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SUMMARY OF THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN: : 4-15 SEPTEMBER 1995

The Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW) met in Beijing, China, from 4 to 15 September 1995. Delegates discussed and adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. They also heard Plenary statements and commitments from member States regarding the actions they would take to promote equality, development and peace for and with the women of the world.

Four official negotiating groups, two Working Groups and two Contact Groups, were formed at the FWCW, as were numerous informal groups, to reach agreement on the draft Platform for Action and the Beijing Declaration. Work progressed at a slow but steady pace throughout the negotiations. Night and weekend sessions were necessary to provide adequate time for consultation, and agreement was reached on all but three of the outstanding issues by Thursday, 14 September. Two of the outstanding issues — a footnote reference to implementation in accordance with religious and cultural values and references to non-discrimination based on "sexual orientation" – were decided by rulings from the Chair during a late night session of the Main Committee on 14 September.

Delegates to one of the largest UN conferences ever held emerged from the FWCW with a 38-paragraph Declaration and 345-paragraph Platform. Several dozen countries made reservations, but all nations joined the consensus to adopt and implement most, if not all, of the document, which calls for action to achieve equality, development and peace.