The following are brief summaries of statements given during the Monday and Tuesday morning Plenary sessions, as well as a summary of the Friday afternoon session.
THAILAND spoke of the new paradigm of people-centered development reflected in their Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan, in which special attention is given to women, children and marginal social groups. UNESCO described a recent symposium on reconciling support for an independent press with the need for promoting greater gender equality. The organization has tabled amendments to the draft Platform underlining the strategic role of media professionals in countering negative stereotyping of women. The importance of literacy was also underlined, and the delegate noted that International Literacy Day (September 8) will coincide with the FWCW. The WORLD BANK endorsed the draft Platform and called on the international community to "stand ready to provide assistance," both financial and technical. The World Bank can take a lead in providing analytical and operational support in areas of gender analysis and mobilizing international development resources. The World Bank has a number of programmes to improve access to finance, credit, technology and training.
UNIDO noted that women have a role in environmentally sustainable industrial development. Social and economic progress must be simultaneous and sustained, and industry is a key factor. The WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME recommended stronger language in the Platform for Action in favor of the world's 800 million undernourished, of which women constitute the largest group. INSTRAW said it will review its work in the light of the Platform and continue to collect and analyze data on gender, and improve the quantity and quality of its research.
The INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION called for innovation and strong commitment to prevent and eliminate discrimination. The UN organization has supported these objectives in a number of its conventions and produced training materials on women and employment. The INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES said women make up the largest percentage of those under a survival threat. The organization has enabled women to take control of their lives. The media have an important role in portraying women as agents as well as victims of change. The THIRD WORLD MOVEMENT AGAINST EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN called for an end to the masculinization of wealth. UNFPA explained how some of the outcomes of the ICPD complement the goals of the FWCW, including its "clear recognition of the need to empower women."
The NGO SUB-COMMITTEE ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN deplored the continuing lack of recognition of unrenumerated work and recalled that the Social Summit in Copenhagen considered such a recognition. The ALL INDIA WOMEN'S CONFERENCE suggested that Governments work with NGOs and set up NGO resource centres. WEDO called on the CSW to create a conference for gender justice, to ensure political and legal freedom for women to organize, and to commit itself to 50:50 representation in Governments and the UN by the year 2000.
The WORLD COUNCIL OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE called on the CSW to ensure that the Platform does not deprive indigenous women of rights already acquired. HOUSEWIVES IN DIALOGUE supported amendments to ensure that any expansion of the definition of work will not prejudice national applications for development assistance. The LESBIAN CAUCUS asked the CSW to include a reference to sexual orientation in the Platform.
The NETWORK OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NGOS described its two-volume guide addressing questions of women's involvement in science and technology decision-making. The PACIFIC CONCERNS RESOURCE CENTRE asked the CSW to address the suffering of women in territories lacking self-government, under colonization or foreign occupation.
The INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF FREE TRADE UNIONS warned that an unqualified reference to "flexible" employment could leave women open to further exploitation in the work place. The INTER-AFRICAN COMMITTEE ON TRADITIONAL PRACTICES AFFECTING THE HEALTH OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN encouraged leadership roles for women.
The UNDP called for a people-centered, participatory approach to development based on human values, and for a gender approach at all levels. The INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN stressed: the role of women in conflict resolution; inequality in development processes; and the need for national Governments to work with NGOs to ensure women's rights and access to education, health, technology, power and environmental management. The NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF WOMANHOOD noted that women who choose to bear more than two children are at risk of being marginalized, and called for a distinction between development and population control programmes.
DAWN stressed that the Platform fails to address the causes of women's problems. She asserted the right of women in developing countries to speak for themselves and noted the need for mechanisms to enable women to participate in the development process. The COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT noted its goal to achieve gender equality by the year 2000 and its plans for follow up to Beijing. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION stressed the importance of legislation to protect women, and noted national level action to develop laws and a labor code to address women's needs.
PORTUGAL stressed that women's human rights should be the framework under which all other critical areas find meaning. UGANDA noted the role that women in his country play in conflict resolution, decision-making and assisting those with HIV/AIDS. PALESTINE noted that Arab women are facing political, economic, social and environmental challenges, and called for a focus on the role of women in peacemaking.
ITALY described progress in advancing women's rights in all sectors and noted the new National Action Plan that addresses development, employment and increasing participation in decision-making. PARAGUAY provided an overview of legislative progress, including draft proposals for electoral reform, changes in the "patriarchal" penal system, and the formation of a Secretariat for Women in 1992.
SLOVAKIA described problems facing women in the countries with economies in transition, including unemployment and underemployment, increasing incidents of violence and sexual abuse, and environmental pollution.
ISRAEL described Government projects to establish gender parity on boards of directors, to encourage women entrepreneurs, and to facilitate women who are transitioning from the agricultural sector. GUINEA-BISSAU noted that structural adjustment programmes have negatively affected the social sector of her country and that women's status has not improved since Nairobi. NORWAY, on behalf of the Nordic countries, stressed the need to mainstream and integrate women's interests into all policies and to empower women.
ANGOLA noted that women are disproportionately affected by war, but have little involvement in the peace process. Angolan women still suffer from: strong discrimination; under- representation in Government; unchanged laws; and many negative traditional practices. IRAQ said trade unions have been active in advancing the cause of women, who now enjoy equal status with men. The draft Platform objectives have been jeopardized by the disastrous impact of economic sanctions. MAURITIUS noted that action has been taken to eliminate discrimination, but that problems remain, with women over-represented in the unskilled labour sector and under-represented on boards of directors.
INDIA noted a "revolutionary constitutional innovation" reserving one-third of seats in local government for women. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed consideration of a human rights division within the UN and called for a monitoring system for implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The representative of the ASIA-PACIFIC NGOS emphasized the feminization of poverty in that region, and called for accounting of unremunerated work and cuts in arms spending.
PERU noted that Peruvian women face: poverty; violence; discrimination; lack of education in rural areas; lack of mechanisms to promote the advancement of women; and inequalities in the political, social and economic situation of rural displaced women and women heads of households.
DRAFT PROVISIONAL RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE CONFERENCE: During the Friday afternoon Plenary session, the Chair, Ms. Patricia Licuanan (Philippines), introduced the draft provisional rules of procedure (E/CN.6/1994/L.3) and opened the floor for comments.
The G-77/China proposed the addition of rule 59(bis), to include non-voting representatives designated by associate members of regional commissions as observer participants in deliberations of the conference. She noted that this was also a rule of procedure at UNCED and WSSD. China proposed amendments to rules 26 (adjournment of debate), 27 (closure of debate) and 28 (suspension or adjournment of meeting), stipulating "any state" representative may introduce a motion. In rule 36.3 (determination of procedural or substantial questions), China proposed a formulation from WSSD, replacing "decision by a majority of the representatives present and voting," with "the president shall rule on the question, appeal shall be put to a vote, and the president's ruling shall stand unless over-ruled by a majority of representatives." On rule 65 (representatives of NGOs), China again referred to WSSD procedures, and suggested that accredited NGOs could designate representatives to sit as observers at public meetings, and upon the invitation of the presiding officer, make statements in their area of expertise. The EU proposed keeping Item 7 (officers) open. The Chair announced that decisions on the rules of procedure would be taken next week.
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