Commission on the Status of Women
E/1997/27 CSW - Report of the forty-first session
C. Matters brought to the attention of the Council
3. The attention of the Council is drawn to the text submitted by the
Chairperson of the Commission on the follow-up to agreed conclusions 1996/1
of the Economic and Social Council (see chap. II, para. 178).
1. Agreed conclusions
4. The following agreed conclusions of the Commission are also brought to
the attention of the Council:
Agreed conclusions 1997/1. Women and the environment*
1. The recently held United Nations conferences and summits,
particularly the Fourth World Conference on Women and the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development, have underlined
that the contribution of women to economic development, social
development and environmental protection, which are mutually
reinforcing components of sustainable development, should be
recognized and supported, and that there is need for a clear gender
perspective in environmental management. Moreover, unless the
contribution of women is recognized and supported, sustainable
development will be an elusive goal.
2. In the five-year review and assessment of the results of the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, moving
beyond the concept of women as a major group, a major focus should be
the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into the development and
implementation of all legislation, policies and programmes, with a
view to achieving gender equality, taking into account the Beijing
Platform for Action13/13/ and the results of other global conferences.
3. In designing and implementing environmental programmes and
policies, including those related to the implementation of Agenda
21,14/ and the Beijing Platform for Action at the national and local
levels, all responsible actors should ensure that a gender perspective
is fully integrated into them, through the development and application
of analytical tools and methodologies for gender-based analysis.
Monitoring and accountability mechanisms should be in place to assess
gender mainstreaming and its impact.
4. The Commission on Sustainable Development should mainstream a
gender perspective into its future work, ensuring that differential
impacts on women and men of policies and programmes for sustainable
development are well understood and effectively addressed.
5. All responsible actors are requested to adopt a holistic,
coordinated and collaborative approach to integrating a gender
perspective into sustainable development, between governmental
ministries and departments and, at the international level, between
United Nations agencies, funds and bodies and other international
6. All responsible actors should support the active participation of
women on an equal footing with men in sustainable development at all
levels, including participation in financial and technical decision-
making through appropriate legislation and/or administrative
7. Governments should ensure that policies for the liberalization of
trade and investment are complemented by effective social and
environmental policies into which a gender perspective is fully
integrated, so as to ensure that the benefits of growth are fully
shared by all sectors of society and to avoid deterioration of the
8. As consumers, both women and men should be more aware of their
ability to behave in an environmentally friendly manner through
measures such as eco-labelling that is understood by consumers
regardless of age or level of literacy, and local recycling schemes.
9. Gender-sensitive research on the impact of environmental
pollutants and other harmful substances, including the impact on the
reproductive health of men and women, should be intensified and linked
with the incidence of female cancers. The findings should be widely
disseminated, taking into account the results of research on the
implementation of national policies and programmes. However, lack of
full scientific data should not be a reason for postponing measures
that can prevent harm to human health.
10. The active involvement of women at the national and international
levels is essential for the development and implementation of policies
aimed at promoting and protecting the environmental aspects of human
health, in particular, in setting standards for drinking water, since
everyone has a right to access to drinking water in quantity and
quality equal to his or her basic needs. A gender perspective should
be included in water resource management which, inter alia, values and
reinforces the important role that women play in acquiring, conserving
and using water. Women should be included in decision-making related
to waste disposal, improving water and sanitation systems and
industrial, agricultural and land-use projects that affect water
quality and quantity. Women should have access to clean, affordable
water for their human and economic needs. A prerequisite is the
assurance of universal access to safe drinking water and to
sanitation, and to that end, cooperation at both the national and
international levels should be encouraged.
11. Governments should combat the illegal export of banned and
hazardous chemicals, including agro-chemicals, in accordance with
relevant international and regional agreements. Governments should
support the negotiation of a legally binding international instrument
for the application of prior informed consent procedures for certain
hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.
12. Governments, the international community and international
organizations should ensure a participatory approach to environmental
protection and conservation at all levels and, in elaborating policies
and programmes, should recognize that sustainable development is a
shared responsibility of men and women and should take into account
both men's and women's productive and reproductive roles.
13. All Governments should implement their commitments made in Agenda
21 and the Beijing Platform for Action, including those in the area of
financial and technical assistance and the transfer of environmentally
sound technologies to the developing countries, and should ensure that
a gender perspective is mainstreamed into all such assistance and
14. The international community and United Nations agencies should
continue to assist developing countries in developing the capacity to
carry out gender impact assessments and in devising analytical tools
and gender-sensitive guidelines. A gender perspective should be
mainstreamed into all environmental impact assessments. Governments,
the private sector and international financial institutions should
accelerate efforts to carry out gender impact assessments of
15. Governments, civil society, United Nations agencies and bodies,
and other international organizations should collect, analyse and
disseminate data disaggregated by sex and information related to women
and the environment so as to ensure the integration of gender
considerations into the development and implementation of sustainable
development policies and programmes.
16. Actors such as the United Nations, international financial
institutions, Governments and civil society should apply a gender
perspective in all funding programmes for sustainable development,
while acknowledging the importance of continuing programming targeted
at women. Funds should be shared across sectors.
17. Multilateral and bilateral donors, Governments and the private
sector should increase support to non-governmental organizations,
particularly to women's organizations, in playing an active role in
advocacy for the implementation of Agenda 21 at the international and
national levels, particularly in supporting national policies and
programmes for sustainable development in the developing countries.
18. Such assistance should also be rendered to the countries with
economies in transition at the bilateral and multilateral levels.
19. Governments, educational institutions and non-governmental
organizations, including women's organizations, should work in
collaboration to provide information on sound environmental practices,
support gender-sensitive education and develop specific gender-
sensitive training programmes in this area.
20. All relevant actors should be encouraged to work in partnership
with adolescent girls and boys, utilizing both formal and non-formal
educational training activities, inter alia, through sustainable
consumption patterns and responsible use of natural resources.
21. Political parties should be encouraged to incorporate
environmental goals with a gender dimension into their party
22. Governments, in partnership with the private sector and other
actors of civil society, should strive to eradicate poverty,
especially the feminization of poverty, to change production and
consumption patterns and to create sound, well-functioning local
economies as the basis for sustainable development, inter alia, by
empowering the local population, especially women. It is also
important for women to be involved in urban planning, in the provision
of basic facilities and communication and transport networks, and in
policies concerned with safety. International cooperation should be
strengthened to achieve this end.
23. Women have an essential role to play in the development of
sustainable and ecologically sound consumption and production patterns
and approaches to natural resource management. The knowledge and
expertise of women, especially of rural women and indigenous women, in
the use and the protection of natural resources should be recognized,
consolidated, protected and fully used in the design and
implementation of policies and programmes for the management of the
24. Laws should be designed and revised to ensure that women have
equal access to and control over land, unmediated by male relatives,
in order to end land rights discrimination. Women should be accorded
secure use rights and should be fully represented in the decision-
making bodies that allocate land and other forms of property, credit,
information and new technologies. In the implementation of the
Beijing Platform for Action, women should be accorded full and equal
rights to own land and other property inter alia through inheritance.
Land reform programmes should begin by acknowledging the equality of
women's rights to land and take other measures to increase land
availability to poor women and men.
25. Governments should promote the development of ecological tourism
initiatives in order to promote and facilitate women's entrepreneurial
activities in this field.
26. Education and training of young people on the human rights of
women should be ensured, and traditional and customary practices that
are harmful to and discriminate against women should be eliminated.
27. Governments, research institutions and the private sector should
support the role of women in developing environmentally sound
technologies, such as solar energy, and in influencing the development
of new and appropriate technologies by ensuring education and training
in science and technology.
28. Governments, the private sector and the international community
are called upon to give priority attention to the links between
security, armed conflict and the environment, and their impact on the
civilian population, in particular women and children.
29. Recognizing that gender equality is essential to the achievement
of sustainable development, the Chairperson of the Commission on the
Status of Women should bring to the attention of the Chairpersons of
the Commission on Sustainable Development at its fifth session, and to
the General Assembly at its special session to review the
implementation of Agenda 21, the agreed conclusions of the Commission
on the Status of Women on women and the environment.
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