Press Release

Commission on Status of Women

Forty-sixth Session

8th Meeting (PM)



Also Briefed by Population, Sustainable Development Divisions

The Commission on the Status of Women this afternoon considered its follow-up to the 2001 resolutions and decisions of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and, in the context of efforts to strengthen coordination among the subsidiary bodies, heard two briefings from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. 

Director of the Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Joseph Chamie, said that while future population changes were uncertain, some, like population ageing, had been anticipated.  That unprecedented transformation of the populations had been pervasive, profound and enduring.  The majority of older persons were women, and the implications of ageing on societies were enormous.  The key was to prepare for retirement and old age based on strategies built around bold vision and enlightened leadership.  

Chief, National Information Strategies and Institutions Branch, Division for Sustainable Development, Anne Kerr, spoke on behalf of the Division’s Director, Joanne DiSano.  She described the process of mainstreaming the gender perspective into the preparatory activities for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to be held in Johannesburg from 26 August to 4 September.  Upcoming preparations would concentrate on negotiating an outcome text on implementation and the outline of a political statement.

In a brief question-and-answer session that followed, Ms. Kerr said her Division’s work on the gender mainstreaming aspects for the upcoming Sustainable Development summit were finished.  It was now up to the Preparatory Committee to continue the work. 

Replying to a question about the condition of women in Iraq and their relationship to the ageing phenomenon, Mr. Chamie said he needed to look more closely at data on Iraq.  The issue of infant and maternal mortality in troubled countries was still unresolved.  Many countries in conflict would benefit from a period of peace.  In relatively stable countries, people were now expected to live to the age of 80; soon that would be up to 100.

Additional comments were made by the representatives of Cuba and Rwanda.

Concerning follow-up to ECOSOC’s texts, the Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Carolyn Hannan, introduced the Secretary-General’s report and highlighted the Commission’s inputs to the Council’s high-level segment for 2001 on the contribution of human resources development, including in the areas of health and education, to the development process.  The Secretariat had prepared a note containing examples of actions in the field, borrowing from the Beijing Platform for Action and the special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000:  gender equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century”.  

With respect to ECOSOC’s resolution on gender mainstreaming, Ms. Hannan noted that the Council had included a new regular sub-item on that issue, based on proposals made by the Women’s Commission.  That new item would give the Council the opportunity to systematically monitor progress made in that regard by its subsidiary bodies, as well as to take a critical look at its own work and make further progress in reflecting gender perspectives in the outcomes of all segments. 

In response to the Council’s wish that its functional commissions share their outcomes more systematically, she announced that officers of the Commission and Secretariat members would soon brief the Commission on the gender perspectives in their work.  In terms of improving its working methods, the Commission would continue its discussion begun last year and revisit the item late in the session. 

In other business this afternoon, the following additional member was designated to serve on the Working Group on Communications, Audra Plepte (Lithuania).

The Commission Secretary announced the observance of International Women’s Day tomorrow, Friday, 8 March, which would highlight, among other concerns, the situation of women in Afghanistan and discuss the international community’s concerted efforts to support their advancement.  The event would be televised at United Nations Headquarters. 

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