AIDE-ME'MOIRE




                     EXPERT GROUP MEETING ON
         WOMEN, POPULATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:
              THE ROAD FROM RIO, CAIRO AND BEIJING



                       18-22 NOVEMBER 1996
                SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC



    An expert group meeting, "Women, Population and Sustainable Development: 
the Road from Rio, Cairo and Beijing", is being organized jointly by the
Division for the Advancement of Women, the Division for Sustainable
Development and the United Nations Population Fund, in cooperation with
INSTRAW, on 18-22 November 1996.  The meeting will take place at the
headquarters of INSTRAW in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

    The meeting will focus on the crucial links between population and
sustainable development from a gender perspective.  It should provide the
basis for elaborating an integrated approach for the implementation of
recommendations made at Rio, Cairo and Beijing and for discussion of the ways
and means towards sustainable development planning, policy formulation and
implementation.

    The meeting will seek to elaborate recommendations for coordinating
efforts and resources in the implementation process and the mainstreaming of a
gender perspective in UN activities related to population and sustainable
development.


BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION

    Progress achieved in implementing Agenda 21 adopted at the UNCED will be
reviewed by a special session of the General Assembly in 1997.  The need to
ensure the empowerment of women and their equal participation in
decision-making, both with regard to sustainable development and to
reproductive health, has been recognized in all the major United Nations
conferences of the 1990's, including UNCED.

    Agenda 21 placed the issue of women and the environment on the global
agenda, dealt with reproductive health, and highlighted the linkages between
environment and population.

    The ICPD Programme of Action took major steps forward by declaring that
sustainable development cannot be achieved without full participation of
women, continuing to focus attention on the environment-population linkages,
advancing the empowerment of women and gender equality and establishing a new
framework for family planning, in the context of reproductive health and
primary health care.

    The Beijing Platform for Action included women and the environment as one
of its twelve critical areas of concern and provided in-depth analysis and a
set of recommendations on women and sustainable development.  It reaffirmed
the progress made in Cairo on reproductive health including family planning
and agreed on a comprehensive set of actions for the empowerment and
advancement of women.  

    At its forty-first session in 1997 the Commission on the Status of Women
will consider progress achieved in implementing actions related to the
critical area of concern on women and environment.  The findings of the expert
group meeting will serve as an input into the Commission's deliberations.


OBJECTIVES

    The main objective of the meeting is to examine the interrelationship
between population and sustainable development from a gender perspective that
can be used as a basis for planning, policy formulation and implementation,
and make recommendations thereon.  The recommendations should focus on those
interventions which can best ensure that the achievement of the goals of
sustainable development will also guarantee the advancement of women.

    Specific objectives of the meeting are:

    ~  to outline the critical linkages between population and sustainable
       development from a gender perspective, emphasizing the role of women in
       decision-making;

    ~  to elaborate a framework of sustainable development planning as an
       integrated approach for the implementation of recommendations from Rio,
       Cairo and Beijing in terms of concepts, level of interventions,
       priorities;

    ~  to agree on recommendations on how to mainstream a gender perspective
       in all UN activities related to population and sustainable development.

    The identification of a framework for the integrated approach to
sustainable development planning within the context of the implementation of
Rio, Cairo and Beijing is expected to be a main outcome of the expert group
meeting and will form the basis for policy recommendations.  To achieve this,
the meeting will examine cases where improvements were made in an integrated
way, in the areas of women, population and sustainable development.

    As international norms and standards are derived from national and local
experience, the meeting should provide an opportunity to explore successful
ways and means of addressing issues related to women, population and
sustainable development in specific environments in which people live and
work, such as in agricultural areas, urban poor neighborhoods, forests and
arid areas.  Success stories presented by the experts will provide useful case
studies from which discussions can proceed.

    In addressing the above issues, recognition will be given to the
importance of the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of
decision-making and in all levels of population and sustainable development
planning, policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

    In addition, the discussion on the interlinkage of sustainable
development, population and gender will include such cross-cutting issues as
economic and political empowerment of women, the feminization of poverty and
the exercise of women's basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    The meeting will identify means for facilitating coordination and
cooperative approaches among relevant government agencies responsible for
programmes dealing with women, population and sustainable development issues.



OUTCOMES

    The report of the meeting will serve as an input to the Commission on the
Status of Women at its forty-first session, the Commission on Sustainable
Development and to the Commission on Population and Development. 
Recommendations of the meeting will also be an important contribution to the
review of the implementation of Agenda 21, to be discussed by a special
session of the General Assembly in 1997. 


PROFILE OF THE PARTICIPANTS

    The expert group meeting will be attended by 8-9 experts appointed by the
Secretary-General of the United Nations as well as observers from Governments,
organizations of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations
and non-governmental organizations.  The United Nations will provide travel
and daily subsistence allowance for the experts.  In selecting experts, the
criteria of geographical balance will be respected.  The participants will be
drawn from a variety of fields in the area of gender, population and
sustainable development and will include experts from research and training
institutions, practitioners, policy-makers and non-governmental organizations.


ORGANIZATION OF WORK

    The expert group meeting will be organized as follows:

    -  presentation of the background papers prepared by consultants who will
       identify the conceptual framework for the discussion and raise the most
       important issues to be considered.  Background papers will be prepared
       in consultation with the Division for the Advancement of Women, the
       Division for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Population
       Fund, and will reflect their views on and approaches to the issues
       under consideration;

    -  presentations by the experts, including success stories;

    -  preparation and adoption of the report of the meeting.


The topics for discussion will be :

    I.   Conceptual and methodological aspects of the main links between
         population and sustainable development from a gender perspective;
         emphasis on the full and equal participation of women in
         decision-making at all levels.

         - Health
         - Fragile ecosystems
         - Migration patterns

         (These three themes are suggested as examples.  It is expected that
         the experts will provide success stories within these themes to
         identify the crucial linkages between population and sustainable
         development and demonstrate the importance of taking into account the
         gender factor.)

    II.  A framework of a gender-sensitive integrated approach to the
         implementation of the follow-up to Rio, Cairo and Beijing.

         - Conceptual approaches
         - Level of interventions
         - Priorities
    
    It is expected that the exchange of ideas and information and the sharing
of experiences will assist in identifying regional and national priorities,
thereby facilitating the implementation process.  It will specify the ways and
means of regional and national coordination and collaboration in mainstreaming
gender and population issues into sustainable development planning, policy
formulation and implementation.

    The Expert Group meeting will be conducted in English.  The documentation
will also be in English.



For further information please contact:


Ms. Natalia Zakharova
Division for the Advancement of Women
Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
United Nations
Two United Nations Plaza
Room DC2-1246
New York, NY 10017
Tel:  (212) 963-8134  Fax: (212) 963-3463
e-mail:  Zakharova@un.org


    	

 


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Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
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