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Report of main proceedings for 30 May 2000

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

On Tuesday, 30 May, Working Group II discussed Section IV in morning and afternoon sessions. Working Group I discussed Section II in the evening. The contact group facilitated by Patricia Flor (Germany) met in the morning and afternoon to finish a first reading of paragraphs on health and the family.

WORKING GROUP I

SECTION II: ACHIEVEMENTS AND OBSTACLES

Environment: In paragraph 25, on obstacles, delegates agreed to a sentence stating that environmental policies and programmes lack a gender perspective and fail to account for womens roles and contributions to environmental sustainability.

The Girl Child: In paragraph 26, on achievements, delegates agreed to text on: "some" progress made in education; creation of more gender-sensitive school environments; improved educational infrastructure; and increased enrolment and retention. JUSCANZ, NIGERIA, SLAC and ST. KITTS AND NEVIS supported a reference to support mechanisms for pregnant girls and teenage mothers. CUBA suggested text on "pregnancy and motherhood support mechanisms." LIBYA, MOROCCO and SYRIA opposed all references to pregnancy. LIBYA called for bracketing text on sexual and reproductive health. GHANA noted that this was agreed language from the ICPD. The HOLY SEE suggested bracketing the text pending outcomes from the contact group on health. Regarding language on an increasing number of countries introducing legislation to ban female genital mutilation, delegates agreed to Zambia-proposed text on imposing heavier penalties on those involved in sexual abuse, trafficking and all other forms of exploitation of the girl child, including for commercial ends. Delegates also agreed to new language from Croatia referring to the GAs adoption of the Optional Protocols on the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

In paragraph 27, on obstacles, JUSCANZ suggested text on the "worst forms" of child labour. The HOLY SEE opposed reference to "traditional" discriminatory attitudes. Further discussion is pending distribution of an EU compromise text.

WORKING GROUP II

SECTION IV: FURTHER ACTIONS AND INITIATIVES

National and International Actions: In Iraq-proposed 120(e) bis, on taking urgent and effective measures to alleviate the negative impact of economic sanctions on the civilian population, especially women and children, JUSCANZ preferred WSSD+5 language on giving proper consideration to urgent and effective measures regarding the issue of the social and humanitarian impact of sanctions, in particular on women and children, with a view to minimizing social and humanitarian effects. No agreement was reached.

In G-77/China-proposed 122(b) bis, on self-determination, JUSCANZ noted absence of a gender element, and proposed amendments, including reference to obstacles which adversely affect socio-economic development. Citing agreed language, the G-77/CHINA preferred no amendments. The text remains bracketed.

Sub-paragraphs 125A-J, comprising recently submitted proposals, were inserted before 125(a). The G-77/CHINA proposed 125A-F, and CUBA proposed 125 G-J. In 125A, on strengthening poverty eradication strategies, the EU suggested, and the G-77/CHINA opposed: adding reference to participatory strategies; replacing "impacts" with "challenges;" and inserting text on taking into account the role of, inter alia, civil society. JUSCANZ suggested, and the G-77/CHINA opposed, reference to the impacts of globalization. The text remains bracketed.

In 125B, on world peace, JUSCANZ proposed replacing text on sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States and non-intervention in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, in compliance with the UN Charter. The group suggested alternative text on an international environment conducive to the achievement and maintenance of world peace, with full respect for the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The EU preferred deletion or relocation to the introduction. The text remains bracketed.

Discussion was deferred on 125C, on external debt and debt-servicing problems. In 125D, on new approaches to international development cooperation, JUSCANZ, with the EU, proposed reversing the order of references to gender-based inequality and poverty eradication and placing the text within paragraph 135. The G-77/CHINA agreed to move the text but preferred not to change the order. The text remains bracketed.

Delegates agreed to merge 125E, on putting an end to commercial, financial and economic unilateral coercive measures, and 125F, on stopping use of food and medicines as a political tool. Citing language from 145(h) of the PFA, the EU and JUSCANZ, opposed by the G-77/ CHINA, preferred "discouraging" to "putting an end to." JUSCANZ suggested "continuing to discourage." The G-77/CHINA suggested "taking measures to put an end." No agreement was reached.

JUSCANZ, SLAC and ALGERIA noted their agreement with the substance of 125G, on globalization, participation and decision making. JAMAICA advocated minor amendments. No agreement was reached.

In 125H, on designing policies that promote and protect enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in order to advance, inter alia, gender equality, LIBYA and others, opposed by the EU, preferred promoting an enabling environment to designing policies. ST. KITTS AND NEVIS, supported by SLAC and opposed by CUBA, preferred to design "and implement" policies. The paragraph remains bracketed.

In 125I, on social services, the HOLY SEE proposed replacing text on education and universal access to available and affordable quality health care services and access to resources, with language on ensuring access to resources and universal access to basic social services. PAKISTAN proposed moving this text to the national level section, and all agreed. JUSCANZ suggested, with CUBA, gender-specific language on ensuring womens equal access. PAKISTAN added reference to an analysis from a gender perspective. With these amendments, the paragraph was agreed.

In 125J, on skills training to eradicate poverty, UGANDA proposed, with CUBA, reference to providing and supporting skills training. Delegates could not agree on whether placement should be under national actions, or national and international actions. ST. KITTS AND NEVIS proposed specifying that any opportunities created by globalization are extended to women. SRI LANKA suggested reference to regional and international cooperation. The text remains bracketed.

The EU proposed merging paragraphs 127(a) and 127(f), on womens entrepreneurship. PAKISTAN, with ALGERIA, opposed language on an economic and social policy framework. SLAC proposed replacing text on assisting women in areas such as, inter alia, international trade, with language on assisting women to participate in and benefit from, inter alia, international trade. PAKISTAN added reference to gender-sensitive programmes. With these amendments, the paragraph was agreed.

In 128(a), on curriculum changes, delegates debated a SLAC reformulation. ALGERIA, with PAKISTAN, proposed deletion of a reference to increasing compliance with gender equality, and the text was agreed.

In 128(b), on changing mens attitudes, delegates amended a SLAC formulation to refer to developing policies and implementing programmes. ALGERIA specified "stereotypical" attitudes and behaviors and, with IRAN, called for deletion of a reference to responsible and respectful sexual behavior. With these amendments, delegates agreed to the text, and to relocation under national actions.

In 128 (c), the EU and NAMIBIA supported JUSCANZ language on promoting participation of young women in youth networks. JUSCANZ proposed replacing "networks" with "organizations," and specified dialogue between and among developed and developing countries. The text remains bracketed.

In 128 (d), on education for girls, adolescents and young women, delegates agreed to SLACs proposal to merge the text with 128 (m). SLAC also proposed relocation under national actions. The EU called for adding references to promoting education and to mentoring programmes. PAKISTAN proposed, while SLAC opposed, specifying support for national efforts. PAKISTAN, with LIBYA and the HOLY SEE, also suggested deleting text on acquiring knowledge, developing self-esteem and taking responsibility and control over their own lives. BANGLADESH suggested reference to develop, inter alia, self-esteem skills. JUSCANZ, with the EU, proposed replacing "control over" with "making decisions for." The text remains bracketed.

In 128(e), on combating traditional stereotypes, delegates accepted JUSCANZ amendments referring to the elimination of "harmful" stereotypes. Placement is pending. Delegates agreed to delete 128(f), on public goods and services. In 128(h), on educational and training programmes developed with the full participation of indigenous women, SLAC suggested changing a reference from "informal" to "non-formal" education. The EU proposed deleting references to spirituality and aspirations. Delegates agreed to discuss this paragraph later when streamlining paragraphs on indigenous issues.

In 128(i), on adult womens literacy, the EU suggested agreed language from the Dakar Plan of Action on achieving a 50% improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults. PAKISTAN, with ALGERIA and LIBYA, suggested text stating "support and strengthen national adult literacy programmes." The EU suggested "continue to support and strengthen." The EU, JUSCANZ, and SLAC opposed reference to "national" programmes. The text remains bracketed.

In 128(j), on enrolment, delegates debated SLAC text on continuing to examine and design programmes to address, inter alia, causes for declining enrolment, and the consequences of this phenomenon. The HOLY SEE specified enrolment rates and preferred increase in drop-out rates to dropping out. The EU, supported by others, advocated text on international education targets set by relevant international conferences. ALGERIA preferred reference to strengthening international cooperation. The text remains bracketed.

Delegates agreed to deletion of 128(k), on illiteracy. In EU-proposed 128(l), on equal opportunities for women and girls in cultural, recreational and sports activities at all levels, including, inter alia, at national and international levels, IRAN, with others, opposed "at all levels." The PHILIPPINES proposed reference to regional levels. Accepting these proposals, delegates agreed on the sub-paragraph. Delegates agreed to delete 128(n), on non-violent conflict resolution.

In 129(a), on involvement of women in decision making at all levels, the EU supported a SLAC reformulation encouraging and elaborating such involvement, but called for reference to achieving gender balance in the appointment of women. No agreement was reached.

CONTACT GROUPS

As of Tuesday afternoon, the contact group led by Patricia Flor (Germany) had concluded a first reading of all paragraphs on health and family. The group reported steady progress on some of the less difficult issues, including text on data and research, maternal mortality, universal access to health care throughout the lifecycle, measures to ensure the privacy of those with HIV/AIDS, tobacco and nutrition. A second reading of outstanding paragraphs will begin on Wednesday, 31 May.

IN THE CORRIDORS

In the fifth week of Beijing+5 intersessionals, political will, resources, national sovereignty, human rights and other contentious issues continue to dog attempts to unbracket vast swathes of the outcomes document. One delegate said the process reminds her of giving birth. If these are the labor pains, the baby must be imminent perhaps during the newly scheduled early morning hours. Yesterday delegates began streaming in from the capitals to offer fresh perspectives. Next up: the 3,000 NGOs accredited to the Special Session. They are sure to freely volunteer their own views on brackets, as those who remember Beijing can well attest.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

Working Group I will discuss Sections II and III at 10:00 am in Conference Room 1. Working Group II will debate Section IV at 3:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and in a special late-night session from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am in Conference Room 1. The contact group facilitated by Patricia Flor will resume discussions at 10:00 am in Conference Room 10. The contact group on trafficking will meet at 2:00 pm in the annex to Conference Room 1.

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