The Chair opened the second day of the CSW and announced the Bureau"s decision to form a working group to examine the questions raised Wednesday regarding NGO accreditation. Each regional group will have two members on the committee.
The floor was then opened again for statements under Agenda Item 3, Preparatory activities for the Fourth World Conference on Women. The UK announced that the final report of the Gender Working Group of the UN Commission on Science and Technology would be made available to the CSW. The report concludes that: women and girls are under-represented in scientific and technical education and careers; rural development programmes have failed to target the needs of women; and the specific needs of both women and men need to be taken into account in research and development of new technology. PAKISTAN noted that new measures to empower women challenge patriarchal, social and economic structures. The delegate also stated that state sponsored violence in Bosnia and Kashmir has specifically targeted women and that rape has been used as a weapon of war to punish and humiliate entire communities.
The EU called for a new partnership between men and women and a for a change in social organization to include women in decision-making processes. She stressed that the draft Platform for Action should concentrate on those issues that were priorities at the regional conferences. DENMARK stated that women are the key to social change and called for the Beijing Platform to use language already agreed upon in previous conferences. She stressed the need for eliminating violence against women and ensuring health rights. SWITZERLAND stressed the seriousness of violence against women, and the need to include women in decision- making processes, to give them more influence over decisions about conflict, which often leads to the violation of women"s human rights.
NEW ZEALAND described the role of Maori women in leading a renaissance of their indigenous culture. She expressed disappointment in the UN"s failure to realize the fundamental principle of equality of men and women in its own structures. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA noted that equal rights for women and sustainable development could not be realized without resource commitments from member states. The costs of implementing the Platform and mobilizing resources must be considered. Korea is currently constructing a center for women"s NGOs to use in the follow up to the Beijing Conference. BANGLADESH noted that the country"s constitution contains measures for affirmative action and that the national plan on women includes measures on access to health and education, and participation in the productive sector and national planning.
MEXICO stated that national preparatory efforts in his country have triggered interaction between women"s groups, and that his government has renewed its commitment to strengthen its program on women. He noted that: the poverty chapter does not mention measures needed to address structural aspects of the problem; the chapter on environment should add causes other than poverty for environmental deterioration; and the institutional section should call for strengthening existing bodies and coordination. JAPAN called for the mission statement to reaffirm the basis for the Platform for Action and reaffirmed her nation"s commitment to strengthen assistance for women in development. LATVIA described national efforts to identify the condition of Latvian women, stressed the need for a change of philosophy towards abandoned children, and noted the impact of a lack of family planning information.
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION described the activities of women"s organizations in her nation, and noted successes that the organizations have had in influencing state policy with regard to women. She supported an information center for NGOs. The G-77/CHINA suggested a separate section in the Platform for the girl-child. She stressed the link between violence and poverty, and the need for resources to implement programs to eliminate both of these at national and international levels. She also noted that education is the key to empowering women. The BAHAMAS supported the fund for undeveloped countries to attend conferences and Australia"s "Conference of Commitments" proposal. She called on regional commissions to participate in the follow-up to Beijing.
INDIA noted that economic independence is a key liberating factor and that the media has a critical role in the portrayal of women. He stressed that the girl-child should receive particular attention in all sections of the document and called for partnerships between governments and NGOs. A representative of the UN HIGH COMMISSIONER ON REFUGEES described the UNHCR"s efforts during the regional meetings to include the needs of refugee women in their Platforms. He encouraged delegates to retain the references to refugee and displaced women, and noted that all regions recognized that peace is a prerequisite for equality.
The OECD noted that donor countries recognize their specific obligations. The OECD nations stressed several issues regarding implementation, including strategic gender analysis and planning, transparency of implementing agencies, and adequate institutional capacity. The CONVENER OF THE NGO FORUM "95 stated that the political will of women had forced governments to take note and create the CSW. She hoped that the Fourth World Conference would be an opportunity to recall and celebrate women"s accomplishments, notably the linkages forged with other issues, including the environment, population, and economic and social development.
The INTERNATIONAL WORKING GROUP ON WOMEN AND SPORTS hoped to see women and sport on the agenda at international conferences such as Beijing, noting that inequality in sport is part of the wider issues facing women. SOUTH AFRICA stated that her government recognizes the need to establish programs and institutions to promote the advancement of women, especially in the areas of education, poverty, health, violence and empowerment. A Commission for Gender Equality has been established to advise on laws affecting gender and the status of women. AFGHANISTAN appealed for UN support for its post-war development strategies. She stated that resources were insufficient to identify the full scope of problems faced by Afghan women. National rehabilitation programmes will require UN support and international financial and technical assistance.
ECUADOR noted the Platform"s emphasis on the impact of violence on women"s lives. She stated that a lack of political commitment and financial adjustment programmes had denied the women of Ecuador benefits from the Nairobi conference. The HOLY SEE supported the call for a special section in the Platform on the plight of the girl-child. He recalled Pope John Paul II"s message on the role of women in creating a culture of peace, and welcomed women"s growing participation in economic and political life. C"TE D"IVOIRE focused on the economic and political situations that have made it difficult for African nations to implement advancements for women. He noted that his country ratified all conventions relating to women in 1995, and he emphasized the priority of education and training of girls and women.
EGYPT noted that there is a great gap between women"s de jure and de facto rights, and suggested that social practices be changed. She also said particular attention should be paid to women in poverty in Africa, to rural women in developing countries, and to empowerment. AZERBAIJAN focused on the negative effect of armed conflict on women and agreed that peace was a prerequisite for development. She noted that a drop in general resources has made it difficult to implement programmes for the advancement of women. She also proposed a seminar on women and children in the Armenian conflict. CHILE discussed several national actions, including an interministerial committee, to prepare for Beijing. She called for the participation of men to promote shared responsibility, and supported the "Conference of Commitments" proposal.
ISRAEL identified a need for tools to follow-up the commitments to be made in Beijing. She noted national activities in preparation for Beijing, including bringing together women in Israel to identify their agenda, and urged the inclusion of women in all aspects of peacemaking. The PHILIPPINES stressed the importance of the chapters on institutional and financial arrangements. She also called attention to the emerging feminization of migration. CUBA noted that her nation provides an example of how equality can transform the status of women. She also reported on the social situation in Cuba.
INDONESIA said the fiftieth year of the UN offers a unique opportunity for an assessment of the programme prepared for the International Decade for Women and subsequent related UN initiatives on poverty, development, the environment and human rights. The delegate also supported calls for appropriate financial and human resources and institutional arrangements to implement the draft Platform for Action. MALTA outlined its comprehensive measures to prevent discrimination against women and provide redress, noting that an EU report stated that Malta"s record in some areas surpassed that of the Union. GHANA said global recession and unfair global trading practices have deepened the gap between North and South and exacerbated the poverty trap affecting increasing numbers of women. She stressed the needs of girl-children and called for governments to target resources. She noted that the UN had failed to do justice to the objectives regarding women"s access to political power.
CHINA outlined plans to accommodate the Fourth World Conference on Women. She identified a number of priorities for the draft Platform for Action: eradication of poverty; adoption of targets to advance the status of women; adoption of realizable, country-specific targets; and implementation and resources. KENYA noted that poverty, structural adjustment programmes and debt servicing had acted as major constraints on government programmes for the advancement of women. A national coordinating committee had agreed on three measures with the government: a review of the school curriculum to challenge female stereotyping; a programme to encourage girls to complete schooling; and legislation to eliminate discrimination. A proposal for legislation to allow women to co-own land is also being considered. NEPAL supported: opportunities for women to participate in decision-making and in international negotiations; equal legal access for women to property, land, and education; and training for the girl-child.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA, on behalf of the Pacific Islands, agreed with the emerging consensus that women are marginalized in traditional cultures. Pacific people are concerned about retaining the strengths of their cultures as they integrate into the global culture, and stress the unique difficulties that development poses in small island nations. Papua New Guinea added that the position of women will change only if infrastructure changes.
At the end of the day, the Chair and Mrs. Mongella relayed the CSW"s concern about the imminent execution in Singapore of the Filipino woman, Flor Contemplacion, to the Secretary-General, requesting his intervention for a stay of execution.
Pakistan exercised its right of reply in response to a statement made earlier by India, and denied the allegations of rape. India countered by citing Amnesty International reports of violations carried out by Pakistan authorities. Pakistan conceded certain allegations, but stressed that the alleged incidents in Kashmir had the backing of the Indian Government. India accused Pakistan of wasting the CSW"s time.
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