Summary report, 8–16 May 2000
Informal Consultations of the 44th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (Beijing+5 PrepCom)
The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Special Session of the General Assembly entitled Women 2000: Gender equality, development and peace for the 21st century, also known as Beijing +5, reconvened to consider further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (PFA). The current document is a streamlined version of the proposed outcome document for the Special Session (E/CN.6/2000/PC/L.1/Rev.3) and was prepared by the open-ended extended Bureau group, following negotiations from 28 February to 17 March 2000, and intersessionals on 8, 9, 11, 15 and 16 May.
On Monday, 8 May, PrepCom Chair Christine Kapalata (Tanzania) opened the intersessionals by urging governments to advance the cause of the world's women beyond the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW). On Thursday, 11 May, Angela King, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, noted that grassroots women have used the PFA to advance their rights, and emphasized that Beijing +5 should be a forum for concrete action. By Tuesday, 16 May, delegates had reached agreement on 38 out of 293 paragraphs and sub-paragraphs. Working Group I discussed Section II, on achievements and obstacles, and Section III, on current challenges. Working Group II debated Section IV, on further actions and initiatives.
WORKING GROUP I
SECTION II: ACHIEVEMENTS AND OBSTACLES
Women and Poverty: In agreed paragraph 4, on achievements, delegates accepted G-77/CHINA references to, inter alia, efforts by governments, in cooperation with NGOs, to integrate gender perspectives into poverty eradication; and international financial institutions (IFIs) giving increased attention to incorporating gender perspectives in their policies. Delegates agreed on references to microcredit widening economic opportunities and to tools being developed to enhance the different impacts of poverty on women and men. In paragraph 5, on obstacles, delegates agreed to a G-77/CHINA deletion of a list specifying vulnerable and marginalized groups. Brackets remain on references to, inter alia, military spending, foreign occupation, official development assistance (ODA) targets and globalization.
Education: In agreed paragraph 6, on achievements, delegates accepted a G-77/CHINA proposal noting increased awareness that education is one of the most valuable means to achieve gender equality. In paragraph 7, on obstacles, brackets remain on references to political will and the impact of structural adjustment programmes (SAPs). Delegates agreed to a G-77/China formulation affirming that in a number of countries, economic, social and infrastructural barriers, as well as traditional discriminatory practices, contributed to lower enrolment and retention rates for girls.
Violence: In paragraph 10, on achievements, delegates agreed to, inter alia, an EU proposal on laws to prosecute perpetrators of violence, and to G-77/China language on recognition at all levels of violence as a health issue. CROATIA, with JUSCANZ, supported language on cooperation between governments and NGOs in preventing violence. The G- 77/CHINA opposed, and it remains bracketed. Delegates agreed to text recognizing female genital mutilation (FGM) as a form of violence against women. Sentences on violence against women as a human rights violation remain bracketed pending EU consideration. In paragraph 11, on obstacles, delegates agreed to G-77/China formulated text, with amendments, on, inter alia: inadequate data; discriminatory socio-cultural attitudes and economic inequalities; and weak legislative measures. The EU opposed a reference to pornography. It remains bracketed. JUSCANZ proposed text on the lack of programmes dealing with perpetrators. The G-77/ CHINA opposed, and no agreement was reached. Brackets also remain on JUSCANZ proposals for, inter alia, linking fragmented prevention strategies to women's vulnerability to violence.
Armed Conflict: In paragraph 12, on achievements, delegates agreed on, inter alia, the different impacts of armed conflict on women and men; women's contribution to peacemaking and conflict resolution; and gender-based persecution as a basis for refugee status. Brackets remain on references to, inter alia, a gender-sensitive appli- cation of international human rights and humanitarian law, displaced women, financial resources, religious organizations, arms reduction and the antipersonnel mines convention.
Decision-making: In paragraph 17, on obstacles, delegates lifted brackets on, inter alia: the gross under- representation of women; the awareness of women to engage in decision-making; and the willingness of men to share power. The G-77/CHINA could not agree to a JUSCANZ proposal to add prevention to text on conflict resolution mechanisms. The G-77/CHINA continued to oppose language on clear and transparent appointment and selection criteria. References to sufficient dialogue with women's NGOs and to the failure to adapt organizational and political structures to make them woman-friendly also remain in brackets. The G-77/CHINA proposed alternative language, referring to the lack of adequate adaptation of organiza- tional and political structures in order to have more women in all spheres of political decision-making.
SECTION III: CURRENT CHALLENGES
In paragraph 28, on the context of PFA implementation, JUSCANZ supported a reference to insufficient political commitment. It remains bracketed. In paragraph 29, on globalization, delegates agreed to a G-77/China proposal that this has resulted in, rather than caused, inter alia, policy shifts in some countries. Delegates did not agree on other proposed elements, including references to, inter alia: the changing roles of the private sector; the gender impact of changes aiming at a better balance between economic, employment, and social policies and sustainable development; the effect of globalization on cultural values; and political changes, including new forms of governance and the growth of international civil society.
WORKING GROUP II
SECTION IV: FURTHER ACTIONS AND INITIATIVES
Delegates agreed to combine sub-paragraphs 100(a), (b), (c), (d) and (g), on using time-bound targets and measurable goals to promote progress toward women's full participation in all levels of public life. In agreed 102(a), on designing policies for women's human rights, delegates accepted an EU insertion of fundamental freedoms. In 102(b), on repealing all discriminatory legislation by 2005, the G-77/ CHINA objected to the date, and it remains bracketed. The G-77/ CHINA introduced new language for 102(d), calling for governments to, inter alia, consider ratifying CEDAW. JUSCANZ noted that original language called for ratifying. The G-77/CHINA proposed changing chapeau language from governments "must act" to "actions to be taken." The paragraph was agreed. The G-77/CHINA proposed deleting 102(e), on CEDAW compatibility. The EU and JUSCANZ opposed, and it remains bracketed.
Delegates agreed to EU-proposed text for 102(g), on signing the Optional Protocol to CEDAW. Sub-paragraphs 102(h) – (j) remain bracketed. In 102(h), on eliminating discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, race and sexual orientation, the G-77/CHINA, supported by the HOLY SEE, objected to referring to practices and procedures, and urged ending the text at the word discrimination. In 102(i), the HOLY SEE specified taking measures to ensure that maternity not provide a basis for discrimination, while JUSCANZ proposed new language on eliminating discriminatory practices that restrict women's full participation. The EU opposed merging 102(j), on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, with 102(h), noting that 102(j) specifically addresses homosexuality. In 102(k), on legislative and administrative reform, the G-77/CHINA proposed highlighting access by rural women and women living in poverty to land, inheritance, and credit. The EU added reference to economic resources, and the sub-paragraph was agreed. In 102(l), JUSCANZ accepted G-77/China text on protection for gender- related persecution. A reference to assessing grounds for granting asylum remains bracketed.
The G-77/CHINA reformulated 103(a), on reviewing and revising existing legislation on violence against women. The EU and JUSCANZ supported language emphasizing introduction of legislation. The sub-paragraph remains bracketed. In 103(c), on domestic violence, delegates accepted a JUSCANZ reference to strengthening appropriate mechanisms, but did not agree to family instead of domestic violence. Following G-77/CHINA opposition, brackets also remain on Turkey's proposed reference to marital rape and sexual abuse. In 103(d), the G-77/CHINA proposed, while the EU and TURKEY opposed, deletion of reference to FGM, forced marriages and honor crimes. The reference remains bracketed. Delegates agreed on sub-paragraphs 103(e), (f) and (h). In 103(e), on violence against women, they accepted undertaking rather than continuing research. In 103(f), on racism, they agreed on racially motivated violence against women and girls. In 103(h), on mental health services, they supported an EU reference to gender sensitive programmes.
In agreed 106(a), on the Convention on Biological Diversity, the EU, supported by the HOLY SEE, specified where appropriate. In an agreed merger of some of the sub- paragraphs under 109, on budgetary processes, delegates accepted references to, inter alia, adequate budgetary allocations, and monitoring and evaluation. The G-77/ CHINA proposed reformulating 109(b) to emphasize increasing investments in the social sector. JUSCANZ added language on utilizing investments appropriately and effectively. No consensus was reached.
In 111(a), on employment, delegates accepted references to, inter alia: promotion of adequate social protection; simplification of administrative procedures; and removal of fiscal obstacles, where appropriate. In 112(a), on institutional mechanisms working with national machineries and NGOs, delegates agreed to a G-77/China proposal to refer to cooperation with civil society, particularly women's NGOs. JUSCANZ proposed, and the G-77/CHINA opposed, reference to institutional mechanisms at all levels of government. The Chair suggested deleting the word "government," and the paragraph was agreed. Delegates accepted G-77/China formulations of: 112(d), on effective commissions or other institutions to promote equal opportu- nities; and 112(e), on national action plans to implement the PFA.
In 113(a), on sex-disaggregated data, delegates agreed to remove a reference to national statistical offices' services being demand driven, and to include a JUSCANZ proposal on formats that are accessible to the public and to policy makers. The G-77/CHINA opposed reference to indicators, and it remains bracketed. In agreed 113(b), on policy-oriented research and impact studies, delegates accepted specifying these should be gender-related. No agreement was reached on a G-77/ China proposal to delete 114(a), on policies that protect and promote women's human rights. In 114(b), on coalitions among, inter alia, NGOs to protect and promote women's human rights, delegates agreed to a G-77/China reference to collaborations. The G-77/CHINA opposed JUSCANZ insertions of partnerships and various levels of government. Brackets also remain on a Holy See reference to religious leaders, and on G-77/China text on the dignity and worth of the human person. In 117(a), on opportunities for women in politics, delegates accepted a G-77/China reformulation, including references to politics at all levels and to providing favorable conditions. The EU added reference to equal terms with men, and the paragraph was agreed. The G-77/CHINA proposed, and the EU and JUSCANZ opposed, deleting 117(b), on supporting women in senior positions. No agreement was reached.
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, inter alia, reference to protecting and promoting rights. Consensus was reached on an EU merger of 118(a), 118(j) and 128(g), on enhancing women's employability, which included a G- 77/China reference specifying access to quality jobs instead of improving the quality of employment. Delegates also accepted an EU combination of 118(f), 118(g) and 127(k), on family friendly policies and services. The G- 77/CHINA proposed a new 118(a) bis, on strengthening microfinance instruments through support of IFIs. The sub- paragraph was agreed and moved to 127(e) bis. Delegates reached consensus on a G-77/China reformulation of 118(d), on women entrepreneurs, after deleting a reference to emerging enterprises. They accepted 118(e), on equal pay for equal work.
In 127(d), on international labor laws, 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. JUSCANZ suggested reference to various forms of employment, particularly those affecting women. The G- 77/CHINA preferred language on, inter alia, national labor laws. No agreement was reached.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
Working Group I will meet at 10:00 am and continue work on Sections II and III. Working Group II will meet at 3:00 pm and continue work on Section IV.