United Nations

E/CN.6/1997/6


Commission on the Status of Women

 Distr. GENERAL
6 February 1997
ORIGINAL: ENGLISH


COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Forty-first session
10-21 March 1997
Item 3 (a) of the provisional agenda


        FOLLOW-UP TO THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN: 
          REVIEW OF MAINSTREAMING IN ORGANIZATIONS OF
                    THE UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM

Agreed conclusions 1996/1 adopted by the Economic and Social
Council at its 1996 coordination segment on coordination of 
the United Nations system activities for poverty eradication

                     Note by the Secretary-General


                             INTRODUCTION

I.   The Economic and Social Council, at its 1996 coordination
segment, adopted agreed conclusions 1996/1  1/ on coordination of
the United Nations system activities for poverty eradication.  In
a letter dated 4 September 1996, the President of the Council
conveyed these agreed conclusions to the Chairperson of the
Commission on the Status of Women with a view to drawing the
attention of the Commission to these conclusions so that the
Commission, in its future work, might take into account the
guidance given by the Council.

II.  The President, in his letter, noted in particular a number
of steps taken by the Economic and Social Council to harmonize
the intergovernmental consideration of poverty eradication and to
ensure that the different dimensions of poverty were covered in a
complementary way by its functional commissions and by the
Council itself, also taking into account other forums, in
particular policy-making organs of the specialized agencies.  He
noted that the Council had concluded that its functional
commissions should focus on the linkages between their field of
competence and poverty eradication.

III.     A number of paragraphs of the Economic and Social
Council's agreed conclusions address the role of the Commission
on the Status of Women in the area of poverty eradication.  The
Secretary-General is requested to submit a report to the Council
at its substantive session in 1997 on the implementation of the
agreed conclusions.  Any action taken by the Commission to
implement the agreed conclusions would be included in that
report.

IV.  In order to facilitate any action the Commission may wish to
take to inform the Economic and Social Council of its activities
to implement the Council's agreed conclusions 1996/1 on poverty
eradication, the present note highlights those paragraphs and
aspects of the agreed conclusions that are addressed directly to
the Commission on the Status of Women, or that have a direct
impact on the Commission's work.  These are followed by comments
that either describe activities already planned or undertaken by
the Commission, or offer options for further action by the
Commission.  The Commission may wish to consider these comments
and options with a view to informing the Council of its
activities in the framework of these agreed conclusions.

V.   The attention of the Commission is also drawn to part II of
the agreed conclusions (paras. 27-33, and in particular paras. 31
and 32) entitled "Mainstreaming the gender perspective in United
Nations activities for poverty eradication", and to part I which
deals with coordinated United Nations support and availability of
resources for poverty eradication activities at the field level.


EXCERPTS FROM AGREED CONCLUSIONS 1996/1 OF THE 1996 COORDINATION 
SEGMENT OF THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL ON COORDINATION OF THE
UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM ACTIVITIES FOR POVERTY ERADICATION

     Para. 37:  "The Council will carry out an overall review of
     the theme of poverty eradication at a date to be determined,
     as a contribution to the review of the outcome of the World
     Summit for Social Development.  In accordance with their
     programmes of work as approved by the Council, the relevant
     functional commissions should, in 1999-2000, prepare
     technical and focused inputs for the Council's overall
     review of poverty eradication."

VI.  The Commission on the Status of Women is scheduled to
review, at its forty-second session in 1998, a synthesized report
of national action plans to implement the Beijing Declaration 2/
and Platform for Action. 3/  It is expected that this report will
follow the structure of the Platform for Action, and thus include
a section on women and poverty.  Also in 1998, the Commission
will conduct a mid-term review of the system-wide medium-term
plan for the advancement of women, 1996-2001.  That plan, as also
noted in the Economic and Social Council's agreed conclusions
1996/1, "should serve as a general framework for the coordination
of system-wide efforts for the advancement of women, including
those aimed at eradicating poverty among women" (para. 31).      
In
1999, the Commission will initiate its review and appraisal of
the Platform for Action, and conduct it at its forty-fourth
session in the year 2000.

VII.     The review both of the synthesized report of national
action plans and of the system-wide medium-term plan, as well as
the review and appraisal process of the implementation of the
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, should provide a
focused input into the Economic and Social Council's overall
review of the theme of poverty eradication at a date to be
determined by the Council.  In addition, the Commission's
standing item on emerging issues, trends and new approaches to
issues affecting the situation of women or equality between women
and men, may also provide an opportunity to develop additional
focused input into the Council's review, if required.

     Para. 42:  "The Commission on Sustainable Development should
     focus its work related to poverty in accordance with
     paragraph 6 of its decision 4/2 on combating poverty.  The
     Commission on Sustainable Development should rely on inputs
     from the ... Commission on the Status of Women, ...  as
     necessary, in order to enhance the implementation of those
     recommendations of chapter 3 (Combating poverty) of Agenda
     21 that correspond to core areas of the World Summit for
     Social Development, the Fourth World Conference on Women,
     and the International Conference on Population and
     Development, respectively."

VIII.    Resolution 40/9, 4/ adopted by the Commission on the
Status of Women at its fortieth session, should be transmitted to
the Commission for Sustainable Development for its next session
when it prepares the review of Agenda 21. 5/  Furthermore, the
Commission will address the critical area of concern "Women and
the environment" at its forty-first session in 1997 with a view
to preparing an input to the Commission for Sustainable
Development and the special session of the General Assembly to
review the implementation of the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development.

     Para. 43:  "The Commission on the Status of Women has a
     special role to play in intergovernmental consideration of
     poverty eradication.  While assisting the Council in
     reviewing and appraising progress in and promoting the
     inclusion of a gender perspective in policies and programmes
     of other functional commissions and system-wide, the
     Commission on the Status of Women, in its discussion on
     poverty, should continue to focus on women in poverty.  The
     Commission on the Status of Women should play a catalytic
     role in reviewing and promoting the follow-up to the
     recommendations on gender equality and women's empowerment
     in the context of poverty eradication of the International
     Conference on Population and Development, the Fourth World
     Conference on Women, the World Summit for Social
     Development, the United Nations Conference on Environment
     and Development and other conferences.  The Commission for
     Social Development should draw upon the work of the
     Commission on the Status of Women in the evaluation of
     measures adopted by the Summit that relate to various
     aspects of gender equality."

IX.  With regard to the Commission's role in assisting the
Economic and Social Council in mainstreaming a gender
perspective, attention is drawn to General Assembly resolution
50/203, in which the Assembly invited the Council to consider
devoting one high-level segment, one coordination segment, and
one operational segment to the advancement of women and
implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for
Action.  Accordingly, the Council will consider, in its 1997
coordination segment, as its cross-sectoral theme the
mainstreaming of the gender perspective into all policies and
programmes in the United Nations system.

X.   In order to play a catalytic role in reviewing and promoting
the follow-up to the recommendations on gender equality and
women's empowerment in the context of poverty eradication of the
International Conference on Population and Development, the
Fourth World Conference on Women, the World Summit for Social
Development, the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development and other conferences, the Commission on the Status
of Women could be seized, as appropriate and on relatively short
notice, of gender equality and women's empowerment issues in the
context of poverty eradication in respect of these conferences
under its standing item on emerging issues, trends and new
approaches.

XI.  Furthermore, the review in 1998 of the synthesized report
analysing national action plans of Governments will be an
opportunity for the Commission to assess progress also in the
critical area of concern on women and poverty.  A similar impact
can be expected from the comprehensive review and appraisal of
the implementation of the Platform for Action in the year 2000. 
Both should provide an input into the review and appraisal of the
World Summit for Social Development to take place that same year.

XII.     Regarding the last part of the above-cited paragraph, to
the effect "that the Commission for Social Development should
draw upon the work of the Commission on the Status of Women in
the evaluation of measures adopted by the Summit that relate to
various aspects of gender equality", the following may be noted: 
the results of the consideration by the Commission on the Status
of Women of the critical areas of concern are expected normally
to take the form of concise, action-oriented agreed conclusions
(see para. 9 of Commission on the Status of Women agreed
conclusions 1996/1) 6/.  These should, as a matter of course, be
transmitted to the Commission for Social Development so that the
Commission for Social Development can draw from them in the
evaluation of measures adopted at the Summit that relate to
various aspects of gender equality.  Relevant background papers
or reports prepared by the Secretariat, and especially the
conclusions and recommendations of any expert group meetings that
might have been organized by the Secretariat, could also be made
available to the Commission for Social Development in the
framework of its follow-up to the World Summit for Social
Development.

XIII.    As the Commission for Social Development usually meets
before the Commission on the Status of Women in the same calendar
year, the conclusions and recommendations from any expert group
meetings organized by the Secretariat in that regard would
already be available.  Any agreed conclusions adopted by the
Commission on the Status of Women, however, could be made
available to the Commission for Social Development only in the
following calendar year.

XIV.     In terms of the long-term programme of work of the
Commission for Social Development, the theme for 1997 is
"Productive employment and sustainable livelihoods"; the theme
for 1998 is "Promoting social integration and participation of
all people, including disadvantaged and vulnerable groups and
persons"; and the theme for 1999 is "Social services for all". 
By comparison, the Commission on the Status of Women will take up
in 1997:  women in power and decision-making, women and the
economy, women and the environment, and education and training of
women; in 1998:  violence against women, women and armed
conflict, human rights of women, and the girl child; in 1999: 
women and health, and institutional mechanisms for the
advancement of women.

XV.  Accordingly, the results of the Commission on the Status of
Women could be provided to the Commission for Social Development
under the respective themes, taking into consideration the
schedule of annual sessions.

     Para. 44:  "The Commission on the Status of Women should
     determine, in consultation with other functional
     commissions, the best way to cooperate in reviewing the
     implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in their
     respective areas in general, and under poverty in
     particular.  Relevant functional commissions should consider
     having in their agendas a review of the gender implications
     of policies falling under their competence."

XVI.     The first sentence in the above paragraph provides the
opportunity for the Commission on the Status of Women and other
functional commissions to increase linkages and cooperation in
the future.  The following are possible means for such better
cooperation:  regular statements by the Chair of the Commission
on the Status of Women to other functional commissions, reporting
on activities of the Commission on the Status of Women and
focusing on policy approaches; statements by the Director of the
Division for the Advancement of Women of the Department for
Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United
Nations Secretariat to functional commissions, providing
information on activities of the Commission on the Status of
Women, and work done or planned by the Division in specific
areas; transmittal of pertinent agreed conclusions and/or
resolutions of the Commission on the Status of Women to the
functional commissions, in accordance with the long-term
programmes of work of the functional commissions; distribution of
information to functional commissions of pertinent Division for
the Advancement of Women background papers or results of expert
group meetings; incorporation of a gender perspective in reports
prepared for functional commissions by their respective
secretariats, that is to say, enhanced cooperation of
secretariats of other functional commissions with the Division
for the Advancement of Women.  Several of these options could be
applied simultaneously.  The multi-year work programmes would
serve as a guide on the issues to be covered.

XVII.    The review of the implementation of the World Summit for
Social Development by the Commission for Social Development in
the area of poverty could take advantage of the 1998 findings of
the Commission on the Status of Women with regard to national
action on poverty, and of system-wide action within the framework
of the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women.

XVIII.   Regarding the second sentence of paragraph 44,
functional commissions may wish to request that a gender
perspective be reflected in the documents prepared by their
secretariats, thus enabling them to reflect the gender
implications in agreed conclusions, resolutions or other
decisions.  To the extent that other functional commissions
decide to include in their agendas a review of the gender
implications of policies falling under their competence, they may
wish to invite the Commission on the Status of Women to provide
specific input for such reviews.  If such requests cannot be
accommodated within the regular long-term work programme of the
Commission on the Status of Women, its agenda item on emerging
issues and trends could be used to develop such specific inputs.

     Para. 45:  "... The Commission on Human Rights could
     consider providing an input to the Commission on the Status
     of Women on ensuring women's equal enjoyment of their human
     rights, in particular those relating to economic resources."

XIX.     Such input could be provided most usefully in 1998 when
the Commission on the Status of Women is scheduled to consider
the critical areas of concern of violence against women, human
rights of women, women in armed conflict, and the girl child; as
well as in 2000, when the Commission on the Status of Women will
conduct a review and appraisal of the Beijing Declaration and
Platform for Action.

     Para. 49:  "The mechanisms established by the Administrative
     Committee on Coordination (ACC) for the follow-up to
     conferences should support the work of functional
     commissions on poverty-related issues within their mandates
     and priorities, and the executive boards of funds and
     programmes should become more closely involved with their
     work.  The work of the newly created Inter-Agency Committee
     on Women should complement and reinforce the work of the
     Commission on the Status of Women."

XX.  The first session of the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and
Gender Equality took place on 22 and 23 October 1996.  In its
short-term and long-term work programme, the Committee decided,
inter alia, to focus on the mainstreaming of a gender perspective
in the United Nations system, as well as on the implementation of
the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women,
1996-2001.  These efforts are expected to support the work of the
Commission on the Status of Women and the Economic and Social
Council also in the area of poverty eradication.

     Para. 54:  "... Also, the Commission for Social Development
     could draw upon the work of the ...  Commission on the
     Status of Women on the theme of education" (in its
     examination of the theme of "Social services for all" in
     1999). 

XXI.     The Commission for Social Development will take up the
theme of "Social services for all" in 1999, with particular focus
on education.  The Commission on the Status of Women will
consider the critical area of concern on education and training
of women in 1997.  The review of national action plans in 1998
will provide insights with regard to national-level activities. 
The mid-term review of the system-wide medium-term plan for the
advancement of women will also cover the area of education and
training of women.  These could all provide useful input into the
work of the Commission for Social Development in 1999.

     Para. 56:  "The Commission for Social Development will
     examine productive employment and sustainable livelihoods in
     1997.  ...  The Commission for Social Development should
     build on the work to be undertaken by the Commission on the
     Status of Women in 1997 on 'Women and the economy' ..." 

XXII.    The Commission for Social Development will meet from 25
February to 6 March in 1997, whereas the Commission on the Status
of Women will meet from 10 to 21 March.  Therefore, the
conclusions and recommendations of the expert group meeting
organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women can be
made available to the Commission for Social Development, but not
the results of the Commission on the Status of Women itself. 
These may, however, provide an input into the overall review and
appraisal of the World Summit for Social Development in the year
2000.

     Para. 57:  "The Commission for Social Development ... is to
     carry out an overall review of the theme of promoting social
     integration and participation of all people in 1998.  The
     Commission for Social Development, in preparing for and
     addressing this theme, should take into account the relevant
     parts of the results of other major conferences and follow-
     up work being undertaken by the relevant commissions as well
     as by relevant inter-agency bodies.  All functional
     commissions, including the ... Commission on the Status of
     Women, ... should provide inputs to this examination."

XXIII.   The results of the consideration by the Commission on
the Status of Women of the critical areas of concern from 1997
can be made available to the Commission for Social Development. 
Given the schedule of sessions of the two commissions, any
additional focused input by the Commission on the Status of Women
need to be prepared at the 1997 session of the Commission. 
Alternatively, the Commission on the Status of Women may wish to
entrust the Secretariat with the preparing of a factual overview
of the Commission's past activities as well as of relevant
recommendations contained in the Beijing Platform for Action as
input into the work of the Commission for Social Development on
this theme in 1998.

     Para. 58:  "The Council encourages the Statistical
     Commission to pursue its work on the statistical
     implications of the World Summit for Social Development and
     other recent major international conferences ...  The
     Statistical Commission should also provide an input to the
     Commission on the Status of Women for its review of the
     implementation of the recommendations on poverty measurement
     made by the Fourth World Conference on Women ..."

XXIV.    In view of the long-term programme of work of the
Commission on the Status of Women, such input could most usefully
be provided for the Commission's session in 1998 within the
framework of its review of national action plans or in 1999-2000,
when the Commission will initiate and conduct the review and
appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and
Platform for Action.

XXV.     In conclusion, it may be noted that information about
intergovernmental and United Nations system activities in support
of implementation of the Platform for Action will be provided on
an annual basis to the Commission on the Status of Women, the
Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly through the
reports of the Secretary-General in the framework of Assembly
resolution 50/203, Council resolution 1996/6 and Assembly
resolution 51/69.  The reports will be prepared on a rolling
basis.  Activities of functional commissions that are relevant
from a gender perspective will usually be reported to the Council
so as to assist the Council in its coordination function in the
integrated follow-up to all recent United Nations conferences and
summits.


                                 Notes

1/ See A/51/3 (Part I), chap. III, sect. A, para. 2.

2/ Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing,
4-15 September 1995 (A/CONF.177/20 and Add.1), chap. I,
resolution, annex I.

3/ Ibid., annex II.

4/ See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 6 (E/1996/26), chap. I, sect. C.2, para. 4,
resolution 40/9.

5/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992, vol. I, Resolutions
Adopted by the Conference, (United Nations publication, Sales
No. E.93.I.8 and corrigendum), resolution 1, annex II.

6/ See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 6 (E/1996/26), chap. I, sect. C.1, para. 3.


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