Report of main proceedings for 11 May 2000
Informal Consultations of the 44th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (Beijing+5 PrepCom)
On Thursday, 11 May, Working Group II met from 3pm to 6pm and, following a G-77/China consultation, from 8:30pm to 10pm. The group heard remarks from Angela King, Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, and continued negotiating Section IV of the outcomes document, on further actions and initiatives.
The following covers only text negotiated in the current sessions.
WORKING GROUP II: SECTION IV: FURTHER ACTIONS AND INITIATIVES
Angela King, Special Advisor to the Secretary General on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, praised delegates' spirit of collaboration and unity, and highlighted their important contribution to promoting women's human rights around the world. She noted that women working at the grassroots level have successfully used the Beijing PFA to advance their rights, and emphasized the need to eliminate the gap between what governments have agreed to do and the reality of their actions. She said that Beijing +5 should be a forum for hope and concrete action.
Chair Bhattacharjee reiterated that the progress made on the actions and initiatives document would have an impact. JUSCANZ announced the acceptance of the Republic of Korea into its group.
Actions to be taken at the national level by governments: In 102 (l), on mainstreaming a gender perspective into national immigration and asylum policies, JUSCANZ noted that language on assessing Convention grounds for granting asylum had been agreed and language on extending protection from gender-related persecution had been deleted. She clarified that the reference described the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, and stated that inclusion of this reference was legally necessary. The G-77/CHINA opposed referring to the Convention, which remains bracketed, but agreed to the proposed deletion. The rest of the paragraph was agreed.
Delegates met in a small working group on 111 (a), on employment for women. Working Group II agreed to their proposal for language on facilitating employment for women through, inter alia: promotion of adequate social protection; simplification of administrative procedures; removal of fiscal obstacles, where appropriate; and other measures such as access to risk capital, credit schemes, micro-credit and other funding facilitating the establishment of micro and small and medium enterprises. Delegates agreed to delete 111(c), on national labor laws giving appropriate protection to women workers, and to address related issues in paragraph 127 (d), under actions to be taken at the national and international level by governments and international institutions.
In 112 (a), on institutional mechanisms working with national machineries and NGOs and strengthening support for gender equality, delegates agreed to a G-77/China proposal to refer to cooperation with civil society, particularly women's NGOs. JUSCANZ proposed adding a reference to institutional mechanisms at all levels of government. After the G-77/CHINA objected to this phrase, Chair Bhattacharjee suggested removing the reference to government, and the paragraph was agreed. Delegates then agreed to G-77/China formulations of: 112 (d), on considering the establishment of effective commissions or other institutions to promote equal opportunities, and 112 (e), on strengthening efforts to fully implement national action plans developed for the implementation of the POA and, where necessary, adjusting or developing national plans for the future.
In 113 (a), on sex-disaggregated data, delegates agreed to a G-77/China proposal to remove a reference to national statistical offices' services being demand driven, and to a JUSCANZ proposal to include text on formats that are accessible to the public and to policy makers. Delegates disagreed with the use of the word indicators, with the G-77/CHINA preferring substitution of a reference to statistical data. JUSCANZ opposed this option, and it remains bracketed. In 113 (b), on developing national capacity to undertake policy-oriented research and impact studies, delegates agreed to specify that these should be gender-related. The EU proposed moving the text to 126 (a), under national and international actions by governments and international organizations. After the G-77/CHINA opposed, delegates agreed it should remain in its current position.
Actions to be taken at the national level by governments, the private sector, NGOs and other civil society actors: Working Group II agreed to negotiations conducted by a small group on a series of paragraphs related to work. In EU-proposed text merging 111 (b) and 118 (b), on ensuring and safeguarding the rights of women workers, delegates agreed to G-77/China amendments including: reference to protecting and promoting rights, text on removing stereotypical attitudes instead of behavioral barriers, and deletion of reference to unequal treatment of workers' rights. Delegates also agreed to an EU merger of 118 (a), 118 (j) and 128 (g), on policies and programmes to enhance women's employability, with several G-77/China references, including text specifying access to quality jobs instead of improving the quality of employment. Delegates also agreed to EU text combining 118 (f), 118 (g) and 127 (k), on family friendly policies and services.