United Nations


Commission on the Status of Women

6 January 1998

Commission on the Status of Women
Forty-second session
2-13 March 1998
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

         Mid-term review of the implementation of the system-wide
         medium-term plan for the advancement of women, 1996-2001

         Report of the Secretary-General


         The present report summarizes information provided by entities in
the United Nations system on their efforts in 1996 and 1997 to implement
the activities in the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of
women, 1996-2001. It also highlights obstacles encountered, and makes a
number of recommendations for action in light of experience gained to date.


Contents                                              Paragraphs    Page

1.   Introduction                                          1-5       3
II.  Brief overview of progress in implementation in
     the 12 critical areas of concern of the Platform
     for Action                                            6-18      4

III. Institutional and financial arrangements and 
     obstacles encountered in implementation               19-51     5

     A.   Gender equality mainstreaming                    20-31     6
     B.   Gender analysis training                         32-34     7
     C.   Gender focal points                              35-37     8
     D.   Mobilization and allocation of financial 
          resources                                        38-41     9
     E.   Human rescources                                 42-44    10
     F.   Political and cultural obstacles                 45-46    10
     G.   Delays in project implementation                    47    10
     H.   Coordination                                     48-51    10
IV.  Recommendations for further action                       52    12

Annex  Highlights of information on implementation in the 12 cricital
areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action, as supplied by
responding United Nations entities                                  14

                           I.    Introduction

1.                 In its resolution 1996/34, the Economic and Social
Council endorsed the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of
women, 1996-2001, and called for a mid-term review, which is to be
undertaken by the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-second
session, in 1998. The Secretary-General was requested to submit a progress
report on the implementation of the plan for purposes of the mid-term

2.                 The plan was formulated at the end of 1995 pursuant to a
decision of the Commission on the Status of Women. It was structured around
the 12 critical areas of concern contained in the Beijing Declaration and
Platform for Action (adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women) in
1995. It was also formulated to reflect relevant mandates from other recent
United Nations conferences and summits. Activities were clustered under
each critical area according to a typology of action, i.e., information
collection and database development; research and analysis; operational
activities, including advisory services, technical assistance and training;
and public outreach and information dissemination. The plan largely
addressed activities targeted to women but also included gender-responsive
activities that were planned as part of mainstream programmes and projects.

3.                 In order to prepare the present report, the Division for
the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the
United Nations Secretariat sought information on implementation from all
entities of the United Nations system, including on issues raised by the
Commission and the Committee on Programme Coordination when they reviewed
the draft of the plan in 1996. As of 5 December 1997, the following 33
entities had responded: 

       Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations

         Division for the Advancement of Women

         Population Division

         Former Department for Development Support and Management Services

         Statistics Division

       Department of Public Information

       Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

       Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)

       Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

       Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

       Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

       United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

       Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

       International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

       International Labour Organization (ILO)

       International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of
       Women (INSTRAW)

       International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/WTO)

       Joint and Co-sponsored United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

       Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

       Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

       United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)

       United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

       United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

       United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

       United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

       United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

       United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

       United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP)

       United Nations Interregional Crime Research Institute (UNICRI)

       United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

       United Nations University (UNU)

       United Nations Volunteers (UNV)

       World Bank

       World Food Programme (WFP)

       World Health Organization (WHO)

4.                 Since the plan was formulated at the end of 1995 and
approved in mid-1996, the actual period of implementation has been about 18
months. Some respondents noted, therefore, that most of their activities
are still in the implementation stage.

5.                 Despite considerable overall progress in implementing
the wide array of activities envisaged under the plan and a policy
commitment to the proposals spelled out at the Fourth World Conference on
Women, a number of obstacles have been encountered, including lack of data
and of methodologies and indicators for monitoring progress; lack of tools
for tracking expenditures for cross-sectoral activities, at both
headquarters and field levels; inadequate human and financial resources;
low levels of commitment, both politically in some countries and at the
level of management in some agencies of the United Nations system; cultural
and other constraints; and delays in delivery of technical assistance.
Those obstacles are discussed in more detail in section III below.

            II.    Brief overview of progress in implementation in the 12
critical areas of
                   concern of the Platform for Action

6.                 A brief overview of progress in the implementation of
the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action by the
United Nations system at mid-term is set out below. The overview is linked
to the strategic orientation/focus under each critical area of concern, as
spelled out in the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of
women, 1996-2001. 
7.                 In the strategic orientation/focus of United Nations
system action in the critical area of concern "Women and poverty", the
importance of women's empowerment to raise their standard of living and
reduce their poverty has been emphasized in keeping with the Platform for
Action. Implementation during the period under review has therefore
included support for women entrepreneurs, particularly in rural areas,
including home-based workers; integrated rural development; studies of
female migration; credit access for women, and strengthening of the
informal sector.  Integrated approaches to rural development identified
rural women and girls as key agents, a gender-sensitive approach which led
to increased assistance to rural women producers.1/

8.                 In the critical area "Education and training of women",
the strategic orientation/focus of United Nations system activities
indicated in the plan has been based on a rights principle. United Nations
entities have developed and supported the use of appropriate training tools
to strengthen women's skills and those of teachers in areas ranging from
literacy and basic education to science and technology. Advocacy for girls'
education has been undertaken, and there has been wider acceptance of the
empirical evidence that educating girls and women raises productivity and
reduces fertility rates.

9.                 In addressing the critical area "Women and health", the
strategic focus has been concentrated on human immunodeficiency syndrome
(HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency disease (AIDS), reproductive health, and
the reduction of maternal and child mortality and morbidity. Environmental
health, gender and drug abuse, the impact of tropical diseases on women and
the health effects of female genital mutilation also received increased
attention. A joint World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF)/United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) statement
has been issued on female genital mutilation, and UNFPA appointed a special
ambassador on the issue. Implementation under this critical area also
addressed objectives in the Programme of Action of the International
Conference on Population and Development in 1994.

10.                Prevention and the root causes of violence against women
have been the focus of activities in the critical area "Violence against
women". Research on violence against women has continued, as have advocacy
and support for policy measures on violence against women and new forms of
protection for the victims of abuse, as well as increased collection and
dissemination of data. The Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women has
reported on the situation in various countries, and her mandate has been
renewed by the Commission on Human Rights. The first grants have been made
under the Trust Fund on Violence against Women set up under the Untied
Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

11.                In response to the Platform for Action, the plan also
focuses on the critical area "Women and armed conflict", with particular
attention to the specific gender impact of armed conflict, including rape
and its short- and long-term effects on women and girls. Efforts have been
made to promote a gender-sensitive approach to conflict resolution and the
management of conflict through capacity-building and training. Discussions
on establishing an international criminal court, with specific attention to
war crimes that affect women and girls, particularly rape, have moved

12.                In the critical area "Women and the economy", the
strategic orientation/focus of the plan is on the promotion of a
comprehensive strategy for equal opportunities for women in employment and
for the development of women entrepreneurs by enhancing women's access to
productive resources. United Nations system activities have therefore
included increasing women's access to credit and to opportunities for
entrepreneurship, and raising awareness of the importance of the economic
empowerment of women and the impact of economic policies on women,
including trade policies. Research has been intensified on the
participation of women in manufacturing, and on the patterns, determinants
and future trends for women's employment. Particular attention has been
given to rural women's enterprises and employment opportunities.

13.                The Platform for Action and in turn the plan both place
new importance on the critical area "Women in power and decision-making".
In this critical area, the United Nations system has focused on the
importance of increasing the number of women in decision-making positions
at all levels and in various sectors, strengthening the role of women
parliamentarians, leadership and management training, and researching
issues of women's empowerment and honouring significant women role models.
Support has been given to women's organizations to empower women,
particularly at the community level. 

14.                The Platform for Action calls for strengthening the
capacity and catalytic role of national machineries for the advancement of
women. It also calls for the overall collection and development of
gender-disaggregated statistics and indicators. Activities carried out
during the period under review in line with the plan have also focused on
the development of gender-sensitive performance indicators, increased
visibility and inclusion of gender issues in policies and programmes, and
gender-sensitive development planning.

15.                The strategic orientation /focus of the United Nations
system in the critical area "Human rights of women" is to emphasize women's
full and equal enjoyment of their rights. Activities have focused on
educating women and adolescents about their rights; improving servicing and
visibility for the work of the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), including seminars for
parliamentarians and policy makers on the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women; and mainstreaming gender in the international treaty regime.

16.                With respect to the critical area "Women and the media",
the strategy of the United Nations system has focused on advocacy and
training for gender-sensitive media coverage and access by women to new
communication technologies to raise awareness, advocate for greater
attention by the media to women's issues, and promote a positive,
well-balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media. Women
and the new electronic media garnered attention, but resources were still
primarily directed at the traditional media.

17.                The strategic orientation/focus of United Nations system
action in the critical area "Women and the environment" emphasizes the
importance of ensuring that  women's contribution to environmental
protection is recognized and assisted, and that gender concerns are
reflected in policy-making and environmental decision-making. Activities
ranged from the development of guidelines incorporating gender concerns and
research on the impact of environmental degradation on women's livelihood
to the development of training packages on women and environmental

18.                Under the critical area "The girl child", the United
Nations system emphasized efforts to eliminate gender-based disparities
among girls. During the period under review, activities included
development of databases on child mortality by sex, support for programmes
addressing illiteracy among girls and advocacy for the rights of the girl
child, including girls in rural areas, education for girls both formal and
non-formal, girls in the workplace, and the elimination of harmful
that inhibit girls' full development.

           III.    Institutional and financial arrangements and obstacles
encountered in implementation

19.                Respondents noted many advances in the areas of
institutional development and finance along the lines indicated in the
Beijing Platform for Action and the system-wide action plan for the
advancement of women, 1996-2001, but at the same time noted that many of
the obstacles encountered in implementing the Platform and the activities
indicated in the plan are associated with institutional and financial
issues. Those obstacles, as well as positive developments and developments
with respect to such cross-cutting issues as gender equality mainstreaming,
are reported below. 

             A.    Gender equality mainstreaming

20.                A number of entities noted that mandates for
mainstreaming gender, following the Fourth World Conference on Women and
other recent United Nations global conferences, have been designed and
endorsed by various intergovernmental bodies, such as the Commission on
Population and Development, the Commission on Social Development and
various governing bodies of specialized agencies, funds and programmes, and
that that has been newly reflected in certain programme budgets. In July
1997, agreed conclusions 1997/2 on gender mainstreaming, which addressed
the entire United Nations system, were adopted by the Economic and Social
Council, and the Secretary-General's reform proposals submitted to the
General Assembly in 1997 call for gender mainstreaming in all policies and

21.                Several entities have issued directives to staff to step
up their efforts to use gender analysis in designing and assessing plans
and projects. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Administrator's Direct Line 11 on Gender Equality and the Advancement of
Women, addressed to all resident representatives, lays out the commitment
of UNDP to supporting gender equality and the advancement of women. A UNDP
guidance note on gender mainstreaming, which has been sent to all country
offices, spells out the commitment, competencies and accountability
measures needed to make gender mainstreaming a reality. The World Bank has
reviewed projects designed/developed using gender analysis to identify the
best ways to ensure women's participation and women's access to project
resources and services, and to improve women's educational attainment,
health status and/or income levels, and is using that review as a baseline
for further project development. The World Bank has also prepared six
regional gender action plans. The United Nations Centre for Human
Settlements (Habitat) has published a comprehensive policy paper and action
plan for putting a gender perspective into all of its policies, programmes
and projects, entitled "Gendered Habitat".

22.                The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO) instituted a consultative process to develop and finalize
gender programmes of action for 1996-2000 in 24 divisions. The regular
programmes and projects of the Economic Commission for Latin America and
the Caribbean (ECLAC) are being revised to introduce gender analysis. The
World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a set of commitments to women to be
met by the year 2001, which have been translated by all its country offices
and several headquarters units into specific action plans. UNAIDS has
identified gender as one of its cross-cutting themes to be mainstreamed.

23.                In revising guidelines for country programmes, UNICEF
emphasizes gender as a cross-cutting theme, using a rights approach, with a
view to influencing the situation analysis of children and women in country
programme preparation and promoting the use of gender-sensitive indicators
in setting goals and monitoring progress. UNICEF country programmes
increasingly give attention to gender issues, as demonstrated in new
country programmes submitted to its Executive Board. Out of 40 such
programmes, 17 had a high gender profile and 13 fell into the medium
category. At the organizational level, UNICEF has mainstreamed the gender
perspective in programme guidelines of sectoral programmes, starting with
water and environmental sanitation. A separate module for integrating
gender concerns is being prepared and is to be ready by end-1997 to provide
guidance and hands-on application in that sector. 

24.                UNFPA has been making special efforts to ensure that
gender issues are mainstreamed into all of its programmes. Those efforts
include the revision of all policy guidelines to include the gender
perspective; formulation of a draft conceptual framework and indicators to
monitor the extent to which gender considerations have been effectively
integrated into all aspects of its country programmes; and an assessment of
gender mainstreaming in 13 country programmes. 

25.                Some agencies that have reported on progress in efforts
to mainstream gender note that although policies have been put in place on
women and gender, policy implementation does not always receive consistent
attention by senior management, and systems for monitoring the
implementation of gender activities as part of larger programmes and
projects are largely absent. In some cases, the guidelines developed to
integrate gender into programmes and projects are not being fully applied
at the operational level. UNDP notes that in a sample of 417 of its recent
projects, gender is superficially added but rarely integrated into
operating assumptions.

26.                It has been reported by some entities that a perception
that gender issues are synonymous with women's issues has resulted in a
poor understanding of gender mainstreaming and its implications for
programming. Lack of awareness and understanding of the role of women in
various sectors also continues to be an obstacle. The United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) reports that traditional approaches creating
separate women's activities and organizations have caused problems and
conflicts in certain areas. To address that problem, UNEP has adjusted its
policies to ensure that a gender perspective is reflected in all policy
design, and has developed gender-sensitivity criteria for inclusion in its
design, approval and evaluation manual. At ECLAC, efforts are being made to
identify gender variables that will benefit growth and efficiency as well
as allow the analysis of differential impact of public policies on men and

27.                Work under way by the United Nations Development Group
to define a United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) offers
opportunities to ensure that gender equality and women's empowerment goals
are integrated into the United Nations country team framework for
development cooperation at the country level. Further efforts are clearly
needed in that regard, however, particularly in the application of the
framework at the country level to ensure that gender issues figure

28.                With respect to methodologies for gender analysis, a
fundamental obstacle that has been encountered is a lack of agreed
indicators for assessing prevalence and monitoring actions, for example on
the empowerment of women and girls, the enforcement of rights or the use of
protection measures in projects on violence against women. UNICEF has found
that to be the case when attempting to assess and monitor the
implementation of State party obligations at the national and subnational
levels under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention
on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

29.                Some entities have reported having mechanisms for
defining and enforcing responsibility and accountability for mainstreaming
gender. At FAO, an interdepartmental committee on women in development was
established to function as the highest-level coordinating body on
mainstreaming gender. A gender issues board advises the Executive Director
of UNEP on the implementation of gender policies. At the World Bank, gender
is one of the criteria applied in rating projects approved for funding.
Projects are classified for their gender content on a scale of zero to two:
0 for projects which have no gender content; 1 for those with gender
analysis only but no specific components to address gender issues, and 2
for those which show evidence of gender analysis and components addressed
to gender disparities. That rating system is currently under revision to
improve its effectiveness. Work is under way to refine performance
indicators, and an external gender consultative group of gender specialists
and representatives from women's organizations has been established. The
WFP Gender Task Force, chaired by the WFP Deputy Executive Director,
operates at a senior management level in the field and at headquarters.
Funding proposals for WFP development and relief operations specify how
women will be given a substantial voice in local decision-making committees
on administration of food aid management, and also in bodies which
administer the assets/benefits created. In contractual agreements with
partners, WFP requires that attention be given to women's position in the
management of food distribution and provides for women and children at risk
to receive appropriate and adequate food.

30.                Within the United Nations Secretariat, the
Secretary-General has personally asked heads of United Nations entities to
report on their efforts to mainstream gender. The Secretary-General's
Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women has been asked to
assist in developing modalities for introducing gender analysis and gender
balance into programmes and staffing policies. A number of discussions have
already taken place in that regard, and responses to the
Secretary-General's request have been received from the International Trade
Centre (UNCTAD/WTO), UNFPA, the Department of Political Affairs, the Office
of Internal Oversight Services and the Office of Legal Affairs of the
United Nations Secretariat, the World Intellectual Property Organization,
UNRISD, the World Bank, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNEP and the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

31.                As part of the overall inter-agency concern that a
strategic framework for dealing with countries in crisis be developed for
greater coordination and consistency, the Special Adviser on Gender Issues
and Advancement of Women was requested to chair an ad hoc inter-agency task
force meeting on gender in Afghanistan. She also headed an inter-agency
gender mission to Afghanistan, which assessed the gender situation and
prepared a set of practical field-oriented guidelines with related
indicators by which agencies could consistently apply the agreed upon
principle-centred approach for programmes and projects, and could measure
their progress towards achieving that objective. ECLAC organized meetings
of mid-level and senior-level managers to create a commitment to
institutionalizing a gender approach and going beyond a strictly
women-component approach.

             B.    Gender analysis training

32.                Many United Nations entities continue to train staff in
the use of gender analysis and several have stepped up their efforts. Staff
of the Division for the Advancement of Women of the United Nations
Secretariat have participated in training for mainstreaming gender in
various sectors. UNFPA has conducted gender training for headquarters and
field staff and national counterparts, and has supported the production of
gender and population training manuals in three pilot countries, which will
lead to the formulation of a prototype manual that may be adapted for use
in other countries. With a view to promoting the incorporation of a gender
dimension into the UNDAF exercise, two UNIFEM regional programme advisers
have been trained as part of the global support team that is facilitating
the UNDAF process in the first 19 pilot countries. ECLAC has planned
workshops for technical staff and project experts to identify concrete ways
to use gender analysis.

33.                FAO has expanded the use of its international training
package on gender analysis and forestry. The Socio-Economic and Gender
Analysis Programme (SEAGA), which was developed by FAO with multilateral
and bilateral collaboration, has contributed to strengthening
socio-economic and gender analysis capacities at the national and local
levels. Trainers have been taught to use SEAGA methodologies and tools.
UNDP has trained gender focal points in its country offices, along with key
government and non-governmental organization staff. UNDP has also begun to
develop a training module on the gender consequences of the HIV/AIDS
epidemic. The ILO has conducted 20 gender training workshops in the region
and three at headquarters for ILO staff and representatives of ILO
constituents. New training material has been developed and the ILO briefing
kit has been updated, while more resources have been allocated to gender
training for ILO staff. WFP has organized four gender workshops in the
regions and four at headquarters, drawing on a training module based on the
first regional workshop on experience with female leadership in the
southern Sudan and FAO gender analysis tools. National gender workshops
were organized with counterparts and followed by preparation of gender
action plans.

34.                Drawing on existing training manuals, ECA has prepared a
manual on gender mainstreaming to familiarize programme managers with
gender concepts and gender terminology, and to assist them and their staff
in mainstreaming gender in their programmes. The first of a series of
gender mainstreaming training workshops was held for the African Centre for
Women, cabinet staff and the gender focal points from subregional
development centres and the divisions. Training for the rest of the ECA
staff is planned for 1998. A reference centre, providing regularly updated
information on the status of African women in the different critical areas
of concern, will also be established. Habitat has developed a gender
awareness building kit for in-house training. UNICEF has supported the
development of training modules and local adaptations of the UNICEF gender
training package for gender training of teachers, community-based
volunteers, functionaries of municipalities, women leaders and
non-governmental organizations.

             C.    Gender focal points

35.                At the time of the Fourth World Conference on Women, a
number of United Nations entities had focal points on women/gender
programming, but few were located in the offices of executive heads or had
easy access to central policy-making. Since the Conference, several
entities have reduced gender focal points as part of downsizing. Others,
like the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, have established
new focal point arrangements. The Office has created a gender and human
rights of women team with a view to developing an Office-wide structured
approach to gender and human rights of women and to promoting systematic
gender mainstreaming in all its activities. ECA has appointed gender focal
points in all its subregional development centres. At ECA headquarters,
gender focal points have been appointed at the level of divisions to assist
in mainstreaming gender. Another Professional post has been added to the
ILO Office of the Special Adviser on Women Workers' Questions at ILO

36.                Several entities have noted that a majority of their
regional and country offices do not have full-time gender focal points,
thus the responsibility for gender issues has been given to staff members
with responsibilities for other programme areas who may not necessarily
have the requisite expertise and commitment to gender. Others have
established gender units/advisers in their regional and/or country offices.
UNDP has established on a pilot basis, starting in Africa, national
gender-in-development advisory posts. Within the context of a joint UNDP,
UNIFEM and UNV project, UNV has mobilized resources for the funding of 20
UNV gender-in-development specialists to be assigned to UNDP country
offices; 5 of those specialists are funded by the UNV Special Voluntary
Fund. The ILO has created two additional posts of senior specialists on
women and gender questions at the regional level, bringing the number of
such posts to six. WFP has established a network of gender focal points at
the country office, regional and headquarters levels. The creation of
gender focal points has been noted by others to be essential for
programming at the country and regional levels. The Office of the High
Commissioner for Human Rights has mentioned that a serious constraint is
the lack of consideration and incorporation of gender issues within its
field operations, mostly as a result of lack of training of monitors and
qualified staff.

37.                Where focal points serve on a part-time basis, it has
been emphasized that their work on gender issues should be recognized and
recorded in performance appraisals, and that given their importance in
advocating and assisting in achieving gender mainstreaming in
organizations, a systematic review of the role of focal points on gender
and women's advancement is needed.

             D.    Mobilization and allocation of financial resources

38.                Some entities, such as UNICEF, the Division for the
Advancement of Women,, World Bank, UNIFEM and UNIDO, have reported on
commitments made to increase spending on gender responsive activities. UNDP
has confirmed its target of 10 per cent of global programme resources for
gender mainstreaming and the advancement of women, along with commitments
from various subprogrammes and in thematic areas, so that at least 20 per
cent of its global budget will be dispersed in promoting the advancement of
women. Each UNDP regional bureau and country office has agreed to allocate
20 per cent of its resources to the advancement of women. WFP has gone a
long way towards meeting its target of devoting 60 per cent of country
programme resources to women and girls in countries where gender statistics
demonstrate a 25 per cent disadvantage of women as compared with men. A
budget allocation of $1 million was made in 1997 by WFP to finance the
gender action plans at the country and headquarters levels and, inter alia,
to mainstream gender concerns in overall WFP policy, strategies,
programming, monitoring and evaluation and training. 

39.                At the same time, it has been reported that a major
obstacle to implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the
system-wide medium-term plan is inadequate financial resources. This has
been variously attributed to lack of or insufficient funds available to the
United Nations agency itself, or from government agencies involved; reduced
budgets due to the United Nations financial crisis; and lack of a smooth
flow of donor funds and difficulties in obtaining funds on a timely basis.
Lack of funds for follow-up and organization of further programmes has also
been noted. Moreover, there is often no donor support for capacity-building
for gender mainstreaming, i.e., for core budgets for women's groups and
others who could implement gender-responsive projects. UNIFEM has found
that there is high donor support for projects by women's groups from the
South, but not for infrastructure and administration. Budget needs,
therefore, make capacity-building and project work difficult to sustain. In
some cases, the lack of resources has meant the delay and/or cancellation
of certain projects. The ILO has noted that potential donors prefer to
finance components of projects rather than the whole package. WHO has
observed that there is a lack of adequate funding to attract suitable

40.                On the positive side, ESCAP has reported that it has a
technical cooperation among developing countries trust fund which has
helped finance activities on women and development and the private sector
has also co-sponsored activities. The Department of Economic and Social
Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat has mobilized resources from the
African Development Bank, two private corporations and non-governmental
organizations. The Division for the Advancement of Women has received
government contributions to its trust fund to support panellists and
non-governmental organizations participation in the work of the Commission
on the Status of Women, and to expand participation in expert group
meetings, and to convene a gender mainstreaming workshop. ESCWA has used a
collaborative mechanism with the League of Arab States and the Centre of
Arab Women for Training and Research to mobilize resources. To supplement
its regular budget, a significant portion of the work programme of the ECA
African Centre for Women is being implemented with funds contributed by
bilateral and multilateral donors. 

41.                The collection of information on expenditures for
gender-responsive programmes continues to be a major problem for the United
Nations system. From the information received to date, it is apparent that
the difficulties of collecting and collating data on expenditures for
activities specific to women, as well as on activities that integrate
gender, remain unchanged. Although awareness of the need to do so has
increased, steps to facilitate the identification of expenditures that
contribute to the advancement of women are still needed. UNDP has reported
a lack of consistency in arriving at and classifying allocations,
highlighting the imprecision of efforts to quantify and track specific
budget allocations to gender mainstreaming. The estimation of expenditures
on specific target groups continues to be complicated. The necessary
methodology remains to be developed in relation to both targeted and
mainstream activities. Other agencies have found that increasing
decentralization of programming makes it more difficult to track overall

             E.    Human resources

42.                Renewed efforts to achieve gender balance in staffing
have been made but are often thwarted by reform and cuts in resources. In
1997, high-level UNDP appointments of women to senior management positions
included the posts of Director of the Office of Human Resources, Director
of Finance, Director of Operations and Director of the Regional Bureau for
Africa. In the United Nations Secretariat, the percentage of women in the
Professional category subject to geographical distribution increased from
34 per cent in 1995 to 36.6 per cent in 1997. Among the 28 departments and
offices with over 20 staff reviewed, three have achieved or surpassed the
goal of 50 per cent women overall in posts subject to geographical
distribution: the Office of Human Resources Management, the Department of
Administration and Management and the Department of Economic and Social

43.                At WFP, the number of female staff has increased through
proactive recruitment and promotion and a better retention rate. At the P-5
level and above, 18.9 per cent of staff were women in 1996, compared with
9.2 per cent in 1992. Overall recruitment of female staff increased from 12
per cent during 1994 to 39 per cent during 1996. As of December 1996,
female women are represented at the D-1(18.6 per cent), D-2(14.3 per cent),
and ASG/USG(33 per cent) levels. 

44.                UNDCP has noted that there is little national technical
expertise available in some countries to address the special needs of women
drug abusers. Few women officers work in law enforcement and supply
reduction areas of drug control. ILO contends that human capacity is seldom
sufficient to be able to respond to the needs in the field. Moreover, the
relatively small number of women working in the field severely limits
experience-sharing activities.

             F.    Political and cultural obstacles 

45.                Political and cultural obstacles have been encountered
at the national level, including political instability, unpreparedness of
concerned governmental authorities, fragile and inflexible education
systems, lack of political commitment and national will, resistance from
those in power, and inadequate political commitment for the allocation of
resources, all of which have led to delays and non-implementation of some
projects. Political unrest affects the situation of women and the role of
non-governmental organizations. One of the obstacles confronting projects
for women in armed conflict is the extreme delicacy of the issues being
addressed, such as rape, violence and genocide. In particular, it has been
noted that there is often insufficient appreciation of the potential role
of women in resolving issues leading to armed conflict. 

46.                UNIFEM sees the identification of key leverage points in
governmental processes as an important prerequisite for effective gender
mainstreaming. Most projects have to take into account cultural
sensitivities and religious and traditional beliefs, some of which are used
to create political obstacles. Language barriers for grass-roots women
impede some projects. A few agencies have noted a lack of materials in all
six official languages and of translators to conduct training programmes,
due to insufficient funds. Sociocultural attitudes and resistance to
women's social participation are described as obstacles. One entity has
noted that "patriarchal society" is a barrier to successful project
implementation in certain regions.  

             G.    Delays in project implementation

47.                Complicated and prolonged procedures for project
approval and the long time-frame required for some projects have been
reported as obstacles. Prolonged and lengthy negotiations with counterparts
have caused delays in the start of some projects. The Population Division
of the United Nations Secretariat, for instance, has found that staffing
vacancies have delayed the completion of several projects. In some cases,
changes in counterpart staff in the field have caused delays, while in
others effectiveness has been curtailed because local women have so many
responsibilities that it is difficult for them to take on new tasks.

             H.    Coordination

48.                The coordination of system-wide efforts to implement the
Beijing Platform for Action has been enhanced during the period under
review by the establishment of the ACC Inter-Agency Committee on Women and
Gender Equality (IACWGE), chaired by the Special Adviser to the Secretary-
General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and supported by the
Division for the Advancement of Women. In September 1997, the Division
organized a workshop on gender mainstreaming for members of IACWGE and the
OECD Development Assistance Committee/Women in Development Group of the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD DAC/WID). Over
60 participants attended the meeting, exchanged experiences on gender
mainstreaming and developed important alliances for the coordination of
future work. IACWGE, which normally meets once a year, initiated efforts at
its 1997 meeting, on the development of gender-sensitive indicators; the
identification of effective methods for budgeting and accountability for
women's equality; the collection of best practices for use at the community
level to ensure coordinated gender mainstreaming; and the drafting of a
mission statement for the ACC on gender mainstreaming. Despite limitations
on the number of formal IACWGE meetings, a number of informal meetings were
held, whenever the opportunity arose, at Istanbul and Geneva and in New
York to exchange views and update members. In general, over the period
under review, several entities have perceived that there is more extensive
direct or indirect collaboration among the United Nations agencies, which
has been attributed to the Fourth World Conference on Women, IACWGE and a
greater recognition that agencies, by pooling knowledge, expertise and
resources, can  be more effective. Examples of such collaboration include
the joint UNFPA/WHO/UNICEF statement on female genital mutilation; the work
on core indicators; joint wall charts on particular aspects of women's
issues; the Internet site, WomenWatch; and numerous instances of project
co-financing, as well as joint development of gender training materials.
There has also been an increase in collaborating and co-financing of
technical meetings and seminars in a number of sectors. 

49.                Efforts have been made by the Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice Division of the United Nations Secretariat to collaborate
with and obtain requisite inputs from and respective programme perspectives
of United Nations entities in connection with the preparation of the draft
model strategies and practical measures on the elimination of violence
against women, which propose action of a multidisciplinary nature.
Inter-agency coordination to support an advocacy campaign on eradicating
violence against women in Latin America has been initiated by UNIFEM, in
collaboration with non-governmental organizations.

50.                The regional commissions have undertaken various
coordinating efforts. ESCAP was the Convener of the Regional Inter-Agency
Committee for Asia and the Pacific for follow-up to the Fourth World
Conference on Women. The Africa Regional Coordinating Committee on the
Integration of Women in Development, the name of which has been changed to
African Committee on Women in Development, has been revitalized to increase
its impact. In 1997, its terms of reference were revised to focus more on
its comparative advantage of monitoring the implementation of the African
and Global Platforms for Action at the regional and subregional levels. To
enhance its capacity to play that role, its composition was also broadened
to include such actors as members of non-governmental organizations and
other members of civil society, as well as representatives of research,
subregional and regional institutions. An ad hoc expert group meeting on
gender networking was convened, at which strategies for networking based on
the experience of the participants and on the role of the African Committee
on Women in Development in the networking process among actors in different
sectors were formulated in the areas of women's economic empowerment,
women's human rights and women in decision-making. Other forms of
coordination of the implementation process in Africa have included
attending coordination and planning meetings of non-governmental
organizations at the regional and subregional levels to share information
and provide guidance, together with such organizations as the East African
Subregional Support Initiatives, the African Women Development and
Communication Network, and the Pan African Conference on Peace. There has
been continued collaboration with the Organization of African Unity and the
specialized agencies. An inter-agency task force on gender has been set up
in Amman, with ESCWA and UNIFEM as Conveners. The task force has provided
technical and financial support to the Arab Conference to formulate a
unified programme of action and mechanism to follow up the Fourth World
Conference on Women.

51.                At the field level, progress has been made under the
leadership of the resident coordinators in inter-agency coordination to
follow up the Fourth World Conference on Women and other global
conferences. However, work under way to define the UNDAF has yet fully to
integrate women's equality as a key objective, and gender analysis needs to
be more systematically applied during the project formulation stage at the
country level. In a number of countries, inter-agency thematic groups on
gender have been convened by UNIFEM regional programme advisers to
coordinate follow-up to the Conference and joint activities to mainstream
gender and support women's empowerment strategies. In Senegal, for
instance, UNIFEM convened an inter-agency thematic group, involving United
Nations agencies, bilateral donors and non-governmental organizations, to
coordinate support to the government plan on implementation of the Platform
for Action. UNFPA has emphasized the need for coordinated action with its
United Nations system partners, bilateral donors, government ministries and
the civil society, including the academic community, non-governmental
organizations and the private sector at all appropriate levels, national,
regional and international. 

            IV.    Recommendations for further action

52.                Based on the responses received and taking into account
the evidence of increased cooperation among entities in order to implement
the Beijing Platform for Action, a number of recommendations are set out
below for further improving coordination by the United Nations system in
implementing the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women,
1996-2001 in the second half of the plan's term. The recommendations also
reflect the conclusions of the workshop on gender mainstreaming held at
Geneva in September 1997 with the participation of members of IACWGE and
OECD DAC/WID, as well as the inter-agency workshop on follow-up to global
conferences held at Turin in December 1997, which made proposals for
strengthening United Nations country team capacity to support integrated
and coordinated follow-up to United Nations world conferences. The
recommendations further build on agreed conclusions 1997/2 on gender
mainstreaming of the Economic and Social Council, which, a year after the
Council approved the system-wide medium- term plan, proposed steps for
mainstreaming gender analysis and for advancing the status of women in the
work of the United Nations system as a whole. The recommendations for
action by the United Nations system primarily suggest action that would
further a coordinated and cohesive approach to the work of the United
Nations system in relation to the system-wide medium-term plan and the
Platform for Action, namely:

                   (a)   Support the coordinated collection, packaging and
dissemination of social and economic data disaggregated by sex, as well as
gender-sensitive studies, guidelines and checklists, and develop and test
women's empowerment indicators; 

                   (b)   Where not already in place, elaborate action plans
or strategies for gender mainstreaming that clearly describe goals, tasks
and accountability for gender mainstreaming at all levels; 

                   (c)   Encourage IACWGE to continue its efforts to
propose a workable methodology for quantifying and tracking budget
allocations made towards achieving gender equality, based on the experience
of various organizations, including in reviewing progress in the
implementation of the system-wide medium-term plan;

                   (d)   Identify, on a system-wide basis, the competencies
and capacities required for gender mainstreaming, and propose strategies
for closing gaps through investment in training, coaching and mentoring to
enable staff to work with gender analysis tools;

                   (e)   Ensure that staffing policies throughout the
United Nations system, whether recruiting or promoting women or men, fully
reflect the need for gender competence and gender equality; 

                   (f)   Conduct a comparative analysis of the role of
gender specialists, focal points and/or gender units in efforts to bring
about change and in increasing effectiveness in programming for gender
equality as a basis for preparing guidelines on gender focal points;

                   (g)   Make full use, as appropriate, of available
expertise, including the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender and
Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, UNIFEM and
INSTRAW, for the design, monitoring and evaluation of gender responsive
policies and programmes;

                   (h)   Employ inter-agency coordination mechanisms and
bodies within the United Nations, such as the executive committees set up
by the Secretary-General in the framework of the reform process and the
Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) bodies, including the
Consultative Committee on Programme and Operational Questions and the
Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development, to promote an
increasingly coordinated overall approach to gender mainstreaming;
                   (i)   Continue to improve inter-agency coordination for
gender mainstreaming and advancement of women at the field level, through
the IACWGE, UNDG and UNDAF processes and products, in sectoral and
cross-sectoral areas, including for rural women; 

                   (j)   Strengthen the exchange of experience and
cooperation on gender issues at the regional level, in particular
through the regional commissions and their meetings of regional
representatives of members of ACC;

                   (k)   Identify and disseminate positive examples and
practical lessons learned with respect to gender mainstreaming;

                   (l)   Provide assistance to countries in building gender
competencies cross-sectorally, and in establishing systems of
accountability for gender mainstreaming;

                   (m)   Develop principles and guidelines for
strengthening cooperation with non-governmental organizations active on
gender issues, both in advocacy and project implementation.


          1/  The Committee for Programme and Coordination, when it
considered the plan, raised a question about activities for rural women. 
For the present review, rural women are reported to be a major target group
of United Nations activities, and although much of the work with respect to
rural women has been reported under "Women and poverty", activities have
also been reported under other critical areas, including "Women and the
economy" and "Women and education".

         Highlights of information on implementation in the 12 critical 
         areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action, as supplied 
         by responding United Nations entities

1.                 Activities being undertaken by entities that contributed
to the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women,
1996-2001, and by other entities that have since reported on their related
activities, are set out below. In presenting the information, two of the
headings employed by the Plan, "Information collection and database
development" and "Research and analysis", have been combined for the sake
of brevity. The third and fourth headings, "Operational activities,
including advisory services, technical assistance and training" and "Public
information and outreach", have been retained in the present report, except
in chapter X, "Women and the media", in which they have been combined. Due
to page limitations, it has been necessary to provide only the highlights
of the wealth of information provided by responding entities, with emphasis
on the nature of the activities undertaken and in most cases without naming
the specific countries where activities were carried out. The detailed
responses are available on request from the Division for the Advancement of
Women of the United Nations Secretariat.

             I.    Women and poverty

                   Information collection, database development, research
and analysis

2.                 During the period under review, ILO developed a database
on the socio-economic characteristics of home workers; conducted in-depth
case studies; and completed a synthesis of policy guidelines for
integrating a gender perspective in social fund programmes. UNDP, in
collaboration with UNRISD, embarked on comparative research on indicators
of poverty and well-being sensitive to gender differences and strategies to
combat poverty that promote gender equality. The research explored the
gender implications of labour intensive growth strategies and the impact of
redistributive policies on gender well-being, and included a gender
analysis of selective anti-poverty programmes, such as public works,
microcredit, and women and land rights. UNFPA supported strengthening
national capacities to study the relationship between gender, population
and poverty and to formulate and manage projects in this area. A study on
food, population and women was prepared.
3.                 The Division for the Advancement of Women contributed
gender-specific inputs to the Economic and Social Council report on
poverty, and prepared a policy report on rural women. ESCAP completed
studies on female workers in the informal sector, and formulated policy
recommendations on improving the status of women living under conditions of
poverty. Research on gender indicators in poverty profiles was presented by
the United Nations Statistic Division at an ECLAC seminar on poverty and
statistics in 1997. ECLAC concluded research on the relationship between
sustainable development, poverty and gender. ECA is conducting a survey in
six countries on access by rural and urban women to resources, and on
mechanisms for management and distribution of those resources, especially
land and technology. ESCWA has made progress in developing a gender
disaggregated database covering social issues, convened an expert group
meeting that addressed, inter alia, women and poverty, and carried out
exploratory studies in that area.

                   Operational activities

4.                 FAO advised member States on increasing rural women's
access to productive resources and services, and completed gender-sensitive
training materials on improving extension work with rural women based on
country case studies. UNIDO developed and disseminated a conceptual
multi-purpose "platform" (agro-processing unit), which was managed by
women's groups assisting village communities in establishing an integrated
support system for rural women, consisting of literacy and numeracy
training, technical training, credit, repair and maintenance schemes. IFAD
implemented gender projects on nutrition, land issues, credit and food
security. UNIFEM helped to establish women's enterprises, and funded
credit, investment and income-generating activities for women, and for
strengthening entrepreneurial skills. It also sought to apply science and
technology to meet the needs of women living in poverty. UNDP, with the
assistance of the Japanese Fund for Women in Development, initiated women's
economic empowerment programmes, including access to credit. UNV built
partnerships with women's grass-roots organizations supporting
community-based initiatives and income-generating activities, undertook
literacy programmes in rural areas and projects to improve the living
conditions of disadvantaged women and youth, and established a number of
women's handicraft industries, including the marketing of handicraft
production. WFP India joined other United Nations bodies, such as ILO,
UNIFEM and UNDP, in organizing regional workshops for non-governmental
organizations, government banks and credit agencies on best practices
regarding microcredit for women.

5.                 ILO developed a programme of capacity-building for
employment promotion, gender equality and poverty eradication, including a
modular training package for policy makers and practitioners. It
implemented training programmes on employment promotion, and appraised the
gender dimension of social fund programmes in Latin America and Africa. A
workshop on the gender dimensions of social programmes was organized, and
home workers' organizations are being established. A series of advisory
missions was undertaken to formulate strategies for promoting women's
employment in the context of economic reform and restructuring. A
participatory poverty alleviation pilot project aimed at rural women's
employment is under way in Africa.

6.                 UNEP completed a project on training in the construction
and use of fuel-saving stoves to assist women living in impoverished
conditions in Africa. The Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and
the Least Developed Countries of the United Nations Secretariat funded
training on accessing credit and supported African follow-up to the
Microcredit Summit. UNDP supported the Microcredit Summit and the
meet-the-challenge sessions on the use of microcredit as a tool for the
economic empowerment of women, and launched MICROSTART, a pilot programme
in 25 countries to strengthen micro-finance institutions in their
operations, at least 40 per cent of whose total borrowers are women.

7.                 UNESCO collaborated with other United Nations agencies
and local non-governmental organizations and Governments in nine highly
populated countries, illustrating how community development programmes
tailored to meet the specific needs of women can contribute to combating
poverty and marginalization and improving the quality of life for rural
women. UNHCR, in its efforts to integrate refugee/returnee women in
post-conflict reconstruction and development, has introduced microcredit
schemes/small grants and skill training for microenterprise development.
Shelter and other forms of basic needs and material assistance were also
provided to alleviate poverty.

8.                 Women-specific and mainstream ITC trade development
projects in Africa and Asia focused on developing group-level
entrepreneurship for poor rural women, assisting small businesses in export
development, and capacity-building of national mainstream and women's
institutions to undertake export promotion activities and deliver trade
support services. 
9.                 The Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and the Denial
of Human Rights, with the assistance of the Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights , organized a seminar that reinforced the view that women
are disproportionately represented among those living in extreme poverty.
The Special Rapporteur on Income Distribution examined the question of
income distribution and gender discrimination, noting that income
distribution is commonly measured by household and thus conceals the
situation of discrimination often encountered by women.

10.                UNFPA provided reproductive health education and
services to poor, young and adult women living in rural and in urban areas,
with the goal of reducing poverty, improving poor people's well-being and
health, and enhancing their status. Microcredit activities that aim to
enhance women's economic status are very often integrated into the regular
reproductive health/family planning projects. UNFPA participated in the
Microcredit Summit, and launched a global campaign to reach the world's
poorest women. An internal guidance note on population and poverty
alleviation suggested effective interventions to help alleviate poverty
through its three thematic areas of reproductive health, population, and
development strategies and advocacy.

11.                ECLAC offered substantive servicing of a regional
seminar, an ad hoc committee and a subregional ministerial conference on
the issue of poverty and human settlements, reproductive health and the
eradication of poverty; gave technical assistance to a number of Caribbean
Governments on sustainable human development and the eradication of
poverty, and created a poverty matrix. ESCWA, with UNV and the Arab Gulf
Programme for United Nations Development Organizations, have completed two
community development projects focused on integrating rural women in

                   Public information and outreach

12.                The Department of Public Information of the United
Nations Secretariat, through its information centres at the country level,
sponsored seminars, workshops, panel discussions and lectures, and
distributed printed materials on women and poverty to the media,
Governments and the public. FAO commemorated World Rural Women's Day, and
produced videos on rural women and food security and on women farmers. UNV
produced a video entitled "Portraits of Lao women", featuring poor women.
ESCAP promoted a better understanding of the role of science and technology
in alleviating poverty, including that of poor women. ILO incorporated
public outreach in many of its activities. During the World Food Summit,
FAO hosted special seminars on gender issues, and published a number of
reports on gender. The themes for International Women's Day in 1996 and
1997 were "Empowering women, feeding humanity" and "Mainstreaming rural
women as agents of food security". UNESCO participated and financially
supported the creation of a women's information centre, whose main purpose
is the dissemination of information on the rights of women. To mark
International Women's Day 1997, ECA, as part of an inter-agency and donor
community group at Addis Ababa, organized a week-long programme on the
topic "Feminization of poverty". UNAIDS prepared an advocacy paper on the
feminization of poverty related to AIDS in India. 

            II.    Education and training of women

         Information collection, database development, research and

13.                Sex-disaggregated statistics related to education
continued to be supplied periodically to the United Nations Statistics
Division. The Division for the Advancement of Women, in collaboration with
ILO, held an expert group meeting on vocational training and lifelong
learning of women, and the results were made available to the Commission on
the Status of Women in 1997. Habitat published Women Constructing Their
Lives, which was based on case studies and contained an evaluation and
concrete proposals for women's participation in the non-traditional (for
women) field of construction. UNESCO convened an international conference
on adult education, on the theme "Adult learning: a key for the
twenty-first century", at which the empowerment of women through adult
education was discussed, and it was recommended that at least six per cent
of member States' gross national product be allocated to education, with an
equitable share set aside for adult learning. UNAIDS has supported
sexuality and HIV/AIDS education, as well as a study which showed that
sexuality education delays the onset of sexual activity.

14.                ECLAC prepared documentation on educational policies for
women on the integration of women into the economic and social development
of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as a document on female human
resources development. It also undertook field research on the presence of
sex stereotypes in the formal education of young children. The Joint
ECLAC/UNIDO Industrial and Technological Development Unit prepared a
proposal on how to include gender-related topics in projects to improve the
quality, efficiency and relevance of technical and professional training. 

         Operational activities

15.                Besides promoting the right of women and girls to
education as a fundamental human right and a key to development, UNESCO
focused on the education of women and girls within the context of rural
communities. A comprehensive effort was made to link formal and non-formal
educational activities and to tailor them to the needs and aspirations of
the community. In cooperation with the Arab Gulf Fund for United Nations
Development and local women non-governmental organizations, UNESCO
supported rural community centres as teaching/learning centres for women
and girls in order to use more effectively different methods of non-formal
education for women. UNESCO education projects for women and girls in
Africa to implement paragraph 87 of the Beijing Platform for Action
included training for trainers of teachers, social workers and non-formal
educators on how to help girls cope with social and economic changes in
their societies.

16.                UNICEF undertook activities in support of girls'
education, including bilingual education programmes serving 50,000 girls
and mothers in one country. Enrolment of girls in community schools
increased in another country from 30 per cent to 70 per cent by reducing
the distance needed for girls to travel to school, particularly in rural
areas, encouraging the return by pregnant girls to school after the birth
of a baby. Other successful training programmes were mounted, including
teacher training. The number of girls enrolled in formal school systems in
many developing countries has significantly increased as a result of UNICEF
activities. The WHO Global Commission on Women's Health is preparing a
round table on health and education in collaboration with UNESCO, with a
focus on girls' education and health. An ESCAP women's literacy project
resulted in a handbook that is widely used, and skill gaps were identified
to promote the participation of women in industrial and technological

17.                ILO conducted training activities for women in rural and
marginal urban areas to improve opportunities for women in employment and
production. UNDP undertook numerous projects to promote women's literacy,
education for sustainable livelihoods and multisectoral approaches to basic
learning. UNDP supported projects on gender-sensitive education and girls'
and women's education (UNDP also addressed trainers in formal and
non-formal social work); training on guidance and counselling services; and
enhancing the access of girls to science, technical and vocational
education and awareness of the relationship between science, technology,
health, environment and society. It reinforced research on gender issues,
and improved the access of women to scientific and technological education,
training and careers. WFP approved around $70 million in food aid support
to six education projects, of which 50 per cent was committed to girls and
women, and budgets were adjusted to support girls' education in all
extension projects. WFP operational guidelines on food aid support to the
education sector included guidance on advocacy and investments to reduce
gender gaps at the government, schools and community levels in design and
through monitoring of food aid support. UNHCR has supported adult literacy
and numeracy classes for refugees, and together with WFP has devised
incentives to promote enrolment and retention of girls in schools, and to
delay early marriage and childbearing.

18.                UNFPA provided support for information, education and
communication activities on reproductive health and gender equality within
the formal and informal educational system by using traditional and mass
media, encompassing revision of curricula to incorporate concepts of family
life education and population education, gender equality and mutual
respect, tolerance and respect for human rights. It assisted advocacy
activities to ensure primary and secondary education for girls, and
contributed to strengthening government and non-governmental organizations'
capacity to teach young and adult women their rights to enable them to take
care of their sexual and reproductive health. It helped to sensitize men
about women's sexual and reproductive rights, and their paramount
responsibility in promoting gender equality, eliminating violence against
women and girls, and sharing responsibilities in public and private life.

         Public outreach and information dissemination

19.                A major focus of the commemoration of the fiftieth
anniversary of the Commission on the Status of Women in 1997 was its
historic role in initiating decisions that promoted the advancement of
women towards the goal of equality in all areas, particularly in
decision-making in the secretariats of the United Nations and in Member
States. As part of the commemoration, the Secretary-General honoured the
former secretaries-general of the four world conferences on women, former
chairpersons of the Commission and other prominent women who played a major
part in the history of United Nations efforts for the advancement of women
and who as role models had a positive impact on improving the status of
women worldwide. Activities of the Department of Public Information
included raising awareness of the need for education and training for women
and girls and awareness-raising about the Beijing Platform for Action and
the 12 critical areas of concern. UNICEF supported advocacy for girls'
education throughout North Africa and the Middle East through a group of
influential female educators, and initiated a global girls' education
communication strategy. WFP, in collaboration with UNESCO, made a
presentation entitled "WFP food aid in support of education of women and
girls in Africa: past experiences and future action" at an African
conference on the empowerment of women through functional literacy of the
girl child. Increased awareness has also been created by UNIDO among
project analysts, government departments and private-sector entities about
the special needs and interests of women, which require attention in
planning and implementing industrial development projects.

           III.    Women and health

         Information collection, database development, research and

20.                The United Nations Statistics Division developed 10
indicators on reproductive health. WHO continued to collect information and
develop databases on women and substance abuse, maternal mortality and
morbidity, anaemia, unsafe abortion, sexual abuse and rape, and female
genital mutilation, as well as other forms of violence against women and
their health consequences. UNICEF recently updated information on
iron/folate supplement use by pregnant women in developing countries. The
Population Division undertook several analytical studies that dealt with
various aspects of reproductive rights and reproductive health. WHO is
undertaking research on the prevalence of violence against women in
families and its health implications, and research projects on the impact
of tropical diseases on women. WHO involved women's groups in its
reproductive health research, producing a technical paper on gender and
health and a manual for health-care workers in the area of substance abuse.

21.                As lead agency for the Task Force on Basic Social
Services for All working group on reproductive health, WHO forged consensus
around a short list of reproductive health indicators for global
monitoring, to be complemented by guidelines on the generation and
interpretation of the indicators. To strengthen national capacities for
information analysis, WHO is field-testing a guideline on the process of
selecting reproductive health indicators for use at the district level. To
promote increased understanding of measurement issues in relation to
maternal mortality, WHO and UNICEF jointly produced guidance notes on
methodology for potential users of maternal mortality data. WHO, UNICEF and
UNFPA issued guidelines on process indicators for monitoring access to
essential obstetric care. WHO continued to maintain its extensive databases
on women's reproductive health, and has issued revised estimates of
maternal mortality, coverage of maternity care, and incidence of and
mortality from unsafe abortion. A wall chart on aspects of maternal health
care around the world was produced with World Bank support.

22.                UNHCR has undertaken comprehensive programmes on
reproductive health for refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Rwanda, and
inter-agency efforts have yielded a field manual on reproductive health for
refugee women and an emergency reproductive health kit. UNEP developed
tools to assist decision makers in considering environmental health issues,
including case studies, methodologies and a teaching textbook on
environmental health impact assessment. ILO updated and revised maternal
health recommendations and standards, which are expected to be widely
ratifiable. UNDCP encouraged research on the subject of gender implications
of drug abuse by establishing an award for outstanding work. FAO undertook
a study on the effects of HIV/AIDS on agricultural production systems and
rural livelihoods in West Africa. ECLAC completed a study on women's health
in Latin America and the Caribbean, and included a request for statistics
disaggregated by sex in a project on reforms of the financing of the
region's national health systems.

                   Operational activities

23.                One of UNFPA's primary programme priorities is to help
ensure universal access to reproductive health, including family planning
and sexual health, to all couples and individuals. Approximately 50 per
cent of UNFPA programme expenditures/allocations were devoted to
reproductive health activities. UNFPA worked with Governments and
non-governmental organizations to provide, inter alia, reproductive health
information, counselling and services for women and men as well as for
adolescents and youth; training for medical and paramedical staff,
midwives, traditional birth attendants and community agents; contraceptives
supplies and medical equipment; and support for the construction and
renovation of medical facilities. Substantial support was provided for the
Safe Motherhood Initiative and for the eradication of harmful traditional
practices, including female genital mutilation; sex selection; female
foeticide and infanticide. UNAIDS has advocated for attention to be paid to
the gender dimension of the HIV epidemic, as well as for female-controlled
methods for the prevention of HIV. Globally, UNFPA assistance has resulted
in reducing maternal and child mortality and morbidity. UNFPA provides
support for national HIV/AIDS prevention programmes in line with national
HIV/AIDS policies.

24.                UNICEF convened training workshops and meetings to
address problems associated with maternal mortality. In cooperation with
other agencies, such as UNFPA, safe motherhood programmes at the country
level were strengthened. The Population Division of the United Nations
Secretariat provided technical advice and assistance to country projects
supported by UNFPA dealing with reproductive health issues. In several
countries, UNDP facilitated pilot programmes on reducing the economic
impact of AIDS. UNIFEM provided technical advisory services. UNV assisted
in setting up a microcredit fund in one country aimed at reducing maternal
and infant mortality rates by improving socio-economic conditions, and did
health-care training, including providing information about sexually
transmitted diseases (STD) and HIV/AIDS. Volunteer activities focused on
the inclusion of rural women through participatory approaches and

25.                WHO continued to support national authorities and
multilateral and bilateral partners in the development, implementation and
evaluation of reproductive health programmes. In its normative role, WHO
defined essential elements of maternal health care, including antenatal
care, post-partum care and care in normal delivery. Essential practice
guides for the care of women during pregnancy and childbirth were being
developed. Support to countries for the use of syndromic approach for the
management of sexually transmitted infections was being strengthened. To
support clinical interventions, WHO was developing related managerial
guidelines in sexual and reproductive health that cover needs assessment,
training, supervision, logistics, monitoring and evaluation.

26.                UNESCO developed a special programme for preventive
education and communication designed for societies in which men
traditionally have a dominant role and women therefore have little control
over their sexual behaviour and reproductive function. Workshops for
grass-roots level women's organizations to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS
were designed to equip illiterate and neo-literate women with the knowledge
and skills to protect themselves and their families from the epidemic.
UNESCO was implementing, jointly with WHO/Global Programme on Aids, pilot
projects in education for the prevention of AIDS and integrating AIDS
education into population education projects. The Population Division
undertook two country missions to provide technical advice and assistance
in dealing with reproductive health issues, as well as one mission to
evaluate the demographic impact of family planning programmes.

27.                ILO organized seminars and training in Central and
Eastern Europe on preventing substance abuse in the workplace. With the
support of UNFPA, ECE carried out a project on partnership and reproductive
behaviour. In keeping with its educational role in the global fight against
AIDS, UNESCO provided support to Governments for policy and planning,
especially in curriculum development related to HIV/AIDS. WFP launched the
Women's Health and Micro-nutrient Facility, financed by the Canadian
Government, thus strengthening projects to improve the nutritional and
health status of women and children.

                   Public outreach and information dissemination

28.                The Department of Public Information activities on women
and health ranged from the production of a background article on the right
to reproductive health to a host of seminars, lectures, radio and
television programmes, and newspaper articles on various aspects of women's
health issues, including HIV/AIDS. The Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights and the Joint and Co-sponsored United Nations Programme on
HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) convened the Second International Consultation on
HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, which aimed to elaborate guidelines on promoting
and protecting respect for human rights in the context of HIV/AIDS. UNICEF
promoted radio programmes aimed at women, which discussed the rights of
girls in the areas of health and education and aired at popular times.
WHO/UNICEF/UNFPA issued a policy statement on female genital mutilation,
and the Division for the Advancement of Women ensured that this information
was available on WomenWatch, the Internet gateway to the United Nations 
information on women. Reference materials on eligibility criteria for the
use of contraceptives have been developed and widely disseminated by WHO.
UNEP included gender issues in nine publications it produced assessing
emerging environmental health issues. UNDP, within the context of the
UNAIDS inter-agency working group on gender and HIV, is preparing
publications to increase understanding and encourage more effective action
among policy makers and practitioners concerning gender issues and the
HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

29.                UNDCP encouraged women and girls to have a positive
self-image, detect signs and symptoms of substance abuse, and find support
for substance abuse problems, and produced a video on the gender aspects of
substance abuse. UNICEF increased awareness at the country level on women's
health, resulting in resource allocations and systematic planning for
women's access to health services. At the international level, UNICEF
advocacy has facilitated commitments from bilateral and multilateral donors
for women's health in country programmes, as well as a focus on
communication and increasing women's access to information about good
health practices. WHO continued to advocate for sound evidence-based
approaches to reproductive health through, for example, its newsletter Safe

30.                The Population Division provided information related to
women and health to end-users on a regular basis. UNFPA mounted advocacy
programmes at the global, regional and national levels for gender equity
and equality, women's empowerment and the eradication of harmful
traditional practices, sex selection, female foeticide and infanticide.   

31.                UNESCO produced numerous posters and leaflets for
special occasions, such as World AIDS Day, as well as studies on specific
topics, such as AIDS and street children. Special attention is being given
to integrating AIDS education in materials, guidelines and manuals produced
or sponsored by UNESCO, including an HIV/AIDS/STDs education for prevention
brochure, summarizing the main outcomes of an international conference on
school health education and HIV/AIDS

            IV.    Violence against women 

                   Information collection, database development, research
and analysis

32.                The Division for the Advancement of Women, in
collaboration with a non-governmental organization, commissioned regional
studies on concrete measures being taken to combat violence against women
and on the implementation of the actions called for in the Platform for
Action, with funds granted by the UNIFEM Trust Fund on Violence against
Women, as an input to the forty-second session of the Commission on the
Status of Women. UNICEF collected information at the country level on
measures to combat violence against women, such as social services provided
by police and juries for women who have experienced violence. UNIFEM
supported the compilation and analysis of information on laws in Muslim
countries and their effects on women, particularly regarding violence, and
supported national women's groups in creating and maintaining databases and
information dissemination on violence against women. The WHO Global
Commission on Women's Health compiled international texts on domestic
violence. Habitat supported research on urban violence from a gender
perspective. The Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division of the
United Nations Secretariat prepared a new international instrument on
violence against women   Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the
Elimination of Violence against Women in the field of Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice   which was adopted by the Economic and Social Council and
continued its technical advisory activities. UNICRI analysed the results of
its international crime (victim) survey, which focused on women victims of

33.                The Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
presented an analysis of violence against women in the community, including
rape and sexual harassment, trafficking and forced prostitution, and
violence against women migrant workers, a report supplemented by reports on
field missions to Poland on trafficking and forced prostitution, to Brazil
on domestic violence against women, and to South Africa on the issue of
rape in the community. The Special Rapporteur also developed a framework
for model legislation on domestic violence to be used by national
legislators in developing legislation in this field.

                   Operational activities

34.                INSTRAW was developing a manual for the training of
personnel who deal with victims of gender-based violence. WHO was
undertaking a multi-country study on violence against women, and will study
successful strategies for the prevention and elimination of violence
against women and for an appropriate and sensitive health sector response
to women experiencing violence. WHO convened a technical working group and
other consultations on female genital mutilation. In Rwanda, WHO convened a
workshop to identify training needs in violence against women, and is
developing training modules for health workers. UNICRI provided training of
trainers on domestic violence for practitioners in the criminal justice
system. UNHCR has introduced crisis intervention programmes for sexual
violence experienced by refugee women. UNIFEM operationalized the $1.2
million Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against
Women, funding grass- roots, national, regional and global projects in its
first year. UNDP, in collaboration with UNICEF and UNIFEM, supported a
subregional consultation in Asia with law makers, academics and policy
makers to combat violence against women. Combating violence against women
is an intervention area within the regional gender programmes for Latin
America, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of
Independent States countries. ECLAC participated in seminars and
postgraduate courses on the issue of family and urban violence, and
presented monitoring proposals for a national legislation on domestic

                   Public outreach and information dissemination

35. The Department of Public Information issued a new version of the
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. UNIFEM supported
the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women's mission, which raised
awareness about the issues of concern to grass-roots women advocates.
UNICEF completed the distribution of information materials, such as
posters, booklets and a video film, to increase awareness at all levels,
including policy levels, in South Asia and other regions, and facilitated
networking among non-governmental organizations and other grass-roots
organizations to deal with violence against women. UNFPA supported various
advocacy and legislative initiatives aimed at preventing violence against
women, including the production of literature and audio-visual material;
the organization of various forums with parliamentarians to call attention
to the need for adequate legislative and enforcement measures on
gender-based violence; and support for men's groups to advocate for
responsible parenthood, gender equality and respect for women's human
rights, including the right to freedom from violence. The WHO Global
Commission on Women's Health undertook the wide dissemination of a
statement on violence against women, stressing zero tolerance. WHO produced
an information pack on violence against women and updated one on female
genital mutilation. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against
Women was widely disseminated by the Department of Public Information.
UNAIDS, the World Bank and UNICEF have initiated a series of issue papers
on HIV/AIDS, including one on gender-based violence and its relation to
HIV/AIDS. UNHCR has produced a field manual on sexual violence against
refugees, and has conducted advocacy campaigns on domestic violence and
female genital mutilation. ECLAC published an update of information on
gender-based violence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and prepared a
study on the evolution of legal treatment of violence against women. ECA
was a co-organizer of the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices
Affecting the Health of Women and Children Symposium. 

             V.    Women and armed conflict

         Information collection, database development, research and

36.                The Division for the Advancement of Women worked closely
with women's and human rights non-governmental organizations to support
data collection on women and girls affected by armed conflict, especially
rape victims for use by the war tribunals, and held an expert group meeting
on gender-based persecution. An expert group meeting on male roles and
masculinities in the perspective of a culture of peace was convened by
UNESCO, and several case-studies were completed on women's traditional
conflict resolution and mediating techniques and practices. The Special
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the territories of former
Yugoslavia paid particular attention to vulnerable groups, including women,
in her reporting, and raised the issue of rape as a weapon of war. The
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights prepared
its annual report on rape and abuse of women in the areas of conflict in
former Yugoslavia. The Special Rapporteur of the Subcommission on
Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities addressed women
and sexual violence in situations of armed conflict. UNHCR has designed
special programmes for the protection of women at risk, including removal
to a safe place. Support has been provided to women's peace
non-governmental organizations, and UNHCR led a United Nations inter-agency
effort to document best practices with respect to women and peace-building.
ESCWA has undertaken studies on women and peace in the region, and held a
meeting on the role of non-governmental organizations in peace accords.

                   Operational activities

37.                UNIFEM promoted a gender-sensitive approach to conflict
resolution and the management and resolution of conflict through
capacity-building and training of women's peace movements, and supported
training for women in traumatic situations caused by wars and civil strife.
UNICEF identified five areas for policy action and programme implementation
for women victims of armed conflict, including the identification of
specific needs of women and girls in reproductive health, nutrition,
education, psycho-social counselling, and the protection of the rights of
girls and women within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Against Women, and the participation of women in decision-making in the
management of services in refugee camps. UNFPA projects helped to
strengthen and develop women's negotiating and advocacy skills. In Africa,
the urgent reproductive health needs of women in refugee and emergency
situations were the focus of joint activities of UNFPA, UNICEF and UNHCR to
provide emergency reproductive health care to displaced persons and
refugees in Burundi, Rwanda and Zaire, undertaken in collaboration with
other relief agencies. UNHCR has provided training to refugee women in
leadership skills and mediation for conflict resolution. Similar activities
were undertaken by UNFPA in the Arab States, the European region and in
Central American countries. UNICEF collaborated with UNFPA, WHO and several
non-governmental organizations in carrying out its activities in this
critical area.

38.                Habitat and INSTRAW organized a round table discussion
on women and human settlements in conflict zones. UNIDO developed a
conceptual and comprehensive policy framework on employment promotion and
skills training in conflict situations. ILO emphasized capacity- building
for its constituents in the planning, design, implementation, monitoring
and evaluation of programmes to train and employ conflict-affected groups.
A compendium of major training and employment-related initiatives in
countries emerging from armed conflict has been developed. WHO participated
in a number of activities and workshops, which focused on the physical and
psychological recovery and social reintegration of children and women
affected by armed conflict, and provided health care and nutrition. WHO
provided accessible health services for women affected by violence during
armed conflict in such countries as Rwanda, Burundi and Mozambique, and
provided training sessions on counselling and ensured that essential drugs
and medical equipment were available.  

39.                Among the FAO multidisciplinary teams in charge of the
rehabilitation programme for the agricultural sector in Rwanda, there was a
women in development specialist. UNDP promoted the inclusion of women in
the development of public policy, plans and programmes for the
implementation of peace accords. Women's increasing initiatives in conflict
resolution, their struggle for democracy and human rights, and their
increasingly prominent role in sustaining economic and social development
placed them at the core of the UNESCO Mediterranean and Culture of Peace
Programme. ECA assisted in the organization of an inter-agency workshop on
documented best practices of women in peace-building and non-violent means
of conflict resolution, and collaborated with OAU and the Government of
Nigeria to organize a first ladies' summit on peace and humanitarian issues
at Abuja, which sought to define the role of women in the promotion of
peace. The Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement for Women
addressed the summit. ECA also collaborated with the Government of Rwanda
and other United Nations agencies in organizing a Pan-African conference on
peace, gender and development at Kigali. A women leadership forum on peace
was also organized by ECA, in collaboration with OAU, other United Nations
bodies and non-governmental organizations.
40.                WFP undertook training needs assessments to develop
training modules and a core group of WFP staff were trained to improve
women's participation in emergency and relief food aid management and
actual distribution. Technical and financial assistance was provided to
reduce micro-nutrient deficiencies in women and adolescents at risk through
the new Women's Health and Nutrition Programme. Sensitization training was
initiated for staff and counterparts on gender and participation and their
implications for WFP- supported emergency and relief operations. WFP
initiated training of local authorities and women's committees in food
distribution in several countries. 

                   Public outreach and information dissemination

41.                The Department of Public Information awareness-raising
activities highlighted women's roles as peacemakers. A panel on women at
the peace table was organized for International Women's Day, 1997. A
technical publication entitled Women and the Peace Process: Perspectives
from Africa was prepared by ECA for a women's leadership forum on peace in
South Africa. The UNESCO culture of peace radio programme for and with
women in El Salvador met the concerns and interests of women in fighting
violence on all levels of society, developing gender sensitivity on a broad
basis. A film on the Pro Femmes Twese Hamwe initiative for peace in Rwanda
was made by UNESCO, and extrabudgetary funds are being sought in order to
film other women's initiatives for peace around the world that could be
developed for teaching purposes. A booklet on women and a culture of peace
was finalized, inviting women and women's organizations to cooperate with
UNESCO in a global movement for a culture of peace.

            VI.    Women and the economy

         Information collection, database development, research and

42.                The Division for the Advancement of Women organized an
expert group meeting on women and economic decision-making in international
financial institutions and transnational corporations, focused on women's
role, particularly in top management, in preparation for the Commission on
the Status of Women. INSTRAW carried out research on women's time-use
surveys, and generated a methodology for such surveys. The Population
Division incorporated gender-specific data into a statistical database on
international migration, and collaborated with other United Nations bodies
in a number of projects to incorporate gender-sensitive data and indicators
into economic statistics. A classification system for use on a trial basis
that is sensitive to the differences between women and men in remunerated
and unremunerated work was developed. ESCAP published a study entitled
"Improving the access of women to formal credit and financial institutions:
windows of opportunities", which includes country studies on five least
developed countries. In its Statistical Profiles, ESCAP also published
profiles on women in eight countries, containing data on women in the
economy, family life and public life. ILO conducted an action programme on
labour and social issues relating to export processing zones, with special
attention to problems specific to women workers, and ILO also launched an
international programme entitled "More and better jobs for women", designed
to heighten global concern for the quality and quantity of employment for

43.                ILO implemented an action programme to promote gender
equality in five countries with a view to promoting gender equality through
labour administration. FAO trained statisticians to collect disaggregated
data for the year 2000 World Agricultural Census, and training materials
were produced. The UNDP Africa Regional Programme had women's economic
advancement as a focus area, and many UNDP country programmes supported the
economic empowerment of women through credit and entrepreneurship
initiatives. That was also a focus area of the UNDP Japan
Women-in-Development Fund. UNDP, in collaboration with the United Nations
Statistics Division, supported a new project for engendering labour market
statistics and the valuing of women's paid and unpaid work. UNIFEM placed
emphasis on broadening understanding of the impact of trade liberalization
on women's employment and livelihoods, and assisted advocacy for policy
changes, as well as bargaining for increased access to credit, technology
and markets. That included providing support to business women's
associations and to grass-roots producers/traders in the informal sector.
UNIFEM supported trade unions and workshops in increasing the capacity of
women to influence trade negotiations and research and analysis in
government budgeting in enhancing policy-making to ensure that budgets
reflect the interests and concerns of the entire population. 

44.                UNU undertook a research project on the teleworking
implications for employment and trade in developing countries, with a focus
on gender and social equity. The project highlighted the impact of
telecommunication technologies on the globalization process, and assessed
the potential and challenges of such globalization on employment
opportunities for women as well as the impact of major policies on the
effective participation of women in the development process. A study
entitled "Economic empowerment of women and their role in the
socio-economic development of Africa" was produced by ECA. ECLAC prepared
studies on such issues as female urban work in Latin America; social
policies, family and work; the integration of women into the new economic
model; field research on gender aspects of the labour market's informal
sector; and how to analyse national data to prepare a set of indicators
that would be useful for looking at the labour market from a gender

                   Operational activities

45.                UNIDO developed a high impact programme for women
entrepreneurship development, and addressed economic empowerment of women
in integrated technical assistance programmes aimed at increased
competitiveness of women's business, mainly in Africa. Technical and
managerial training materials for women entrepreneurs in food-processing
industries, together with the training of trainers approach, were
developed. ESCAP promoted women's participation in economic development and
capacity to handle challenges arising from the globalization of the
economy. ECE undertook a project on small and medium-scale enterprises. UNV
supported training workshops, including workshops that identify
opportunities for women in small business and credit scheme management.
ESCWA, in collaboration with UNIFEM, organized workshops for women on
starting a business and business incubators.

46.                UNICEF supported credit-linked economic activities for
rural and urban women in its country programmes as integral components of
projects of a wider scope, such as increased literacy, provision of child
care, legal literacy and the economic empowerment of women. IFAD included
components for savings and loans for women in many of its projects. The
United Nations Statistics Division held expert group meetings on the
statistics of the informal sector, household satellite accounting and
household accounts in selected developing countries, including discussion
of gender aspects of relevant statistics and indicators. UNDP had
activities on small credit and microcredit, women's entrepreneurship and
capacity-building for the female labour force, including female labour
based in rural areas. ILO promoted women in private-sector activities
through employers' associations and published guidelines. ILO also
organized a tripartite meeting on the glass ceiling and women in management
to discuss practical strategies to increase upward mobility and career
opportunities for professional and managerial women. ILO further
established employment promotion networks to enable women to take advantage
of the employment and income opportunities opened up by economic reform and
measures; developed projects to improve working conditions and establish
social protection schemes for women home workers; facilitated
institutionalization of home workers' organizations and implementation of
cooperative insurance schemes; and assisted employers' organizations in
designing policies and conducting programmes to increase the participation
of women managers and women entrepreneurs.

47.                UNESCO worked to upgrade the technical skills and
know-how of craftswomen. FAO organized workshops on the integration of
women in fisheries and on coastal fisheries and agricultural management.
ECA provided advisory services in the formulation of gender-sensitive
programmes for the economic empowerment of women and needs assessments.
Professional business women were identified for profiling in a publication.
With the assistance of ECA, the First Global Women Entrepreneurs Trade Fair
and Investment Forum was held in Africa.

48.                UNFPA activities to enhance women's economic status were
integrated into activities designed to increase their accessibility to
reproductive health services, including family planning and sexual health
services. For example, in the Philippines one project combined the
strengthening of community organization, service delivery and the training
of health personnel with income-generating activities for women in urban
slums. WFP introduced the practice of assessing beneficiaries and benefits
to determine gender gaps in its project benefits.

         Public outreach and information dissemination

49.                The Department of Public Information radio programmes
and segments were distributed globally in 15 languages, and seminars were

VII.                Women in power and decision-making

   Information collection, database development, research and analysis

50.             The Division for the Advancement of Women maintained its
database on women in Government at the ministerial and sub-ministerial
levels in the executive branch, and convened an expert group meeting on
political decision-making and conflict resolution. Cooperation on gender
equality issues was initiated by UNESCO with the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Likewise, the National Assembly of Malawi and UNESCO organized a working
group to increase women's representation and the consideration of gender
issues with parliaments in southern Africa. Twelve Southern African
Development Community countries adopted the landmark Mongochi Declaration,
as well as a programme of joint action on women's representation
and gender issues. ECLAC prepared studies on the access of women to power
and their participation in decision-making, and on women and politics.

   Operational activities

51.             As part of the women's equality and empowerment framework,
UNICEF encouraged the participation of women at the community level, making
this a condition for programme support at the country level. UNICEF
provided training and collaborated with credit and income-generation
programmes to introduce social empowerment and leadership skills, resulting
in an increase in women's participation in community-based committees and
in training. Women are members of the village water committees in country
programmes supported by UNICEF, and also assume roles for management of
services after training. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs
conducted a workshop to train representatives from developing countries in
changing attitudes and perceptions and management practices to take women
into account in energy planning, and implemented projects to improve basic
infrastructure and income generation in villages that included women
villagers in decision-making. UNHCR has promoted the participation of women
refugees in food management and distribution decisions, and in camp
management committees.

52.             UNIFEM provided technical assistance and advisory services
in training women in the acquisition of political decision-making skills,
and provided training to women parliamentarians and non-governmental
organizations supporting women leaders in managing campaigns and in
acquiring leadership skills. It also supported strategic coalition and
alliance-building, and worked to provide forums to increase women's
participation in politics. UNV conducted women's leadership training. ESCAP
implemented a project on women in urban local governments aimed at
promoting participation and representation of women in urban local
governments. ESCAP and Habitat organized a workshop on gender-sensitive
urban planning and management through collective participation of women in
urban local governments. 

53.             ILO developed a women in management training manual focused
on women managers' roles. The impact of women in leadership positions was a
focus area of the UNDP regional gender programmes, and UNDP sponsored an
international conference on governance for sustainable growth and equity.
At the country level, many country cooperative frameworks included
programming activities for women in decision-making and leadership
positions. Several UNESCO special projects aimed to empower women and
assist them in achieving more important roles in community development. At
an ECA-organized gender networking meeting to address the role of women in
alleviating poverty, strategies for improving the participation of women in
decision-making were discussed, and ECA organized a training seminar on
leadership skills development for senior executive women and managers from
11 countries. ECLAC convened an expert meeting on the relationship of
women's non-governmental organizations with the State, and prepared a paper
on strategies for increasing women's participation in decision-making.

   Public outreach and information dissemination

54.             The Department of Public Information activities included
participation in television broadcasting on women and decision-making and a
panel on International Women's Day 1997 on women at the peace table,
co-hosted with the Division for the Advancement of Women. The Division
issued Women 2000, a publication on women's role as decision makers in
various sectors. UNICEF, at the national and regional levels through its
country programmes, established partnerships with women's non-governmental
organizations to promote networking by women activists, and supported the
participation of women's non-governmental organizations in development
dialogues and policy formulation. UNV assisted in making two television
programmes with adolescents on gender roles, and promoted awareness-raising
to establish a women's centre on mass-media campaigns.

55.             UNFPA focused on raising awareness about the benefits of
greater participation of women at the decision-making level in the family,
community, political and government spheres. It established alliances with
prominent leaders, such as first ladies, who have helped to put gender
issues in the limelight. UNFPA provided support to a project on women's
legislative advocacy to create a women's lobby for women's health and
empowerment. The WFP video Women Eat Last was widely broadcast by
international and national television networks. At the regional level,
media attention was drawn to the impact of projects that strongly reflect
WFP commitments to women. ESCWA with UNIFEM and the Jordanian National
Committee for Women, organized a workshop to support woman candidates
running for parliamentary elections and organizing electoral campaigns.

VIII.            Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women

   Information collection and database development

56.             The Division for the Advancement of Women compiled a global
directory of national machineries for the advancement of women, taking into
account related work by the regional commissions. A directory of women's
organizations in seven countries was compiled, and women's needs assessment
studies were undertaken by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
UNIDO developed a database of various indicators   social, demographic,
economic, political and legal   composed of 109 indicators and covering 217
countries and territories. The Population Division gathered gender-specific
data on school enrollment, adult literacy and life expectancy at birth, as
well as indicators related to reproductive health, in collaboration with
other United Nations bodies, and produced data sets on diskette by sex and
age on demographic indicators, annual estimates and projections, as well as
patterns of fertility. Work to prepare the UNDP Human Development Report
included disaggregation of social and economic information by sex and other
categories, and a framework for developing country databases on
gender-sensitive indicators was initiated.

57.             The United Nations Statistics Division compiled and
disseminated via the Internet country tables from The World's Women, which
were updated on a yearly basis. It also updated and extended the Women's
Indicators and Statistical Database, and made it available in more
user-friendly ways.

58.             A number of other respondents addressed the question of
data and indicators and methodologies for integrating gender into
programmes. In some cases, data were only available for urban areas, rural
areas/households being left out. There was a lack of data disaggregated by
sex, including data on women's health during conflict and post-conflict
phases, and on crime, trafficking in women and drug abuse. Some noted a
lack of agreement on key definitions, for example on "heads of households",
as well as difficulties in conducting field research. UNIDO noted a lack of
clarity of strategies on issues related to gender statistics and
information provision. There was also insufficient information and data
from Governments on the implementation of women's human rights. Others
reported a lack of quantified indicators related to customs, traditions and
cultural issues. Work on statistics and indicators, while moving forward,
still fell short of requirements for effective gender analysis. A core set
of indicators was under development by the ACC Subcommittee on Statistical
Activities and by the United Nations Statistics Division and the Joint
Consultative Group on Policy. UNFPA developed a framework and indicators to
monitor women/gender considerations in programmes and polices that were
being field-tested in all regions. FAO provided assistance to member
countries for the creation/strengthening of gender units within their
ministries of rural development/agriculture to formulate national action
plans for rural women.

59.             ECA was finalizing an inventory of sources of information
on women and gender, and is preparing brochures on the status of women
vis-a`-vis the critical areas of concern for all African countries. At the
country level, UNFPA has provided support to undertake data-collection and
analysis activities, including establishing surveys, research, and
databases on issues critical to the advancement and empowerment of women.
ESCWA compiled and disseminated updated indicators and data on women and
the family, and supported the collection by countries of
gender-disaggregated data. At the international level, UNFPA provided
support to other United Nations partners, including the United Nations
Statistics Division. ECLAC published a directory of national organizations
dealing with programmes and policies on women in Latin America and the
Caribbean, to be updated annually.

   Operational activities

60.             ESCAP held a regional meeting for participants from
national machineries for the advancement of women. The Department of
Economic and Social Affairs assisted several ECE member States and
Commonwealth of Independent States countries in establishing national
machineries for the advancement of women, and assisted the United Arab
Emirates Women's Union and Associations through methodological support for
the design of a national women's strategy for 2020.

61.             UNDP, UNIFEM and United Nations country teams provided
funding and technical support for the activities of national-level
coalitions of government/non-governmental organizations institutions to
follow up the Fourth World Conference on Women. UNIFEM enhanced the
capacity of regional organizations, women's ministries and non-governmental
organizations to address gender issues and to support gender-responsive
development planning, and to develop and disseminate gender-sensitive
statistics. ESCWA provided technical assistance to member States in
establishing permanent institutional machineries. UNFPA was in the process
of developing a framework and indicators to monitor women/gender
considerations in programme and policies. UNV provided support to gender
and development projects aimed at operationalizing women in development
policy and strengthening national machinery. The United Nations Statistics
Division trained a number of national officials as well as researchers in
statistical methods. ESCAP, with the Swedish International Development
Association and UNIFEM, helped to improve statistics on women in the Asia
and Pacific region. ECLAC assisted ministries of women's affairs in
improving efficiency and effectiveness and implementing the Platform for

62.             UNICEF supported setting data systems disaggregated by
gender and age and multiple indicator cluster surveys in which gender and
age disaggregated data collection was introduced for the first time.
Habitat worked with non-governmental organizations to monitor government
compliance with gender-related developments arising from the United Nations
Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II). ESCWA developed
gender-sensitive performance indicators in collaboration with the League of
Arab States and the Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research. UNIDO
trained 20 project staff and government counterparts in addressing gender
issues more effectively. FAO sought government support for such measures as
the establishment of ministries of women affairs or similar institutions.
The Division for the Advancement of Women convened with UNDP and ECE a
meeting at Bucharest to follow up the Fourth World Conference on Women that
developed proposals on alternative forms of national machineries for
women's advancement.

   Public outreach and information dissemination

63.             ESCAP translated booklets for improving statistics on
gender issues into national languages. The Population Division published
World Population Prospects: Sex and Age Distribution of World Populations,
and a wall chart on basic social services for all as one product of the ACC
Inter-agency Task Force on Basic Social Services. A wall chart was produced
by the ESCWA Statistical Division, in collaboration with the Centre of Arab
Women for Training and Research, on women and men in Arab countries.

       IX.   Human rights of women

   Information collection, data development, research and analysis

64.             The Division for the Advancement of Women, in providing
support for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, prepared a review of experiences of treaty
bodies in working with women's human rights groups and other
non-governmental organizations and an analysis of reservations under
various international treaties. The Division convened an expert group
meeting on promoting women's enjoyment of their economic and social rights
at Turku, Finland, from 1 to 4 December 1997 in preparation for the
forty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Division
and UNHCR continued to implement a joint work plan for mainstreaming
women's human rights in the treaty regime as a whole. UNIFEM provided a
briefing paper on the integration of a gender perspective into the work of
thematic and country special rapporteurs. UNICEF implemented strategies and
innovative approaches on women's human rights and the use of a
mainstreaming kit in this area by various organizations, including the
Commission on Human Rights. ECLAC published a study on the legal situation
of five countries of Latin America, which concludes with the formulation of
general recommendations to consolidate respect for the human rights of
women in the region. ECA prepared a study on the status of ratification and
adherence to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women. It also discusses the reservations to the
Convention made by some States. ECA is finalizing a study on strategies for
promoting women's human and legal rights in the family in both urban and
rural areas. Habitat carried out research on land and property rights of
women. INSTRAW prepared a chapter on monitoring women's rights for a manual
produced by the Norwegian Institute for Human Rights.

   Operational activities

65.             The Division for the Advancement of Women staff made a
presentation in a training seminar on reporting to treaty bodies organized
by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In collaboration
with the Office and the Division, UNFPA sponsored a round table of human
rights treaty bodies on human rights approaches to women's health, with a
focus on reproductive and sexual health rights. The Office and the Division
coordinated efforts to provide information on treaty bodies on the
Internet. Interregionally, UNFPA was providing support to the Center for
Reproductive Law and Policy in working with law and policy non-governmental
organizations to review and promote national policies and legislation that
improve women's access to reproductive health care. At the country level,
UNFPA provided assistance to non-governmental organizations in conducting
training programmes for women and adolescents in legal literacy and human,
political, economic and reproductive rights; developing a network for
promotion of equal rights within a framework of human rights; and
undertaking programmes for the rehabilitation of sexually exploited
children, including educating teachers, community leaders and policy makers
about basic human rights. UNFPA was also working with WHO through the
Global Commission on Women's Health to improve the health status of women
and girls and to develop new policy guidelines and advocacy tools aimed at
enforcing the rights of women and girls towards the overall goal of health

66.             UNICEF organized seminars for parliamentarians and policy
makers on the above-mentioned conventions as well as a series of seminars
and discussions on strengthening the application of a gender-based rights
framework for programming for children and women. UNHCR organized a
symposium on gender-based persecution with 16 asylum countries, several of
which have since developed guidelines for eligibility and the determination
of status for asylum on the grounds of gender-based persecution. UNV
provided human rights monitors in the field, more than half of whom are
women in the case of the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala.
WHO and the Division for the Advancement of Women, among others,
participated in consultations on medical ethics and women's rights to
health, including sexual and reproductive health, in collaboration with the
Commonwealth Medical Association. The UNESCO Mediterranean Programme
promoted projects and research on the subject of migrant women; women's
participation in urban public spheres; the preparation of the Third Forum
of Women from the Mediterranean: Women, Science and Technology; the UNESCO
Shore to Shore Project; the creation of a women's rights observatory and
academic network in collaboration with the Women's Commission of the
European Parliament and the National Defence Services for the Rights of
Women, and work on the les transversales research centre and the creation
of a working group on the history of women, which will conduct research.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights undertook a project in
partnership with the Division to integrate gender into all technical
cooperation projects; the project intends to facilitate the integration of
a gender perspective into all aspects of technical cooperation practices
and procedures in the area of human rights, from the needs-assessment and
project formulation phases to monitoring and evaluation. The Office trained
law enforcement officials on international human rights standards, and has
produced a manual on human rights training for the police which contains an
extensive chapter on human rights of women. The Office also helped to train
African women's rights organizations on human rights of women.

67.             ECA, in collaboration with the World Bank, organized a
conference on the theme "Gender and law: Eastern Africa speaks". Its aim
was to increase knowledge on legal constraints to the advancement of women.
ESCAP convened an expert group meeting at which progress on women's rights
in the ESCAP region was reviewed and recommendations on women's legal
rights were formulated. UNIFEM participated in meetings and funded women's
human rights advocates, and aided non-governmental organizations in
cross-regional dialogues on emerging issues of women's human rights. In
addition, UNIFEM supported training of policy makers and members of the
judiciary on women's human rights, and supported leadership development
institutes for women's human rights advocates. UNIFEM co-sponsored an
orientation/workshop on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women in New York during a meeting of the Committee
on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women for women's human rights
advocates from reporting countries.

   Public outreach and information dissemination

68.             The Division for the Advancement of Women and UNIFEM
contributed to a publication of OHCHR on activities to commemorate the
fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The
Division created a Web Site on women's human rights and the Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, including on
efforts to establish an optional protocol under the Convention. UNIFEM
produced an advocacy/information kit on mainstreaming the human rights of
women in the United Nations system for use by women's human rights
advocates and delegates to the Commission on Human Rights. ILO produced a
brochure to guide members of the formal enforcement machinery concerning
new trends affecting employment equality, such as sexual harassment at the
workplace and new approaches in the field of equal pay between men and
women. The Department of Public Information issued press releases and fact
sheets on women's human rights. Among the principal international human
rights instruments, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
and the Convention on the Rights of the Child all include specific
provisions for equality of the sexes. Since their establishment, the
committees monitoring those instruments have always emphasized the
principle of non-discrimination between men and women, as well as between
boys and girls, in the enjoyment of their human rights under the various
instruments. The committees have seized every opportunity to raise the
awareness of State parties, when considering their reports and making their
observations thereupon, of the problem of discrimination against women and
the girl child, either legal and institutionalized discrimination or
discrimination in practice, and the need for equal protection of the law
for men and women. In addition, UNICEF distributed simplified versions of
both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women for public
awareness campaigns and for use by non-governmental organizations and other
service providers. Habitat supported a grass-roots and non-governmental
organization campaign for equal rights for women to inherit land/housing
and security of tenure. 

69.             ILO has been implementing a project in nine countries on
training and information dissemination on women worker's rights, including
information campaigns, workshops, setting up national steering committees
and drawing up a national action plan. National training materials have
been developed in keeping with the capacity of ILO constituents to
implement an affirmative action policy. The ILO intensified its efforts to
encourage ratification of ILO Convention No. 100 on equal remuneration for
men and women workers for work of equal value, and Convention No. 111 on
discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. 

        X.   Women and the media

   Information collection, database development and research and analysis

70.             The Division for the Advancement of Women initiated with
INSTRAW and UNIFEM a joint Internet gateway on women and gender,
WomenWatch, to provide access to United Nations system information, and
held a workshop of women networkers on women and information technology to
launch the initiative in 1996. INSTRAW conducted a survey to determine the
extent to which women's organizations use computer-mediated communications.
UNESCO supported a project entitled "Women speaking to women: women's rural
community radio in least-developed countries". The project seeks to
establish at least four fully operational community radio stations designed
for women and run by women. The radio stations encourage women to speak out
on issues of concern to them and to the societies in which they live.
UNESCO also supported a workshop for radio producers to produce
gender-sensitive radio and post-literacy materials, covering such areas as
child marriage, entrepreneurship, reducing women's workload, advocacy for
women's education, rural sanitation and women's skills in gardening and

   Operational activities, public outreach and information dissemination

71.             The Division for the Advancement of Women published Women
2000, No.1 (1996), on the theme "Women and the information revolution".
ESCAP facilitated information exchange through computer networking to
strengthen a women's information network. UNIFEM compiled a directory of
media women practitioners, created a media watch in one African country,
and conducted training of mainstream media and journalists in gender
analysis. Many UNIFEM projects and activities have media outreach
components, including the food technology contest in the Andean region, and
human rights training. INSTRAW initiated the preparation of a manual to
promote the use of computer mediated communications among women's
organizations. FAO formulated a project on an inventory of non-governmental
organizations dealing with rural women in Africa, the Near East and Europe.
UNFPA worked with national media to favourably influence policy (for
example, in Nigeria a television drama series on family health and welfare
issues was broadcasted nationwide), and has sponsored a variety of
campaigns, such as the production of a radio and television drama series on
gender, family health/welfare and population issues; it has also provided
support for local drama groups which present works that promote wider
acceptance and use of reproductive health services. UNFPA also supported
various women-led alternative media organizations. UNHCR trained local
women's non-governmental organizations and refugee and displaced women to
produce radio programmes on peace and reconciliation, refugee-related
information, and health and nutrition.

72.             UNICEF incorporated this issue in a number of its projects
aimed at the girl child, violence against women, maternal mortality and
better parenting. UNICEF undertook a number of public awareness programmes,
leading to better coverage and a more sensitive portrayal of gender issues.
The Department of Public Information held workshops for broadcasters and
journalists from developing countries on a variety of topics, including
gender equality. The Department's information centres organized television
programmes and workshops, and gave talks on such issues as empowerment of
women through the media. Habitat and UNESCO sponsored a workshop for women
in the media just before Habitat II giving them the technical skills
necessary to disseminate information on the Conference. UNESCO reinforced
the network, giving special attention to the presence of women on the
information highways through the communication and culture project on women
in cyberspace (cyberworld), and the use of community radio by and for
women, especially in countries with high illiteracy rates among women. The
Toronto and Beijing recommendations for Action continued to provide a
framework for empowering women in and through the media. UNESCO will
continue to strengthen and support networking among women communicators and
women non-governmental organizations, particularly at the grass-roots
level, and their involvement in communication and information
policy-making. UNESCO and the Radio Netherlands Training Centre organized a
workshop on specific management applied to communication for Central
American Women journalists. UNESCO provided support to the development of
independent and socially responsible media, with a particular focus on
raising gender awareness and the promotion of women's equal participation
in the political, social and economic life of society.

73.             ECLAC was developing a communications strategy that would
be supported by three mainstays: (a) the electronic network as instrumental
in strengthening the mainstreaming of the gender perspective in the work of
the institution; (b) the establishment of an Internet home page to be
regularly updated on the activities of its Women and Development Unit and
the impact in the region of its activities; and (c) radio programmes that
would be designed both to confront gender stereotypes and disseminate
information to groups in civil society. It was hoped that that strategy
would be a powerful instrument for the follow-up of the Regional Programme
of Action. ESCWA organized a workshop for the media to raise awareness on
gender issues and priorities.

       XI.   Women and the environment

   Information collection, database development, research and analysis

74.             UNIFEM completed research on the impact of environmental
degradation on women's livelihoods, and land rights and policies in
developing countries. The Division for the Advancement of Women, with UNFPA
and INSTRAW, held an expert group meeting on women, population and
environment to support the work programme of the Commission on the Status
of Women. ECLAC published a study on gender, environment and
sustainability, which includes the proposal of a new methodology to design
research proposals and public policies on this issue. INSTRAW created a
training package on women, environmental management and sustainable

   Operational activities

75.             UNIDO developed a training kit for gender integration in
environment activities. IFAD addressed the issue of women and the
environment in most of its projects. UNIFEM had a number of activities in
the area of women and the environment, including increasing the capacity of
rural women to act as agents of change on environmental issues, and an
effort to increase awareness of women's environmental concerns in Global
Environment Fund and Capacity 21 programmes. It also trained women in the
area of energy planning for sustainable development through a project
undertaken by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the African
Development Bank. At the national and international levels, UNFPA supports
various projects that link women's economic empowerment, environment and
reproductive health. UNHCR supported the integration of refugee women in
environmental conservation and management, including tree nurseries and
reforestation in asylum countries. UNIDO developed a project for women
working in the informal gold mining sector, many of whom are rural women
with limited access to information, on possible environmental health
dangers associated with their work. Training and advisory services were
provided as part of the project. Through the eco-volunteer programme
supported by UNDP and UNV, village women's groups were able to improve
water management practices of pastoralist communities in East Africa. The
ILO created alternative income-generating activities for women fuelwood
carriers. It helped integrate in forest management policies and programmes
the needs of women fuelwood carriers and the demand for fuelwood. It
provided a model for the development of a large-scale credit scheme to
support small enterprises and micro-enterprises undertaken by women
fuelwood carriers. 

76.             FAO had a project on local knowledge information systems to
collect data on women's contribution to biodiversity and bring them to the
attention of decision makers. UNDP/the Office to Combat Desertification and
Drought, in collaboration with the Government of Norway, sponsored a
workshop on strengthening the role of women in the implementation of the
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries
Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in
Africa. Habitat and UNEP organized a parallel event on land/housing rights
for women at Habitat II. 
77.             A UNESCO project entitled "Solar villages in Africa" aimed
to demonstrate and enhance the use by rural communities of low-cost
eco-technologies for power generation and local production of construction
materials; and to involve an increasing number of women in using
eco-technologies to meet their domestic needs. UNESCO also had a project
entitled "Women and water resource supply and use" to improve the quality
of women's life by facilitating their access to water resources. ECLAC
presented papers on gender in seminars on the issues of development and
environment in urban settings, and on population and sustainable

   Public outreach and information dissemination

78.             UNEP honoured 25 contemporary women from around the world
who had made valuable contributions towards the goal of protection of the
planet. The Department of Public Information produced and distributed a
feature article on women and sustainable development, and organized United
Nations radio programmes on women and environment. In collaboration with
UNIFEM, UNFPA sponsored participants to an international conference on
governance for sustainable growth and equity organized by UNDP. UNIFEM
provided information on environmentally sound technologies to grass-roots
organizations working on women and the environment.

XII.     The girl child

   Information collection, database development and research and analysis

79.             For the mid-decade review of goals of the World Summit for
Children, UNICEF supported the collection and analysis of data on
achievement of goals in health and education, disaggregated by sex and age.
In many countries, the multiple indicator cluster surveys provided
benchmarks for the first time for monitoring child survival and well-being.
In several countries, pre-Fourth World Conference on Women awareness
activities were supported with research studies. The Population Division
maintained and updated databases on child mortality by sex in developing
regions, and examined the problem of gender differences in infant and child
mortality in a published working paper. INSTRAW developed a methodology to
measure the unpaid work of women and men. The Division for the Advancement
of Women organized an expert group meeting, in collaboration with UNFPA,
UNICEF and ECA, on adolescent girls and their rights, in preparation for
the forty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

80.             UNICEF declared 1997 the Year of the Girl Child, and
stimulated actions for follow-up on recommendations emerging from one of
several comprehensive studies on the girl child. UNESCO produced and
coproduced with its partners (Governments, other United Nations bodies and
non-governmental organizations) numerous manuals and gender-balanced
teaching materials, and provided guidance and counselling services for
local educators, while helping them to develop different formal and
non-formal education programmes. In cooperation with UNESCO field offices
in Africa, national surveys concerning the participation of girls and women
in scientific, technical and vocation education were completed.

81.             The Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on
sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, in recent
reports, identified three catalysts that prevent but also contribute to the
problem of commercial sexual exploitation of children: the criminal justice
system, education and the media. 

   Operational activities

82.             UNICEF participated in discussions with representatives of
United Nations missions, and provided advice regarding the various
resolutions on the rights of the child. It undertook programmes on legal
reforms, training of law enforcement personnel and the implementation of
rehabilitation programmes, and supported a three-day seminar for senior
government officials, scholars and non-governmental organizations to review
and discuss problems facing girls. UNICEF, in collaboration with the
organization End Child Prostitution and Trafficking of Children and the
non-governmental organization Group for the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, planned to form a technical advisory group at the global level to
facilitate information exchange, make available specific expertise, and
encourage project collaboration and support established monitoring
mechanisms. UNICEF has a number of projects within its country programmes
focused on the rights of the girl child. 

83.             The ILO addressed the issue of girls in the workplace
through a number of programmes carried out under the International
Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour. At the national level, the
ILO supported action programmes for the girl worker in a number of
countries. UNFPA demonstrated its commitment to promoting the well-being of
children, especially girl children, by addressing the reproductive
health-care needs of adolescents in its programmes. Examples include
assistance to Governments and non-governmental organizations in
incorporating adolescent reproductive health information, education and
communication activities, as well as counselling and services into national
programmes, and the establishment of multi-purpose centres for youth,
which, inter alia, provide reproductive health counselling, outreach
activities, referral and other services. UNFPA programmes increasingly
addressed the issue of the sexual abuse of girls, incorporating training,
sensitization and referral systems within the education and health systems
to adequately care for girls who had experienced violence. In countries
with high female illiteracy and low proportions of girls in primary
schools, UNFPA programmes promoted the education of girls in the
development of population policies and advocacy campaigns. A UNESCO project
on scientific technical and vocational education for girls was launched to
enhance access to science, technical and vocational education, to achieve a
gender-balanced environment and to sensitize policy-makers to those issues.

   Public outreach and information dissemination

84.             Department of Public Information activities on the girl
child included radio programmes, workshops and seminars on specific topics,
ranging from the sexual exploitation of children to the problems of
adolescents. UNICEF and UNFPA provided public awareness and
multidisciplinary services addressing adolescent needs, as well as the
needs of very young and pre-adolescent girls. ECA produced and disseminated
a study entitled "Traditional and cultural practices harmful to the girl
child", which addresses various practices that prevent the girl child from
realizing her full potential, the prevalence of such practices and
strategies for eliminating them.



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Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
Copyright 1999 United Nations