women in senior positions as leaders and mentors and compiling national rosters of women leaders, the G-77/CHINA proposed deleting the entire paragraph. The EU and JUSCANZ supported retaining the paragraph. No agreement was reached.

The G-77/CHINA proposed a new 118 (a) bis, on strengthening microfinance instruments through support of international financial institutions. The paragraph was agreed and moved to 127 (e) bis, under international actions.  Delegates agreed on a G-77/China reformulation of 118 (d), on developing and/or strengthening programmes and policies to support women entrepreneurs, after deleting a reference to emerging enterprises. They also agreed to 118 (e), on equal pay for equal work.

Actions to be taken at the international level by the UN system, international and regional organizations, and other actors: In 127 (d), on women's rights and international labor laws and standards, the EU proposed text on labor standards for all forms of work, including non-standard work and those forms particularly affecting women, which have increased, inter alia, as a result of globalization, and which often remain unprotected. JUSCANZ suggested reference to various forms of employment, particularly those affecting women. No agreement was reached.

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