Report of main proceedings for 1 June 2000
Informal Consultations of the 44th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (Beijing+5 PrepCom)
On Thursday, 1 June, the PrepCom met to continue informal consultations. Working Group I discussed Section III in the morning and afternoon. Working Group II discussed Section IV in evening and late-night sessions. The contact group facilitated by Vice-Chair Patricia Flor met in the morning, afternoon and evening to discuss paragraphs on human rights. The contact group facilitated by Vice-Chair Misako Kaji (Japan) met in the afternoon to negotiate text on trafficking.
WORKING GROUP I
SECTION III: CURRENT CHALLENGES
In paragraph 29, on globalization, delegates deleted language not having a gender focus and preferred referring to inequalities, rather than inequities, among and within countries. In 30 bis, on globalization and structural adjustment, delegates noted but did not discuss an EU reformulation. In G-77/China-proposed 30 ter, on the debt burden faced by most developing countries, JUSCANZ, opposed by the G-77/ CHINA, preferred reference to many developing countries. The paragraph remains bracketed.
JUSCANZ, with the EU, called for deletion of G-77/China-proposed 30 quater, on unilateral coercive measures. The G-77/ CHINA preferred retention. Delegates deleted a reference to the negative impact of economic sanctions on women and children, noting it would be considered under paragraph 13. The sub-paragraph remains bracketed. JUSCANZ and the EU advocated deletion of new 30 quater, on economic sanctions. The sub-paragraph, which remains bracketed, was renamed 30 quater bis by Chair Mlacak. Paragraphs 29-30 quater bis were forwarded to small group consultations.
In paragraph 31, on science and technology creating new qualified jobs, job classifications and ways of working, several delegates advocated deleting the references to qualified and, opposed by the EU, job classifications. SLAC preferred "contributing to the creation" to "creating new." Delegates agreed on contributing to the creation of jobs, and new job classifications and ways of working. Delegates also agreed on a reference to technological change bringing new opportunities for all women in all fields if they have equal access, and adequate training, but several delegates opposed text on women being actively involved in the definition, design, development, implementation and gender impact evaluation of these changes. SADC, SRI LANKA and NIGERIA stressed retaining the language. CHINA queried the relationship that design, development and implementation have with technological change. LIBYA and ALGERIA called for brackets. SLAC suggested referring to challenges and not changes. LIBYA opposed "definition," which remains bracketed. Delegates could not decide on the reference to gender impact evaluation of policies related to these "changes" or to "new challenges." In a reference to new communications technologies, delegates agreed to SADCs specification that many women are yet to effectively use these, and, in a list of applications, they accepted a JUSCANZ reference to business, a Philippines reference to education, and an EU reference to media consultation. JUSCANZ withdrew its proposal on the benefits of technological advances. In a sentence on exclusion from this new field, delegates agreed on a reference to millions of the worlds poorest. They accepted Algerias proposal, amended by JUSCANZ, to refer to these millions being currently excluded, and approved SLACs suggested language on the poorest not having access to and benefit from science and technology.
Chair Mlacak noted the integration of an alternative formulation for paragraph 34, on CEDAW, into paragraph 21, on obstacles to human rights. In paragraph 36, on demographic trends, delegates agreed to SLACs reference to some countries and JUSCANZs reference to chronic health conditions. They moved JUSCANZ-proposed text on the implications for, inter alia, research to the first sentence. SLAC proposed, and all agreed, to delete JUSCANZ language on social challenges related to widows and a rise in chronic diseases as a major cause of mortality for women. JUSCANZ text on the current generation of young people and the needs of adolescent girls and young women was accepted, and the paragraph was agreed.
Delegates accepted G-77/China-proposed 37 bis, as submitted by the contact group on health, on substance abuse. In paragraph 38, on dealing with natural disasters, SADC, with NIGERIA, proposed retaining references to prevention and implementation strategies, and preferred reference to "raised" over "increased" awareness. SLAC called for retention of text on the inefficiencies of existing approaches and intervention methods in responding to emergency situations, and suggested alternative placement. ST. KITTS AND NEVIS proposed adding reference to inadequacies. SENEGAL proposed, but ALGERIA and ST. KITTS AND NEVIS opposed, reference to incorporating a gender perspective "during emergencies." With all amendments except the last, the paragraph was agreed.
In paragraph 41, on gender equality and relations, delegates left language on CEDAW pending. On the changing context of gender relations and the discussion on gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights having led to increased reassessment of gender roles, LIBYA, IRAN and others expressed difficulty with the reference to sexual and reproductive rights. LIBYA advocated bracketing the paragraph. SLAC said the reference was inappropriate in this context. NIGERIA preferred reference to sexual and reproductive health. The PHILIPPINES preferred reference to productive and reproductive roles. The three alternatives remain bracketed. On these factors having also encouraged a discussion on the roles and responsibilities of women and men in working towards gender equality and the need for changing the stereotypical roles and identities of women and men, SLAC opposed the EUs proposal to substitute "traditional" for "stereotypical" and suggested adding text on it being made clear that women and men must work together to realize gender equality. JUSCANZ preferred text on roles limiting womens full potential. The HOLY SEE proposed stereotypical roles that limit womens full potential. The EU suggested, but delegates deferred discussion on, text referring to the need for a balanced participation of women and men in remunerated and unremunerated work. IRAN bracketed "identities." The PHILLIPPINES, opposed by SADC, preferred "behavior" to identities. Brackets remain on references to: stereotypical and traditional roles, limiting womens full potential, and identities or behavior of women and men.
On the issue of remunerated and unremunerated work, delegates considered a SLAC formulation. The EU and JUSCANZ favored using this text as a basis for negotiation, and withdrew their own proposals. JUSCANZ opposed an EU suggestion to delete language on "measuring the real value" of unremunerated work for women. The EU suggested language on insufficient sharing of tasks and responsibilities with men. JUSCANZ proposed adding text on the need for balanced participation between women and men in remunerated and unremunerated work and called for including reference to the disproportionate burden for women "in comparison with men." JUSCANZ also suggested deleting references to development and to the need to measure womens unremunerated work in quantitative terms and value it in national accounts. Discussion on these proposals was deferred.
Chair Mlacak commended the group on the completion of a first reading of Section III, and highlighted paragraphs 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 23, and 24 for further consideration during Fridays second reading.
WORKING GROUP II
SECTION IV: FURTHER ACTIONS AND INITIATIVES
National and International Actions: Delegates agreed to delete 130(h), on encouraging the media to reduce and eliminate stereotyping of woman and girls. In 132(a), on improved knowledge and availability of, and accessibility to, remedies against denial or violation of rights, ALGERIA, with IRAN and MOROCCO, proposed placement under national actions. ALGERIA suggested bracketing text on "international judicial and quasi-judicial procedures." CHINA, with SLAC, proposed deletion of text on "gender-sensitive courts" and addition of "when appropriate" before "independent human rights institutions." NIGERIA agreed to a Holy See proposal to delete reference to the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. JAMAICA opposed. Delegates agreed on a Holy See redraft text of the first phrase on improving knowledge and awareness of the remedies available for violations of the human rights of women, and a corollary suggestion to place the remainder of the sub-paragraph under national actions.
Delegates agreed on EU-proposed 132(b), on promoting and protecting the human rights of all migrant women. In Holy See-proposed 132(c), on encouraging an appreciation for the central role that religion, spirituality and belief play in the lives of millions of women and men, JAMAICA suggested a redraft on respecting the right of women and men to freedom of thought. ZAMBIA also suggested a reformulation on encouraging a greater appreciation of the central role that religion, spirituality and belief play in the lives of women and men, and in this regard, protecting and promoting womens rights which must be universally enjoyed. The paragraph remains bracketed.
In 132(d), on encouraging cooperation between governmental authorities, parliaments, the judiciary and womens rights groups, delegates agreed to place it under national actions, and to accept ALGERIA-proposed text on womens organizations including NGOs. IRAN proposed text on implementation of the PFA. CHINA suggested language on ensuring that legislation is anti-discriminatory. The paragraph is pending.
Delegates agreed to refer to contact groups both 132(f), on protection for defenders of womens human rights, and 132 (g), on a gender perspective in human rights mechanisms. After slight amendments by various delegations, participants agreed to a SLAC merged reformulation of 132(h) and (i), on taking measures to enable older women to be actively engaged in all aspects of life, as well as assume a variety of roles in communities, public life and decision-making, and develop and implement policies and programmes to ensure their full enjoyment of human rights and quality of life, as well as to address their needs, with a view to contributing to the realization of a society for all ages. Delegates also agreed to placement under national actions.
At 10:00 pm, delegates anticipated completing a first reading of Section IV during the late-night session.
The contact group facilitated by Vice-Chair Patricia Flor began discussing text on human rights, with debate over references to CEDAW. The contact group facilitated by Vice-Chair Misako Kaji reached consensus on text on trafficking, but delegates unable to attend the meeting later reported that they would not be able to accept the text once it is presented to the larger group.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Strong interventions are flowing from the new round of issue experts from capitals, who now outnumber other kinds of experts from New York. One of the most vocal of the latter was reportedly exiled to the corridors, and filibustering is no longer the order of the day. Does this come soon enough? Observers note hot political disputes have flared over any suggestion to drop sections of the document as a means to reach agreement by next Friday. Some groups simply favor deletion within the sections wherever possible. One delegate quipped that the PrepCom should republish the PFA, bound in a different cover, naturally. With four sessions a day to clear hundreds of brackets away, thats one idea that might rapidly gain multilateral consensus.
Things to Look For
PLENARY: The PrepCom will meet at 3:00 pm in Conference Room 1 to discuss preparations for the Special Session and adoption of the PrepCom report.
WORKING GROUPS: 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 4:00pm in Conference Room 1, and at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm in Conference Room 2.
CONTACT GROUPS: Contact groups will meet at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm in Conference Room 6, and at 7:00 pm in Conference Room 9.