ARGENTINA: Amb. Zelmira Regazzoli said that education and capacity building of women is a natural priority for incorporating women into society. She described Argentina's activities to advance the status of women and to increase female participation in decision-making. Argentina has set up a national commission to follow-up on the Beijing Conference, which will involve national and provincial leaders, NGOs and the academic sector.
CHILE: Fidel Coloma said that Chile has focused on problems women face, such as poverty, education, unemployment and the lack of political participation. In the follow-up to Beijing, interagency cooperation is essential and the Commission on the Status of Women should be strengthened. The Secretary-General's proposal to create a high-level board of advisers on gender perspectives needs further study.
KAZAKSTAN: Amb. Akmaral Kh. Arystanbekova said that the successful implementation of the Platform for Action requires action at all levels. The situation of women in countries with economies in transition needs particular attention, as do women in areas where nuclear testing has been carried out.
ETHIOPIA: Fesseha A. Tessema noted that among the critical areas of concern identified in the Platform for Action, the elimination of poverty is important for Ethiopia. Access to credit for poor women and access to land and other resources will be accorded prime importance in implementing the Platform. The other critical area of concern is the fact that African women have suffered disproportionately as a result of persistent armed conflicts.
BRAZIL: Edgard Telles Ribeiro supported the work of INSTRAW and UNIFEM and stressed the importance of strengthening the role of women in the economic and social fields. The Brazilian Government is sponsoring a policy to support credit for marginalized segments of the population, improving access to education and providing healthcare and reproductive rights.
AZERBAIJAN: Fikret M. Pashayev said that his country's problems with a transition economy, war, occupation and refugees have an unfavorable impact on the status of women. He called for the release of women hostages held in captivity by the Armenians.
BANGLADESH: Prof. M. Rezaul Karim called for the concerted and collective efforts of the international community and societies at large to live up to the commitments made in Beijing. He called for reconsideration of the proposed merger of UNIFEM and INSTRAW and requested that the Secretary-General reconsider the recommendation of the Conference for the designation of a high-level post to serve as an adviser on gender issues.
TUNISIA: Chedlia Boukhchina said that education programmes for increasing the literacy rate for women have been created in Tunisia and that women and children receive free health services. Tunisia is actively implementing the Platform for Action, but more solidarity at the regional and international levels is needed.
SYRIA: Dr. Fayssal Mekdad said that education is one of the first measures that should be undertaken in the advancement and empowerment of women. In Syria, education is free, illiteracy has drastically decreased and the fertility level and maternal and child mortality rates have dropped. The Government is modernizing legislation to ensure that the rights of women are secured.
BAHAMAS: Amb. Harcourt L. Turnquest, on behalf of the Caribbean Community, said that many Caricom countries have formulated or nearly completed national plans for the implementation of the Platform for Action. A subregional follow-up meeting was convened in Trinidad and Tobago in October. At the international level, coordination within the Secretariat and throughout the UN system must ensure the proper incorporation of gender concerns in policies and programmes.
LEBANON: Hassan Kassem Najem said that the civil war in Lebanon, which lasted from 1975 to 1990, greatly affected the well-being of women. Today, a national plan of action for improving the situation of women has been created, and seeks the full equality of women in all political institutions and increases their level of participation in economic activities.
THE GAMBIA: Fatou Marenah-Jammeh said that the international community should fulfill the commitments undertaken in Beijing to improve the lot of women, particularly in developing countries, by mobilizing new and additional resources to promote and ensure the advancement of women. In The Gambia, four out of 14 Cabinet Ministers are women.
FRANCE: Claire Aubin said that the Platform for Action reaffirmed that equality cannot be questioned or addressed in relative terms. In the implementation of the Platform for Action, it is necessary to ensure that the equality of men and women is taken into account. France has established an observatory body on equality between men and women, attached to the office of the Prime Minister, which is empowered to collect and analyze information relating to women and men in all fields.
TURKEY: Ahmet Arda said that Turkey strongly believes that in a possible merger with UNIFEM, the role and functions of INSTRAW should be protected. The current policy and programmes for improvement of the status of women in Turkey are strongly focused on enhancement of the participation and representation of women in political life, while also paying attention to improved education, employment, health and professional opportunities.
PANAMA: Amb. Mary Morgan-Moss, on behalf of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, announced an agreement to establish a Technical Secretariat on regional and extraregional cooperation in social affairs based in Panama City. She supported the proposal to create a senior advisory post on gender issues in the Office of the Secretary-General. Such a post must be filled by a woman.
PERU: Amb. Fernando Guillen noted Peru's efforts to ensure follow-up and implementation of the Platform for Action, including establishment of a special commission on women. Through the Platform for Action for Gender Equity 1995-2000, Peru is advancing equality for women and access to healthcare, education and the labor market.
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES: Rashim Ahluwalia raised the issue of violence against women in conflict situations and the deterioration of women's and children's health in many areas of the world. The international community and national governments must undertake additional measures to eliminate the root causes of poverty and violence, including disregard or abuse of human rights.
INDIA: MP Kamaluddin Ahmed said that affirmative action has been used by the Indian Government to enable both political and economic empowerment of women. The eradication and feminization of poverty must be addressed both nationally and internationally. India has drawn up a National Policy on Women and has allocated six percent of the GNP for education.
KENYA: Adam Adawa called on the international community, the multilateral financial institutions and the UN system to speed up the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. He did not support the proposed merger of INSTRAW and UNIFEM or the Secretary-General's proposal to establish a high-level advisory board to advise him on Conference follow-up. Instead, existing organizations should be strengthened and a high-level post in the Office of the Secretary-General should be established.
COLOMBIA: Clara Ines Vargas de Losada noted the advancements that women in Colombia have made, including higher levels of education, contributions to the labor market, and reduction of the population growth rate. Colombia has a policy for the equity and participation of women, which will enable it to honor the commitments of Beijing.
LIECHTENSTEIN: Amb. Claudia Fritsche announced that Liechtenstein will be in a position to deposit its instrument of accession to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women by the end of the year. Liechtenstein has also decided to create a focal point for all issues related to equality of women and men. Much more needs to be done within the UN Secretariat with regard to the advancement of women, particularly regarding sexual harassment.
JAMAICA: Cherryl Gordon said that Jamaica's National Plan for the implementation of the Beijing Platform focuses mainly on poverty, violence against women and children, education and training, employment and inequality in power-sharing and decision-making. Jamaica does not support the merging of UNIFEM and INSTRAW, since each has a distinct role to play.
HOLY SEE: Archbishop Renato Martino endorsed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, but expressed disagreement and disappointment with certain aspects of the document, including the failure to recognize the importance of human dignity, failure to address a broad range of health concerns, and the endorsement of certain sexual and reproductive practices.
PAKISTAN: Samiya Waheed Junejo said that the UN strategy for the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform must be based on system-wide coordination. The CSW must be strengthened. The overall costs and benefits of the proposals for either a high-level adviser or a high-level board should be examined closely. INSTRAW and UNIFEM should be strengthened, not merged.
JAPAN: Dr. Yoriko Meguro said that to ensure effective implementation of the Platform, Japan attaches great importance to mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes at the community, national, regional and international levels. Within the UN system, gender issues should be addressed by all UN organs. There is a need for synergy between the CSW and other functional commissions. The number of women in senior posts needs to be increased.
GHANA: Amb. George Lamptey said that there are certain proposals in the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the outcome of the Conference that create doubts as to the mode and manner the Secretary-General intends to use to ensure the implementation of the Beijing recommendations. These include a lack of additional funds in the budget for the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Secretary-General's proposal to establish a high-level advisory board, as opposed to a high-level post.
MALTA: Victor Pace said that equality of rights between women and men is achieved when it permeates three broad areas: employment and income; marriage and family life; and community decision-making.
BELARUS: Igar Gubarevich encouraged strengthening the role of the Commission on the Status of Women. He also suggested extending UNIFEM's role to countries with economies in transition. The creation of a comprehensive programme of action to help women in countries with economies in transition is imperative.
IRAN: Frouzandeh Vadiati noted that violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. She emphasized Iran's advances with regard to education and increasing the number of women government employees.
LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC: Southam Sakonhninhom said that sustainable development could only be achieved if men and women work together on an equal footing. He said that the Union of Lao Women is the only women's organization in his country and it assists the government in improving women's quality of life. The Union has set up a strategic programme for Beijing follow-up.
ORGANIZATION OF AFRICAN UNITY: Amb. Ibrahima Sy said civil wars and political instability in Africa, as well as their disproportionate impact on women, continue to be of great concern. He called for the eradication of existing cultural practices that discriminate against girls and women in Africa. Even though Africa remains committed to implementation of the Platform for Action, meaningful action by the international community on the African debt problem is urgently needed.
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION: Stafford Mousky said that an issue of particular concern is trafficking in women. IOM has given priority to the issue of protecting and assisting these victims of trafficking and related abuse.
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