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Fourth World Conference on Women Informal Consulations

4 August 1995

Briefing Note #5

by Lynn Wagner and Langston James Goree VI

The final day of the week long informal consultation on the draft Platform for Action for the Fourth World Conference on Women, which will be held in Beijing in September, took place on 4 August 1995. Delegates had gathered with the goal of resolving some of the issues that were left outstanding during the CSW/PrepCom in April, 1995. On Friday, delegates continued to work in two Working Groups, examining issues by clusters, or groups of bracketed text that addressed similar topics. A Plenary meeting was held at the end of the day to discuss organizational issues for Beijing.

Working Group I, chaired by Patricia Licuanan (Philippines), made significant progress during the morning in removing brackets from text in the institutional framework cluster. Issues on which resolution was reached include references to monitoring and coordinating mechanisms, women in the secretariat, and national machinery. During the afternoon, the Group reviewed their weeks' work.

Working Group II, chaired by Irene Freudenschuss (Austria), again took up the cluster of text related to issues of diversity, including questions of groups of special concern. The Group debated references to data collection and analysis by race and ethnicity, laws against discrimination based on age, and migration policies, but did not reach a consensus. During an afternoon session, delegates were able to agree to language on references to vulnerable groups.

The Plenary met at the close of the informal consultations to discuss conference organization questions. Registration will open at 9:30 am on 25 August, 1995, at the tennis hall, which is close to the Beijing International Conference Centre (BICC). Pre-consultations will be held on 2-3 September, 1995, to discuss organizational and procedural matters. The report of the contact group on gender will also be presented. On 4 September, a welcoming ceremony will be held at 10:00 am in the Great Hall of the People. The formal opening of the conference will take place at 3:00 pm on 4 September in the BICC.

The proposed organization of work was also presented. Morning and afternoon sessions are planned for a Plenary and two working groups, beginning 5 September. The Plenary will hear statements from government delegates, as well as intergovernmental organization and non-governmental organization representatives. The suggested speech length is seven minutes, and speakers were requested to clearly state their indications of action, to enable the Secretariat to take note of their commitments. The Working Groups will each be assigned part of the Platform, and will work chapter-by-chapter to resolve outstanding issues. The final distribution of chapters that each group will examine will be decided during the pre-conference consultations. The Main Committee will meet as the working groups make substantial progress, to finalize the text and send it to New York for translation. One or two contact groups may be necessary to facilitate a timely finish. The issues that the contact groups are likely to discuss are the section on health and the proposed Declaration.

At the close of the Plenary, many delegates commented on the important role this week has played in the progression of the draft Platform for Action. Delegates were urged to continue the informal discussions that have taken place here on issues that remain unresolved.

The Secretariat intends to complete its compilation of work accomplished during this informal consultation by Wednesday, 9 September. The "non-paper" will be A/CONF.177/L.3. The report of the contact group on gender should also be available soon as A/CONF.177/L.2.

The opinions expressed in this briefing note are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from this briefing note may be used in other publications with appropriate citation. �