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WORKING GROUP I

COMMITMENT 5: (equity and equality between the sexes) The EU agreed to the chapeau but replaced "equity" with "equality." Pakistan said that Islamic countries could not accept unqualified equality between the sexes. The US referred to womens" contribution to social progress. Canada referred to the eradication of gender discrimination. The G-77 and China proposed "dignity" after "full" and "of opportunity" after "equality." In a spirit of compromise, "opportunity" was dropped and "dignity" was included. In 5(a) (promote change), the EU"s inclusion of women with disabilities and the US"s addition of "structures" were accepted. The Russian Federation said that equality between the sexes could not be achieved, however the Chair pointed out that biological differences were not being discussed. In 5(b) (gender balance in decision-making), the G-77 and China referred to collective organization at grassroots levels and affirmative action. The EU added integration of a gender perspective. Norway proposed removing restrictions to womens" rights to land-ownership and credit. The Holy See supported the rights of the girl- child. The US added access to education and property. Consensus was reached incorporating the various proposals. In 5(c) (elimination of exploitation), the G-77 and China included the elimination of all kinds of violence and discrimination against women. The EU added a new (b)(bis) on the equitable partnership between the sexes in family life. In (c), the EU added references to sexual exploitation, trafficking and human rights and the US referred to domestic violence and rape. The G-77 and China preferred a collective reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Women. EU text on the general rights of women was accepted, pending further discussion by the G-77 and China, who, supported by the US, added a reference to the right to development. Norway proposed Cairo language for a new (c) bis on reproductive health care. The Holy See referred to international literacy. The G-77 and China agreed to review the EU proposal for 5(bb) on equitable partnership in family life and society. In 5(d) (ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination), the G-77 and China deleted "removal of reservations" and added the target of the year 2000. The EU suggested Vienna language, "removal of reservations which run counter to the goals and purposes of the Convention," as a compromise. The G-77 and China insisted on their proposal, arguing that many developing countries have reserved for religious and cultural reasons. Delegates agreed to refer to the Cairo and Geneva instruments. Delegates also agreed to the G-77 and China proposal on measuring womens" work in the unpaid and domestic sectors. The EU bracketed "measuring."

COMMITMENT 6: (Africa) The G-77 and China replaced "promoting" with "accelerating." Costa Rica referred to countries "consolidating peace and solidarity," and the G-77 and China noted that amendments made by its individual members would have to be dealt with "within the family." The EU accepted the G-77 and China"s proposal. They also proposed a new 6(a) on national structural adjustment policies and development strategies for trade, human development and democratic institutions. The G-77 and China reserved on structural adjustment and Zimbabwe and Mauritania noted that Commitment 7 dealt with this. They could not accept restructuring without social safety nets and called for Commitment 6 to focus only on Africa. The Chair suggested that SAPs should not be included here, but that reference should be made to economic reform efforts undertaken in Africa and LDCs. The G-77 and China objected to the US qualifier "as appropriate" and to Japan"s reference to south-south cooperation. In 6(b) (external debt), Switzerland proposed language on finding a realistic and comprehensive solution to the external debt problem by taking urgent actions on a case-by-case basis. The G-77 and China objected to the references to "realistic" and "case-by-case." Canada, Japan, and the EU proposed texts were transmitted to the drafting group, despite Benin"s concern that the group should not deal with such a political matter. 6(c) (support for African reform efforts) was agreed, subject to Costa Rica"s request for a reference to Central America. In 6(d) (ODA), the US and the EU did not accept the language and proposed "increase the impact of ODA." The G-77 and China strongly objected to the proposal, noting that what they are asking for is a "living up to" of existing ODA commitments, especially for LDCs in Africa. Australia added "consistent with countries" circumstances and their capacities to assist." The Chair suggested that the Working Group consider Chapter V (Implementation and Follow-up) before considering Commitments 7, 8 and 9. However, some delegations preferred to deal with the financial matters in the Commitments. The Rio Group preferred to continue with the Commitments because it had a new proposal. The G-77 and China said that it had not received prior information on the procedural change. The US wanted to add two new paragraphs in Commitment 6, one dealing with ratification of the Desertification Convention and support for African countries in this matter, and the other on measures to deal with communicable diseases, particularly the HIV virus. Benin added malaria. Guyana requested that the second paragraph not be limited to Africa. The G-77 and China noted that references to diseases like AIDs, malaria and tuberculosis were relevant for the entire world.

COMMITMENT 7: (Structural Adjustment Programmes) The G-77 and China wanted to ensure that structural adjustment programmes eradicate poverty, generate full and productive employment and develop social integration, which the EU accepted. Switzerland suggested that SAPs be designed as an integral element of comprehensive national development strategies, which the G-77 and China reserved on. It was consequently withdrawn. The US preferred "promoting" instead of "ensuring."

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