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UN General Assembly Special Session (Beijing +5): Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century
New York; 5-9 June 2000

BNT (version française)

 

Highlights from Friday 9 June and Saturday 10 June

The ENB summary and analysis is now available (also in PDF and ASCII)

Click here for "Faces at Beijing+5" Page

Plenary speeches can be found at: http://www.un.org/ga/webcast/stat.htm

On this page:
Closing Plenary
Final Committee of the Whole
Final day and night of negotiations

WHO and UNHCR Statements

Outcome Document

Consensus reached and Outcome document adopted by the GA!! At 5:00 am Saturday 10 June, delegates reached consensus on the document. The final COW was convened at 3:00 pm on Saturday and the document was sent to the GA for adoption. The Closing Plenary of the 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly adopted the Outcome document and adjourned at approximately 8:00 PM on Saturday 10 June. . . Delegates met all day in working groups, contact groups and informally. The Committee of the Whole, chaired by CSW PrepCom Chair Christina Kapalata, Tanzania (right), met in an formal session in the afternoon to hear statements from UN agencies and NGOs. The Bureau held a meeting at 8:00 PM The COW was scheduled to reconvene informally at 9:00 PM, but did not reconvene until after 11:00 PM Delegates adopted the agreed on paragraphs and continued negotiations on outstanding and highly contentious paragraphs related to, inter alia, cultural diversity, unilateral measures, land mines, abortion, and reproductive rights. Negotiations concluded at 5:00 am and the final session of the COW convened at 3:00 PM on Saturday 10 June to adopt the Outcomes document and to forward it to the General Assembly for adoption. The Closing Plenary immediately followed and the GA adopted the Outcome document on further actions and initiatives to implement the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action.

Photo: Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, President of the 54th Session of the General Assembly in the informal COW in the late night hours of Friday (right);

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Head of the US delegation, addresses the Special Session, condemned trafficking and discussed activities the US has undertaken to fight trafficking. She said globalization should not mean marginalization, and we should look more at how trade can work for all people. Pictured here with US Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke
 

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8 June 7 June
6 June 5 June

 

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Closing Plenary. . . Delegates express their condolences for the passing of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad


In his closing remarks, GA President Theo-Ben Gurirab said there was no backward movement on any of the Beijing language or commitments and the PFA remains valid for national and international actions and highlighted progress made on issues such as violence against women, trafficking, health, including the right to sexual and reproductive health, education, human rights, poverty, debt relief and globalization, armed conflict, sovereignty, land and inheritance rights for women, political participation and decisionmaking. He said Beijing+5 was to further the global agenda for the advancement of women through inclusive governance, empowerment and gender equality. He urged governments to demonstrate the necessary political will in implementing the PFA. He wished delegates godspeed and in reference to the upcoming Special Session for Copenhagen+5, he closed with "Geneva, here we come!"


Rwanda expressed grave disappointment that paragraph 51 was adopted without reference to "genocide and other crimes against humanity", which he said was not included because of a technicality. He said this omission sends a message to the UN that these crimes have not been taken seriously, and that genocide should be condemned by all member states. He thanked South Africa, Sudan, Iran all all the delegates who supported their call for inclusion of this language.

Suriname, on behalf of CARICOM, hightlighted Structural Adjustment Programmes, high external debt and globalization as challenging presenting obstacles for implementing the PFA. She said CARICOM was pleased with the consensus reached on the issue of violence against women.


Nigeria, on behalf of the G-77/China, said developing countries have undertaken policy reforms and have demonstrated the necessary poltical will, and called on developed countries and MlI to call to support in concrete terms through financial assistance and said this is the only way developing countries will be able to implement commitments. Portugal, on behalf of the European Union, lamented it was not possible to include language on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or language agreed at ICPD+5 regading abortion issues. He was disappointed that there was no explicit refernece to sexual rights of women, but was pleased with language on violence against women, which recognized honor killings and marital rape as crimes.

The United States highlighted nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and said omission of this from the Outcomes document does not in any way condone discrimination in any country. She said the US continues to have reservations that foreign occupation is a human rights violation per se. She said the US has reservations and is concerned with the language on paragraphs 29, 30ter and 125c, related to globalization., and that it disassociates itself with 133mbis on disarmament. She also said the US cannot agree to an increase in funding other than through a reallocation of existing resources or if non-government funding is involved.

The Sudenese delegations


Cuba said that language agreed in certain paragraphs reflect a great deal of flexibility on the part of the Cuban delegation and that this flexibility must not be construed as setting a precedent for future negotiation processes and further evaluations of the results of other ongoing or future summit conferences.

The final Committee of the Whole. . .
Delegates express their condolences in the COW for the passing of Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and solidarity with the people of Syria

Chair Christina Kapalata said she had been humbled by her experiences as Chairperson and said the women of the world deserve nothing less than peace, development and equality in the 21st century

In her closing remarks, Angela King, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, said today was a milestone and everyone can be proud of the document achieved. She said we cannot rest and must continue in order to not slip back from progress made. She thanked NGOs for their input, pressure and advocacy and their assurance that there would be a successful outcome, and Chair Kapalata who stepped in at the 11th hour to "rescue" the negotiations.


Delegates mingle before the final COW on Saturday

Angela King and Chair Christina Kapalata

Chair Kapalata with Vice-Chair and Rapporteur Monica Martinez, Ecuador

The final night of negotiations . . . Delegates met all night to resolve outstanding paragraphs on morning hours on Friday. . . . .
Some of the issues NGOs identified as being strengthened in the agreed language of the Beijing+5 Outcomes document were as follows: Health: Maternal mortality, making it a health sector priority; Education programmes to enable men to practice safer sex; Gender aspects of diseases such as malaria; Affirm the goals of ICPD+5; and Health sector reform, impact on women's access to health services. Violence: Honor killings and forced marriage, addressed for the first time in an international consensus document; Dowry related violence, strengthened language calling on governments to take comprehensive measures to eliminate it; and Marital rape legislation and stronger mechanisms are called for to address all forms of domestic violence. Globalization: Recognition of negative impacts on women and gender differences, and Ensuring equal access to social protection; equal participation in macroeconomic decisionmaking. Economy: Right to inheritance and property rights; Right to housing; Gender budgets; and ILO Declaration on women's rights at work. Human Rights: Ratify Optional Protocol to CEDAW; Right gender related asylum; and Increased recognition of specific needs and rights of indigenous women. Political Empowerment: Quotas and other measures to increase women's participation in political parties and parliaments. Some participants regretted that there was not nougat political will on the part of some governments and the UN system to agree on a stronger document with more concrete benchmarks, numerical goals, time-bound targets, indicators and resources aimed at implementing Beijing+5, noting that the Political Declaration reaffirms that governments have the responsibility to implement the PFA. Photos: Working Group I Chair Kirsten Mlacak with Syria and Working Group II Chair Asith Bhattacharjee

Throughout the night, delegates huddled in corners attempting to resolve text on outstanding issues. In these photos above, the US and Cuba try to make a deal on treatment of sanctions and unilateral measures in the text

ENB writers Violette Larouch and Wendy Jackson speak with Nigerian Delegates
The Secretariat kept track of all the text of the paragraphs

Statements presented to the Committee of the Whole . . .

 

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, WHO said there isn't a single country in the world where men and women enjoy equal opportunities. She said improving women's health means: reducing the risk of dying when giving life to a child; ensuring the right to protect themselves against infection of HIV/AIDS; and speaking out against all forms of violence, including trafficking and female genital mutilation.

Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said it is vital that all states adopt a gender analysis in all legislation, programmes and policies and expressed concern that certain states still refuse to recognize marital rape, do not condemn honor killings and that domestic violens remains one of the greatest barriers to women's equality. She called attention to the gender dimension of racism. She paid tribute to the women's NGOs for their work, and expressed concern that certain delegations have negotiated in such a way so as to try to trade what she considers to be fundamental human rights.

The Historical Journey: 25 Years of International Women's Conference Organized by the Department of Public Information . Photos (left to right):Angela King, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Leticia Shahani, Secretary-General of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the UN Decade for Women: Equity, Development and Peace, Nairobi, 1985, Therese Gastaut, Director of the DPI Public Affairs Division, who served as Conference Spokeswoman at the Nairobi and Beijing Conferences, and Gertrude Mongella, Secretary-General of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 1995

Panel Discussion: "Women: The New Leadership for United Nations Agencies," Organized by WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNHCR and UNFPA
Left to Right: Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director, UNFPA, Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCR, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, WHO, Moderator Patricia Ellis, Executive Director, Women's Foreign Policy Group, Catherine Bertini, Executive Director, World Food Programme, and Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF

The Sultanate of Oman: Coordination Committee for Women's Voluntary Work

le site web des femmes d'Afrique francophone: www.famafrique.org



ENB Summary of CSW-44 and the Informal Consultations
Linkages FWCW page
UN Division for the Advancement of Women Beijing +5 Site with official documents and information for participants

Special Events during the Special Session
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