In her introduction, Gertrude Mongella, Secretary-General of the Fourth World Conference on Women, noted that any delay in the implementation of the Platform means an increase in women's illiteracy, more women dying in childbirth, more women becoming victims of armed conflicts, and more women subject to violence and oppression. The lack of resources cannot be used as an excuse not to address women's issues. In the follow-up to the Conference, governments, NGOs, the UN system and civil society are called upon to work at different levels and in different capacities. Changing the structures, management cultures and people's mentalities must be part and parcel of the implementation of the Platform for Action.
Under-Secretary-General Nitin Desai introduced the Secretary-General's report on the implementation of the Conference (A/50/744). The report contains three parts: a brief introduction, providing the genesis of the Conference process; a section on follow-up, which sets out the Secretary-General's response to the Conference recommendations; and a section suggesting possible action by the General Assembly. The Secretary-General believes that effective harmonization of the work of the various intergovernmental bodies concerned is a crucial prerequisite for the development of an enhanced framework for international cooperation on gender issues. The Secretary-General will request all UN departments and offices to review their programmes with a view to determining how they can contribute to the implementation of the Conference outcome.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: Neijon R. Edwards expressed hope that the international community will pledge the necessary financial and technical resources to implement the objectives of the Conference. She noted commitments of the Government of the Marshall Islands and stressed the importance of education. She also noted that the leading cause of death among Marshallese women is cancer of the reproductive system linked to radiation exposure.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Amb. Julia Tavares de Alvarez said that the proposed institutional reforms of all UN bodies that deal with the advancement of women should be an integral part of the general UN reform, including the Secretariat, ECOSOC and other arms of the organization. She expressed concern about the manner in which the Secretariat has chosen to deal with the proposed merger of INSTRAW and UNIFEM. The lack of transparency and the complete disregard for the mandates given by Member States is of grave concern.
NEW ZEALAND: Denise Almao noted that while the target of 35% women in the UN Secretariat has almost been achieved, the UN is nowhere near the target of 25% of women in senior posts. She urged that the issue of women in the Secretariat continue as an item for the Committee's consideration.
ALGERIA: Amina Mesdoua noted that as part of Algeria's efforts to improve the situation of women, free and compulsory universal education has been established, as well as equal pay for equal work.
SPAIN: Marina Subirats, on behalf of the EU, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, said that by 1996 governments should develop comprehensive strategies or plans of action, including time-bound targets and benchmarks for monitoring and implementing the Platform. NGOs, the regional commissions and the international financial organizations all have an important role to play. Those countries committed to the 20:20 initiative should integrate a gender perspective into its implementation. The CSW should develop a multi-year work programme for the period 1996-2000 in order to review the implementation of the Platform.
EGYPT: Karim Wissa said that Egypt is expanding participation of women at all levels and finding ways to make women economically independent. States, NGOs and other organizations need to work together to implement the outcomes of the various global conferences.
MALAYSIA: Nafisah Mohamed said that education plays a major role in addressing the "feminization of poverty." Malaysia is not inclined towards any new institutional mechanism for the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and would prefer the use of existing mechanisms. UNIFEM could concentrate on the operational aspects, while the Division for the Advancement of Women could focus on policy issues.
C�TE D'IVOIRE: Dienebou Kaba Camara expressed concern at the "international fatigue" that seemed present after the Beijing Conference. The advancement of women to high-level posts in the Secretariat has not progressed. UN agencies have a major role to play in the advancement of women, but they need adequate financial resources to continue their work.
MEXICO: Amb. Gustavo Albin said that the UN system must be consistent in its approach to women's issues. Both the Declaration and the Platform for Action must be widely disseminated in all languages. Mexico is in the process of establishing a national programme for women, which would facilitate the participation of women in all aspects of society.
CHINA: Feng Cui said that the enhancement of international cooperation is essential to the effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The relevant organs of the UN system should adjust their programmes to reflect the Platform. To improve the status of women in China, the government has identified seven priority areas: employment, poverty alleviation, access to education, improved healthcare, protection of women's rights, increasing the number of women participating in political affairs, and strengthening institutions.
UNICEF: Deputy Executive Director Karin Sham Poo said that UNICEF has identified three key areas for priority action in implementing the Platform for Action: girls' education; adolescent girls' and women's health; and children's and women's rights.