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THE 39th SESSION OF THE CSW

The 39th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, acting as the preparatory committee for the FWCW, held its third and final preparatory session at UN Headquarters in New York from 15 March to 7 April 1995. This session presented the first opportunity for delegates to examine and negotiate the draft Platform for Action. Due to the number of amendments to the draft Platform and the lack of agreement on numerous issues, negotiations moved to informal sessions early in the meeting and delegates agreed to extend the CSW by three days in order to complete examination of the draft Platform.

The draft Platform, as adopted during the CSW (A/CONF.177/L.1), consisted of six chapters: the mission statement; the global framework; critical areas of concern; strategic objectives and actions; institutional arrangements; and financial arrangements. The twelve critical areas of concern, which are the focus of the Platform, relate to: women in poverty; education; health care; violence against women; effects of conflict on women; power-sharing and decision-making; mechanisms to promote the advancement of women; human rights; mass media; women's management of natural resources and the environment; and the girl child. The section on the girl child was added during the CSW, as proposed by the African Group. In addition, a draft Declaration was drawn up by the G-77/China for negotiation and adoption at the FWCW.

Two key debates marked the session. A small group of delegations objected to some sections of the draft that reaffirmed commitments adopted at previous UN conferences, notably the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo. Secondly, a number of delegations objected to the use of the term "gender" in the Platform and proposed that it be bracketed throughout the text. A Contact Group was set up to report on this question to the FWCW.

Mindful of modest resource commitments and with a view to pressing for an action-oriented Conference in Beijing, the meeting also focused on two initiatives: an Australian call for a "Conference of Commitments," and a proposal to install an ombudswoman in the office of the Secretary-General. At the close of the CSW, 40 percent of the draft Platform remained in brackets.

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