Volume 4, Issue 3 , June-July 2000

In this issue:

Women 2000: General Assembly Special Session Opens
- Publications on Women
- Technical Cooperation Activities on Women
24th Special Session of the GA: World Summit for Social Development and Beyond
ECOSOC Substantive Session
Eighth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
Forthcoming Meetings

Forthcoming Publications

Social Development

Recent Publications

Technical Cooperation

New On The Net
- UNESIS Now Online
- SIDSnet Enters Second Phase

Women 2000: Gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century

The General Assembly special session, "Women 2000: Gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century", also known as Beijing+5, is taking place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June 2000. It will focus on examples of good practices, positive actions, lessons learned, and the obstacles and key challenges remaining in the implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action.

The Platform was adopted unanimously by representatives from 189 States at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. It defines a set of strategic objectives and spells out actions that were to be taken by the year 2000 by Governments, the international community, non-governmental organizations and the private sector for the removal of the existing obstacles to women's advancement. It was aimed at accelerating the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women adopted in 1985, and enabling active participation by women in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making. The Platform for Action identifies twelve critical areas of concern which may be said to constitute the main obstacles to women's advancement throughout the world:

  • The feminization of poverty
  • Education and training of women
  • Women and health
  • Violence against women
  • Women and armed conflict
  • Women and the economy
  • Women in power and decision-making
  • Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women
  • Human rights of women
  • Women and the media
  • Women and the environment
  • The girl child

The Beijing+5 Review will appraise and assess the progress made thus far in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, and consider further actions and initiatives aimed at achieving gender equality in the new millenium. It is expected that Governments will issue a political declaration calling for a recommitment to the Platform for Action at the end of this special session. Many Heads of State and Government Ministers, as well as several First Ladies in their capacity as Heads of their national councils on women, are attending the five-day session. In addition, some delegations are headed by or include First Ladies. Other UN bodies and organizations of the UN system have scheduled a number of related events at the UN headquarters during this time. Over 1,250 NGOs pre-registered for the Special Session, and they are also organizing a number of events relevant to Beijing+5. A detailed, updated schedule for NGO side events and for parallel events at the UN headquarters is available at the end of this article.

As the UN intergovernmental advocate for equality between men and women, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has been responsible for monitoring the follow-up to the Beijing conference and has acted as the preparatory body for the special session. Every year since the adoption of the Platform for Action in 1995, the Commission has examined critical areas delineated in the Platform for Action to chart progress and recommend priorities for accelerating implementation. In its preparatory role, the CSW has been holding open-ended deliberations which have involved the full participation of all UN Member States, specialized agencies and observers.

Since the Beijing conference in 1995, many Governments have enacted and revised legislation to bring it in line with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, other international and human rights instruments, and the demands of the Beijing Platform for Action. For example, a number of states have recently corrected customary practices favouring men's ownership of land and passed laws that give women the right to own and inherit property. International legal instruments and standards have also been responsive to the issues raised by the Beijing Platform for Action. An important example is the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 6 October 1999, which gives women the right to seek redress for violations of their human rights, including gender-based violence. The follow-up to global conferences and summits has devoted attention to gender equality concerns. For instance, the links between the persistence of poverty and women's inequality have been highlighted at various international forums, such as at the UN General Assembly and in the preparatory process for the five-year review of the World Summit for Social Development in June 2000 (see article in this issue ). Attention is increasingly being focused on women's empowerment and gender equality as both a means and an end in the fight against the ancient enemy of poverty.

Despite such advances, progress in the direction of gender equality remains slow and erratic: women's concerns are regarded as secondary almost everywhere, women continue to face both blatant and subtle discrimination, women do not share equally in the fruits of development, and women still account for 70 per cent of the world's poor.

A report on the outcome of this Special Session will be included in the next issue of DESA News.

For more information on the Beijing+5 Special Session, please visit the DAW website: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/followup/beijing+5.htm

Contact: Abigail Loregnard-Kasmally, E-mail: loregnard-kasmally@un.org

* * * * *



Time Slot

Monday, 5 June

Tuesday, 6 June

Wednesday, 7 June

Thursday, 8 June

Friday, 9 June

Morning 10:00-12:00


Panel on "Paid and unpaid work: Role of time use surveys".



Launch of CD-ROM, "Women Go Global"

10:30 – 12:45


Panel on "initiatives and best practices of Greece in facing violence against women"


FINNISH MISSION "Screening Gender Makes a Difference". Presentation of the "Screening Gender Audiovisual Training Tool Kit to Promote Fair Gender Portrayal on TV".


1:15 – 2:45


UNICEF, Commonwealth of Learning (COL))

Launch of the "Good practices in gender mainstreaming and implementing the Beijing PFA collection and the Gender Training Materials database"



Workshop on Best Practices in Mainstreaming Gender into Government Budgets.



Presentation of CD-Rom on "Status of Women in Africa"



3:15 – 4:45


Seminar on women and secure tenure




Launching of the Gender Awareness Information and Networking Ssystem (GAINS)



Panel on Gender Mainstreaming.

Experiences of UNVs in the Field.



Presentation of study on Women’s Participation in the Electoral Process.



















Time Slot

Monday, 5 June

Tuesday, 6 June

Wednesday, 7 June

Thursday, 8 June

Friday, 9 June

Morning   10:00-12:00


Panel with authors of the World Bank’s policy research report on gender and development




Meeting between Members of Parliament, Representatives of Governments and organizations on action at the national level following Beijing+5 Review Process.



Panel on peace-building and peace-keeping.

11:15 – 12:45


Panel on Promoting Decent Work for Women



Panel on Women in Power.

Midday 12:45-2:15


Panel on "Advancing Protection for Internally Displaced Women and Girls".



UNDP, UNIFEM and the UN Men’s Group for Gender Equality

Panel on the role of men and boys in ending gender based violence

(Sponsored by PrepCom Bureau)


UN Regional Commissions

Panel on the dialogue between NGOs and Governments: For a gender sensitive citizenship

(Sponsored by PrepCom Bureau)



Panel on mainstreaming a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations

(Sponsored by PrepCom Bureau)



Women Heads of Agency Panel on "New Leadership in UN Agencies"

Afternoon 3:30 – 5:00


Lauch of Progress of the World’s Women



Forum chaired by the Executive Director/UNFPA + featuring national delegates, on "Best Practices in Gender, Population and Development".



Symposium on the Asian Regional Initiative on Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children



UNDP/UNIFEM with Cisco Systems

Panel on "Gender and Information and Communications Technologies: Building New Partnerships".

(title is tentative)






  6:15 –7:45

UNICEF , WHO, WORLD BANK and the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the UN

Panel on "Ending FGM: What can we measure and how?




6:00 – 8:00


Panel on Women and Armed Conflict




Time Slot

Monday, 5 June

Tuesday, 6 June

Wednesday, 7 June

Thursday, 8 June

Friday, 9 June











Workshop: "Courts of Women and Challenges Today for Women’s Human Rights"



Panel: "Environmental Issues Five Years after Beijing"






Workshop : "Women and the Economy.



"Young Women’s Realities and their Recommendations: A Regional Speak-Out"







Panel: "Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women"



Meeting of CONGO NGOs






Midday 1:30-3:00


High-level Panel on the "Contribution of the Microcredit Summit Campaign to the Platform for Action"



"Dialogue Between Representatives of the Women and Armed Conflict Caucus and Representatives of Relevant UN Agencies on Actions to Implement and Achieve the Objectives of Chapter E of the Platform for Action"



Panel: "Sexualities and Human Rights: Sexual Rights are Human Rights"



"Girls’ Speak Out"



Panel: "Globalization, Governance and Women"

Afternoon 3:15-6:00

















Workshop: "Women and Armed Conflict in the Asia-Pacific Region"



Panel: "Monitoring of Continued Implementation of Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at a Regional and Global Level"



Performance Piece: "Women Can’t Wait", highlighting the impact of discriminatory laws on the lives of women around the world. Performer: Sarah Jones, introduced by Meryl Streep.



Workshop: "Networks of, for and by Poor Women Entrepreneurs"


DHL Auditorium


Time Slot

Monday, 5 June

Tuesday, 6 June

Wednesday, 7 June

Thursday, 8 June

Friday, 9 June




Auditorium not available

10:00 – 12:30


Presentation of film "Of Hopscotch and Little Girls" followed by short Panel Discussion.



Auditorium not available

9:00 – 11:00


"Beijing+5: the way forward." Exchange of views between the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs and interested NGOs

11:15 – 12:30


Film screening o f "At the end of a Gun: Women and War" and launch of a publication on women and armed conflict

Midday 1:15 – 3:00


Screening of film "Regret to Inform" followed by Panel with film’s Director, Barbara Sonneborn, and widows who appear in the film.



Panel on the Optional Protocol






Panel on "Emergencies impacting on women – Women impacting on Emergencies"





Panel on "Challenges for promoting and protecting women’s human rights."



Town Hall meeting chaired by the First Lady of Burkina Faso, and with the participation of the first ladies of Ghana and Burundi, on "The fight against female genital mutilation"

Afternoon 3:15-5:00


Skills demonstration workshop on approaches that work in involving men as partners in AIDS prevention and care.




NORDIC MINISTERS Seminar on Men and Gender Equality with the Nordic Ministers responsible for Gender Equality


UNDP/UNIFEM with International Alert

Panel on "Women in conflict situations and post conflict development and the role of the Security Council"



Panel on Older Women Workers.

3:00 - 4:30


Panel on sexual harassement






Multimedia presentation of "The Phantom Statistic"

6:00 – 8:00


Panel/Roundtable on "Overcoming Women’s Poverty/Linking Beijing+5 and WSSD+5"




Panel on "Putting Early Marriage on the Women’s Global Agenda".



Follow-up seminar on the IACWGE Task Force on mainstreaming gender in the programme budgeting process


* * * * *

DESA is bringing out a number of digital and print publications on the occasion of Beijing+5:

Women's Indicators and Statistics Database (Wistat)
Version 4, CD-ROM
Sales No. E.00.XVII.4

The United Nations Women's Indicators and Statistics Database (Wistat) is a comprehensive and authoritative compilation of currently available international statistics on gender, population and social development for 206 countries and areas of the world. Version 4 presents 76 tables, mainly covering the period 1970 -1997, on nine subject areas:

  • Population
  • Reproductive health and reproductive rights
  • Education
  • Public affairs and political participation
  • Economic activity
  • Violence
  • Households, marital status and Fertility
  • National product and expenditure
  • Health and health services

These tables are presented in user-friendly software featuring versatile table layout and data search, selection, graphing and export capabilities. For users who prefer to work directly with spreadsheets, Wistat-CD includes the complete set of data organized into 161 spreadsheet files.

Contact: Erlinda Go, Tel: (212) 963-4507, E-mail: go@un.org

The World's Women 2000

The World's Women 2000: Trends and Statistics , produced by the Statistics Division, was launched with a press conference on 31 May. The book is the third in a series of reports that the Statistics Division has produced as a direct response to a rising demand by a wide range of users interested in gender issues. The World's Women 2000 presents a comprehensive compilation and analysis of the latest available data worldwide, on six broad policy areas: health, human rights and political decision-making, work, education and communication, population and families.

Contacts: Francesca Perucci, E-mail: perucci@zen.it and Joann Vanek, e-mail: vanek@un.org

Commission on the Status of Women: Agreed Conclusions on the Critical Areas of Concern of the Beijing Platform for Action

The Division for the Advancement of Women has released a publication entitled Commission on the Status of Women: Agreed Conclusions on the Critical Areas of Concern of the Beijing Platform for Action . The publication, which is a compilation of the CSW agreed conclusions related to the 12 critical areas of concern from 1996 to 1999, was produced for Beijing+5.

Contact: Abigail Loregnard-Kasmally, E-mail: loregnard-kasmally@un.org

The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Text and Materials
UN Sales No.: E.00.IV.2
ISBN: 92-1-130202-1

The Division for the Advancement of Women has compiled a collection of documents entitled The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: Text and Materials . The publication, which was launched on 1 June 2000, traces the process leading to the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the Optional Protocol to the Convention and its opening for signature, ratification and accession. It intends to provide Government officials, scholars and activists with easy access to texts and materials related to the development of the Optional Protocol. Chapter II highlights the main elements of the Optional Protocol, while Chapter III gives an overview of the legislative history of the Optional Protocol, and describes the role of various bodies and events in the drafting of this instrument - including that of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, of the United Nations World Conferences, as well as of intergovernmental bodies, most notably the Commission on the Status of Women and its open-ended working group. This legislative history is followed in Chapter IV by a chronology of events. Chapter V reproduces the documents referred to in Chapter III. The volume concludes with a selected bibliography on the Optional Protocol.

Contact: Christine Brautigam, E-mail: brautigamc@un.org OR Jane Connors, E-mail: connorsj@un.org

Publication on African Gender Mainstreaming Project

Following the completion of the Support for Policy & Programme Development (SPPD) project on Gender Mainstreaming in Africa and the Technical Review Meeting which took place in New York from 20 to 21 March 2000, the final results are being published and launched during the Beijing+5 Special Session. Information kits, which include methodology, sample questionnaire, executive summary, country fact sheets and best practices in gender mainstreaming, will be circulated to the delegations attending the Beijing+5 Special Session.

Contact: Tsu-wei Chang, E-mail: changt@un.org

Bringing international human rights law home

A new publication entitled Bringing international human rights law home: Judicial colloquium on the application of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the domestic level will be launched later in June 2000. It brings together the papers presented at a judicial colloquium organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in October 1999. Some 100 senior judicial officers discussed the use of these two international human rights treaties in domestic court cases to promote equality between women and men. Organized around the three themes of the colloquium -- nationality, marriage and family relations; violence against women; and women's and girls' work-related rights -- the publication brings together keynote papers presented by six outstanding international experts in their fields, as well as the case studies presented by judicial officers from 25 countries.

Contact: Christine Brautigam, E-mail: brautigamc@un.org OR Jane Connors, E-mail: connorsj@un.org

* * * * *

The DESA Programme on the Advancement of Women includes a growing technical cooperation component. Below are some forthcoming activities.

Consultation on the Role of National Machineries in Beijing + 5 Follow up & National Agenda Setting
New York, 12 June

The Gender Advisory Services Unit of the Division for the Advancement of Women will hold a consultation meeting on 12 June 2000 in New York. It has a three-fold purpose:

(a) to have a better understanding of the modus operandi of national machineries in national planning processes and structures;

(b) to promote learning and exchange on strategies for gender mainstreaming in national and local level planning; and

(c) to develop a consensus on essential factors enabling national machineries to effectively pursue their mandate (Platform for Action) and meet new and emerging challenges (Beijing +5 appraisal).

The consultation is expected

(a) to provide an initial perspective on the institutionalization of national machineries, particularly in terms of their participation in national agenda setting processes such as planning and budgeting;

(b) to provide GASU/DAW with an initial knowledge base for added momentum to the implementation of the capacity building for national machineries project as well as an opportunity for crafting partnerships; and

(c) to promote interregional as well as inter-agency perspectives by inviting member states from outside the region as well as UNIFEM, UNFPA & UNDP to share their experiences and strategies. The coordinator of special initiatives in Africa (OSCAL) will also be invited to this consultation.

Participating countries from the African region include: Uganda, Namibia, Morocco, Mali, Ghana, Rwanda, Mozambique, South Africa, Bosnia, Sudan, and Guinea Conakry. Participating countries from other regions include: Bosnia & Herzegovina (ECE), Jamaica (ECLAC), the Netherlands (ECE), the Philippines (ESCAP), and Yemen (ESCWA).

Contact: Delawit Aklilu, E-mail: aklilud@un.org

Project on Capacity-Building for Promoting Gender Equality in Africa

According to the Beijing Platform for Action, the central responsibility of national machineries is gender mainstreaming; or, in other words, the setting up of institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women. The Platform also underlined the need for effective machineries with the capacity to influence the development of all government policies, and with the availability of resources in terms of budget and professional capacity. However, national machineries face many constraints, including the marginalisation of women's issues and programmes; limited or no participation in high-level decision-making; lack of information and statistical data for gender analysis and programme planning, and finally, limited resources -- both human and financial. In addition, they lack the technical expertise and know-how to establish and/or reinforce linkages with line ministries, government agencies, the civil society and women NGOs.

This project intends to

(a) strengthen the role of national machineries' in policy formulation and coordination;

(b) build capacity for mainstreaming gender in public administration and management institutes; and

(c) build national machineries' capacity in information networking and monitoring the implementation of CEDAW, providing support for Information Management & Internet Use.

The project has been allocated $1.2 million for basic capacity building, data collection and training in strategic planning and budgeting skills.

Contact: Fatiha Serour, E-mail: serour@un.org OR Yolande Jemiai, E-mail: jemiai@un.org

* * * * *

Beijing Plus Five Training for Young Women with Disabilities
New York, 1-8 June

In conjunction with Beijing Plus Five Special Session of the General Assembly, the World Institute of Disability is organizing, in cooperation with other organizations, a "Beijing Plus Five for young women with disabilities training". The training will aim at building leadership capacities for young women with disabilities from many developing countries.

Contact: Ikeda, Akiko, Tel. (212) 963-3822, Fax: (212) 963-3062, E-Mail: ikeda@un.org

GA Special Session, Implementation of the Outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and Further Initiatives

Amidst heightened concern over such social issues as poverty, employment and worker rights in the age of globalization, the General Assembly will hold a special session in Geneva from 26 to 30 June 2000. Its aim is to advance the global social development agenda that was set at the 1995 World Summit for Social development (Social Summit) in Copenhagen.

The meeting will be attended by over 30 Heads of State and Governments and over 100 ministers, who will have the opportunity to speak at the Plenary Session. A parallel Committee of the Whole will be the forum for discussion and speeches by representatives of United Nations agencies/ programmes and NGOs. At the same time, the Government of Switzerland has organized a Geneva 2000 Forum, where 150 events related to the Social Summit will be held so as to provide a voice for civil society. The Geneva 2000 Forum will bring together representatives of nongovernmental organizations, industry, business, trade unions, professional organizations, parliamentarians and academics as well as intergovernmental organizations and governmental delegations.

Before the Social Summit in 1995, social issues were generally regarded as subjects for each country's domestic agenda. The Social Summit initiated a major shift in the way that global problems of poverty, unemployment and social disintegration were to be perceived and acted upon; they are now seen as issues that must take their place on the international agenda. It also alerted the world's major financial institutions that all economic plans must recognize their social implications.

The representatives of 186 countries -- including 117 heads of State or Government -- who met in Copenhagen in 1995 agreed to the Copenhagen Declaration, which contains 10 commitments to social development, and a 100-paragraph Programme of Action that sets out strategies, goals and targets to improve the quality of life for people throughout the world. The 10 Social Summit commitments are as follows:

  • Eradicate absolute poverty by a target date to be set by each country;
  • Support full employment as a basic policy goal;
  • Promote social integration based on the enhancement and protection of all human rights;
  • Achieve equality and equity between women and men;
  • Accelerate the development of Africa and the least developed countries;
  • Ensure that structural adjustment programmes include social development goals;
  • Increase resources allocated to social development;
  • Create "an economic, political, social, cultural and legal environment that will enable people to achieve social development";
  • Attain universal and equitable access to education and primary health care;
  • Strengthen cooperation for social development through the United Nations.

Five years is not much time to show definitive social progress. Since Copenhagen there have been several disturbing events -- including financial crises and internal conflicts -- that have reversed some of the progress made towards achieving the goals of the Summit.

The Asian financial crises of 1997 virtually wiped out in the course of a few months nearly all of the gains of the last decade of development in East Asia, and the numbers of people living below the poverty line grew by millions. Although there are indications that the East Asian economies have since reversed the downward slide, the financial crises in Asia, and to some extent in Latin America, have served notice to the new international economic system that social safeguards must be built into the system.

In sub-Saharan Africa, where several internal conflicts continue to take their toll, over half of all people are believed to be living below the poverty line of $34 a month. And progress is threatened in Latin America, where the number of households living in poverty has declined from 41 per cent to 36 per cent, but where unemployment regularly exceeds more than 10 per cent.

The level of trade has grown over the last few years, but there has been a sustained overall decline in official development assistance to developing countries. Nevertheless, several developed countries, such as the United Kingdom and Canada, have increased their assistance for development.

There are no real differences among countries over the Copenhagen objectives, and they have agreed that they will not use the upcoming review session to renegotiate aspects of the Social Summit's outcome. The real disagreement between countries is over the question of why the implementation of these objectives has gone less smoothly than was planned. Developing countries tend to stress the importance of international cooperation and the need for resources to implement the Summit's Programme of Action; while the industrialized countries emphasize such issues as governance, human rights and gender equality to promote the social development agenda.

The Social Summit review session could potentially provide an alternative forum to discuss the social issues, such as labour rights, which caused serious disagreement at the WTO talks at Seattle. Other issues that may be considered are the social responsibilities of multinational corporations, new possibilities for raising resources for social development, and a global target to eradicate poverty.

Contact: Gloria Kan, Tel. (212) 963-5873, Fax (212) 963-3062. E-mail: kan@un.org

Economic and Social Council session, Development and International Cooperation in the 21st Century: the Role of Information Technology in the Context of a Knowledge-based Global Economy

The Economic and Social Council will hold its 2000 substantive session from 5 July to 1 August. The overarching theme of this year's session is information and communication technology, and how to channel its benefits for development. This will provide an important opportunity to harness the capabilities of the United Nations system in relation to an issue which is critical to the future of development and international economic cooperation.

A number of senior CEO's -- from Cisco Systems, Infosys, and Nokia --have been invited as keynote speakers, as also Mr. Jay Naidoo, Independent Consultant and Former Minister for communications of South Africa. It is thought that their participation will help consolidate and expand the partnerships of the United Nations system with the private sector. A large number of Ministers and High Officials from the Member States are expected to come to the session. The United States has taken particular interest in the segment and H.E. Albert Gore, Vice President and H.E. Lawrence H. Summers, Secretary of Treasury have indicated that they will attend the meeting.

As regards the outcome, it is envisioned that the segment would conclude with a Ministerial Communique including a plan of action to tap effectively the benefits of information and communication technologies for development. Also, the High-Level panel of Experts on information and communication technology, convened in April in response to a General Assembly resolution, has proposed that innovative arrangements be created under the overall leadership of the Secretary General to bring together multilateral development institutions, private sector industry, foundations and trusts to assist developing countries in putting in place their own ICT strategies and programmes.

As has been the case in previous years, the Council's session will open up with a policy dialogue with the heads of financial and trade institutions on important trends in the world economy and international economic cooperation. James Wolfensohn and Rubens Ricupero will partake, together with Horst Koehler, the new IMF Managing Director, and Mike Moore, the Director General of the WTO. For the first time, a panel will also be held with regional development banks.

At its coordination segment (10-12 July), the Council will discuss two themes. First, it will assess the progress made in the UN system in promoting an integrated and coordinated implementation of major UN conferences and summits of the nineties. Secondly, the Council will discuss, as a sectoral theme, the coordinated implementation by the United Nations system of the Habitat Agenda. DESA is in charge of the follow-up of four conferences: Rio, Copenhagen, Cairo and Beijing and has therefore a special responsibility in the regard. Presently, coherence and integrated approaches are being pursued (i) in ECOSOC, which has agreed to organize a review of crosscutting themes, (ii) through work on development indicators, and (iii) the follow-up processes within individual functional commissions of ECOSOC, which attempt to create linkages with related Conferences. Four possible options to advance the objective of better integrating follow-up processes and address weaknesses in existing processes are identified in the latest draft of the relevant Secretary-General's report to ECOSOC. They include (i) holding a single GA event to review, in a sequential manner, a number of conferences; (ii) clustering the review of the implementation of several programmes of action; (iii) staggering the follow-up processes so that there is only one conference review per year, and (iv) carrying out +5 reviews by the functional commissions while holding +10 review at special sessions of the General Assembly.

The operational activities segment will take up resources and funding issues and simplification and harmonization of programmes, operational and administrative procedures. Other portions include a dialogue with heads of agencies and panel discussions with UN country teams for Madagascar and Ghana. There will be a celebration of fifty years of UN technical cooperation activities, including a high-level panel opened by Mr. Desai.

The Council's humanitarian affairs segment (14-18 July) will be on "Strengthening the coordination of humanitarian assistance response and the role of technology in mitigating the effects of natural disasters and other humanitarian emergencies, including conflicts, with particular reference to the displacement of persons arising there from". Two panels will be held during the segment: one on natural disasters, including the role of technologies, and a second one on internally displaced persons. This is the third time that the Council is holding this segment, which was introduced following the reform programme of the Secretary-General.

In the course of its general segment, starting on 21 July, the Council will discuss the elaboration of the long-term programme of assistance to Haiti, progress in the area of basic indicators for integrated conference follow-up, and the work of its functional commissions. In recent years, considerable efforts have been made to improve the way the Council conducts this task, which is at the heart of its "management responsibility", to use the words of a former President of ECOSOC. The challenge is to ensure that the Council addresses substantive coordination and policy issues emanating from the work of these bodies, while also avoiding to repeat substantive debates held in subsidiary bodies. The Council has started to hold informal consultations to go systematically through the many reports of its subsidiary bodies. It is also presented with a consolidated report on the work of all the functional commissions, which identifies coordination or overlaps issues that the Council should address.

The Council will also monitor the implementation of the guidance it gave last year on such issues as coordination of international initiatives for African development, "The role of employment and work in poverty eradication: the empowerment and advancement of women" and restructuring and revitalization of the United Nations in the economic and social fields.

The agenda and advance versions of reports for ECOSOC are available on the ECOSOC website at: http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ecosoc/ .

Eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

Mr. Desai's remarks on 26 April 2000 at the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) served to frame much of the discussion that followed on Rio+10. An excerpt is provided below:

...It has been widely agreed that the Ten Year Review of the Outcome of the Rio Conference, to take place in 2002, must focus on identifying the obstacles to implementation of Agenda 21 and point to the ways and means of overcoming these obstacles. To prepare for the Review, to ensure political will and full mobilization, we should make good use of those work processes we have developed over the years which have served us best.
First, we should surely tap the strong capacity we have built up for holding constructive dialogues among diverse stakeholders. Second, we must make the concept of integration central to our preparations, setting up national preparatory processes that involve not just environmental ministries, but all other ministries. Third, we must tackle and find constructive solutions on those issues we have not been able to successfully address in the past, such as finance and technology. Fourth, we should make full use of other processes which the CSD has engendered, including those dealing with oceans, freshwater and forests.
Finally, instead of focusing entirely on shortfalls and obstacles, I would strongly encourage giving full recognition to successful examples of sustainable development. Creative sustainable solutions have been developed over these years, all over the world, and it is important that they be identified and widely disseminated. Perhaps a hundred such examples could be selected and highlighted as a model and inspiration to others...

* * * * *

An important success of the session was the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Segment, which this year focused on sustainable agriculture. Such segments, included in CSD's agenda since 1998, have become a unique feature for UN intergovernmental meetings when representatives of governments, NGOs, trade unions, the private sector and other stakeholders participate on an equal footing and engage in a direct dialogue to address the most pressing issues.

The main substantive themes on CSD's agenda were Integrated Land Management, Sustainable Agriculture, Trade and Finance. For each of those issues the Commission negotiated and agreed on decisions containing a broad range of recommendations addressed to Governments, UN system and other partners. Though, as expected, no major political "breakthroughs" on any of these issues was made, the session has shown that the Commission is seen as an important international forum for holistic and integrated policy debate among Governments and other partners.

* * * * *

One significant outcome of the eighth session of the CSD is that particular attention is being drawn to the establishment of the new international arrangement on forests and its permanent policy forum, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).

Overall, the participants were satisfied with the progress achieved by the IPF/IFF processes, although some disappointment was also expressed, mainly relating to the lack of consensus towards a global forest convention. Nevertheless, the ministers expressed their strong commitment to implementing the IPF and IFF proposals for action and called for an early establishment of the UNFF.

The Commission invited ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly to take action towards the implementation of the international arrangement on forests, as recommended by the fourth session of the IFF in February 2000. It also invited the president of ECOSOC (Indonesia) to initiate, before the July session of ECOSOC, informal consultations on options for placing the UNFF within the UN system intergovernmental machinery. These consultations are crucial for the decision-making on whether to place the UNFF under (i) CSD, (ii) ECOSOC, or (iii) General Assembly. FAO has made an offer to host the future UNFF Secretariat in Rome.

Further information, including the report of the IFF, is available on the website of the IFF Secretariat at http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/forests.htm

Contact: Tiina Vahanen, Tel. (212) 963-3263, E-mail: vahanen@un.org



General Assembly
23rd Special Session of the General Assembly "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century"
New York, 5 June to 9 June

See lead article.

High-level Forum on City Informatization in the Asia-Pacific Region
Shanghai, 5-7 June

Inter-Parliamentary Union/DESA
Tripartite Meeting on "Democracy Through Partnership between Men and Women"
(On the occasion of the Beijing+5 Special Session of the GA to review and appraise the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action)
New York, 7 June

Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations
2000 session (Second part)
New York, 12-23 June

The Committee will continue its analysis of NGOs applications for consultative status with ECOSOC.

Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
23rd session
New York, 12-30 June

The twenty-third session of CEDAW -- the only United Nations human rights treaty body that deals exclusively with women's rights -- is reviewing the reports of eight States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, including the initial reports of Cameroon, Lithuania, the Maldives and the Republic of Moldova, and the periodic reports of Austria, Cuba, Iraq and Romania.

With Niger being the latest country to ratify or accede to the Convention on 8 October 1999, the number of States parties to the Convention became 165. Adopted in 1979 and opened for signature in March 1980, the Convention is now among the international human rights treaties with the largest number of ratifications.

On 26 May, Namibia and Senegal became the first States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to ratify the Optional Protocol. There are currently 37 signatories to the Optional Protocol which was opened for signature on 10 December 1999.

The Optional Protocol allows individual women or groups of women to petition the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), after all national remedies have been exhausted. It also allows the Committee of its own motion to inquire into grave and systematic violations of the Convention.

Contact: Jane Connors, E-mail: connorsj@un.org OR Philomena Kintu, E-mail: kintup@un.org

First Technical Committee Meeting for the Second World Assembly on Ageing
Frankfurt, 13-16 June

Following a resolution drafted by the Commission for Social Development in February 2000, the Second World Assembly on Ageing hosted by the Government of Spain will be held in April 2002.

The resolution also invited the Secretary-General to establish a Technical Committee to assist him in the formulation of proposals during the preparatory process. Accordingly the First Technical Committee Meeting for the Second World Assembly on Ageing to be hosted by the Government of Germany, will be held in Frankfurt, 13-16 June 2000. The meeting will be attended by a cross-section of experts from various regions. Part of the exercise during this first meeting will be to discuss the successes and failures in the implementation of the existing International Plan of Action on Ageing adopted in 1982. There will also be a general discussion of issues which should be included, and also of the format of the revised Plan of Action.

Contact: Rosemary Lane, Tel (212) 963-5090, Fax: (212) 953-3062), E-mail: lane@un.org

General Assembly
24th Special Session "World Summit for Social Development and Beyond: Achieving Social Development for All in a Globalizing World"
Geneva, 26-30 June

See lead article.

Subcommittee on Demographic Estimates and Projections
21st session
Geneva, 27-29 June


Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Pre-sessional Working Group
New York, 3-7 July

Economic and Social Council
Substantive session, 2000
New York, 5 July-1 August

See lead article.

Ad Hoc Working Group on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace in Africa
Third session
New York, July

UNCTAD/Regional Commissions
Information Technology and Development: Global Challenges and Regional Imperatives
(in connection with the high-level segment of ECOSOC)
New York, 7 July

Panel on "50 Years of Technical Assistance: IT, Learning and Communications"
(in connection with the high-level segment of ECOSOC)
New York, 10 July (tentative)

The Latin American and Caribbean Youth Forum of the United Nations System
Panama City, 17 July to 19 July

The Youth Unit of DSPD, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, the Latin American Youth Forum, and the Caribbean Federation of Youth, is organizing this meeting, which is a follow-up to the last World Youth Forum. The main objectives of the meeting are to identify issues which will be discussed at the Fourth Youth Forum to be held in Dakar, Senegal (5-12 August 2001), and to make proposals to the respective Regional Conference of Ministers responsible for youth. The expected outcome of the meeting is a Regional Youth Declaration and a Regional Operational Plan.

Contact: William Angel, Tel (212) 963-1380, Fax (212) 963-3062, E-mail: angelw@un.org


Economic and Social Council
Substantive session, 2000
New York, 5 July to 1 August

See lead article.

Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for Development
2nd session
New York, 14-25 August

Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
11th session
New York, 31 August

This meeting will elect 11 members to serve four-year terms of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, beginning 1 January 2001. Experts whose term of office expires at the end of 2000 are: Ayse Feride Acar (Turkey); Carlota Bustelo Garcia del Real (Spain); Silvia Rose Cartwright (New Zealand); Yolanda Ferrer Gomez (Cuba); Aida Gonzalez Martinez (Mexico); Salma Khan (Bangladesh); Yung-Chung Kim (Republic of Korea); Ahoua Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso); Anne Lise Ryel (Norway); Hanna Beate Schopp-Schilling (Germany); and Kongit Sinegiorgis (Ethiopia). The Members of the Committee are elected by secret ballot from a list of persons nominated by States parties. The experts serve in their personal capacity on the Committee which is the monitoring body of the Convention.


Publications on women are included under the lead article "Women 2000".

Families and the World of Work

The Family Unit of DSPD has prepared a study entitled Families and the World of Work , which will be published in due course as a sales publication (ST/ESA/272). The study is based on four case studies, covering Argentina, Egypt, India and the Netherlands, which are presented as examples of how the goals of fostering a comprehensive approach to family and work policies can be enhanced. The study offers policy makers an opportunity to learn from the activities and initiatives on the family undertaken in these countries.

Contact: Ghaleb Amr, Tel. (212) 963-3238, Fax: (212) 963-3062, E.mail: ghaleb@un.org

The Global Situation of Youth 2000: Profiles, Trends and Prospects
Two special issues of the United Nations Youth Information Bulletins

The Youth Unit of DSPD is preparing a three volume reference publication on The Global Situation of Youth 2000: Profiles, Trends and Prospects which will be published as a sales publication. Also in preparation are the reports of the of the two regional youth forums which will be published as special issues of the United Nations Youth Information Bulletins.

Contact: William Angel, Tel. (212) 963-1380, Fax: (212) 963-3062, E-mail: angelw@un.org


Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/327 - Vol. LIV - No. 3
March 2000:

Special features in this issue: Selected series of world statistics; Petroleum products: Production; Trade conversion factors; Manufactured goods exports: Unit value index; quantum index; value; Fuel imports; Some indicators on fuel imports; Registration of new motor vehicles; Retail price indexes relating to living expenditures of United Nations officials.

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.Q/328 - Vol. LIV - No. 4
April 2000:

Special features in this issue: World shipbuilding; Total exports and imports: Index numbers of quantum, unit value and terms of trade by regions; Civil aviation traffic: passenger-km and cargo net ton-km and cargo net ton-km.

Contact: Gloria Cuaycong, Tel: (212) 963-4865, Fax (212) 963-0623, E-mail: cuaycong@un.org


Technical Cooperation activities on women are included under the lead article "Women 2000".

Seminar on the uses and the users of official statistics, user relations, marketing and dissemination
Vienna, 11-14 July

A seminar on the uses and the users of official statistics, user relations, marketing and dissemination will be held in Vienna from 11-14 July 2000. The meeting is organized by the Statistics Division and is addressed to countries in transition, the Baltic States and Mongolia. These countries are moving from a centralized system to a more market oriented system and the statistical organizations need to adequately change to cope with new emerging issues, new methods of data collection, and new users. The seminar intends to focus on the development of newly renovated strategies for data dissemination which can meet the needs of new users such as those in the private sector and address emerging issues such as confidentiality. The objective of the seminar is to assist countries in the development of country-specific marketing strategies through:

(i) Explanation of critical issues to be considered in the planning of marketing strategies;

(ii) Presentation of case-studies;

(iii) Facilitating the sharing of existing national experience in the area of data dissemination and user consultation;

Managers of national statistical offices will be provided with a general framework for developing a marketing plan for disseminating statistical products. Specific national frameworks will be developed and follow-up actions will be discussed with the concerned countries.

Contact: Angela Me, Tel. (212) 963-4823, E-mail: me@un.org .

International Workshop on Social Policies in Transition Economies in South East Europe
Vienna, 20-22 June

A Workshop on Social Policies in Transition Economies in South East Europe is being organized by the Social Economic Policy and Development Management Branch, in collaboration with UNDCP, in Vienna this June. The Workshop will be attended by approximately 20 representatives from countries in the region, including various United Nations entities and NGOs. The main purpose of the Workshop is to evaluate the extent to which the recommendations of the World Summit for Social Development have been implemented, to take stock of the obstacles encountered, and to determine further priorities and actions that need to be taken.

Contact: Mariska Meurs, Tel. (212) 963-3640, Fax (212) 963-1265, Email: meurs@un.org


UNESIS now online

The UNESIS Common Database for statistics is now online at the New York Secretariat intranet. Just type UNCDB in the URL line of your browser and you will have immediate access to the largest range of global statistics and explanatory notes available on an integrated Web-output system anywhere in the world.

This first comprehensive version of UNCDB features data from most branches of the Statistics Division, Population Division, DRPA/Project Link, IMF, World Bank, ILO, FAO, ITU, WHO and UNESCO, among others. Most time series go back to 1970 or 1980.

With the UNESIS Common Database you can quickly and easily compare series from different sources and refer to the underlying international standards and definitions. Most of these technical standards are given in their original versions, as adopted by the competent intergovernmental bodies.

Users can browse through the series in a single, consolidated list, or list series by source or by topic. Single series (many with substantial disaggregation) for up to ten countries can be chosen and immediately viewed in HTML. For more than one series and country, the user has several options using "Advanced Data Selection": retrieval and viewing in Excel (most queries take only a few seconds to process and Excel can be launched on demand within the programme), or export as Excel or database files.

Country profiles with basic graphs are also available to provide a succinct set of indicators in economics, finance and social fields for a chosen country.

Over the next month the Statistics Division will set up a regular calendar of data updating so that what the user retrieves at any given time is always the latest available.

Contact: Robert Johnston, Tel. (212) 963-4557, E-mail: johnstonr@un.org

SIDSnet enters second phase

Where is it possible to create a common forum for countries so distant and scattered as small island states? How to discuss their problems and share solutions? How to inform the rest of the world about islands' news and issues?

Since the Internet has proved to be capable of eliminating physical distance by connecting every corner of the planet, it also seems to be the very best means to link together all small island states into a common virtual space. SIDSnet was initiated as a follow-up to the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States of 1994, to facilitate access and exchange of information from and among small island countries. This global network has helped the process of achieving sustainable development on SIDS by creating a platform for consensus building and enabling rapid coordination and action on pressing island issues. The island net is based on the idea that sharing solutions and best practices and opening the discussion to all the stakeholders worldwide can improve the options for sustainable development planning in island regions.

But SIDSnet is not only giving voice to the global community of islanders. It also provides daily updates on islands' news relating to the main issues on the islands' agenda, such as energy, coastal and marine resources, sustainable tourism, biodiversity, climate change and trade. Furthermore, a click on www.SIDSnet.org gives access to calendars on islands' activities and meetings, documents and databases on SIDS, mirror web-sites and a useful search engine for targeted searches on selected sites by region and by themes.

After a successful first phase, completed at the end of 1999, SIDSnet is now ready to enter the second stage of the project. Thanks to Italian, Norwegian and German donations, "SIDSnet Phase II" is being launched. Its aim is the strengthening of the alliance between SIDS, by expanding participation on SIDS issues to civil society, private sector, government and universities and through a program of distant learning and training. During this phase a private decision support network for AOSIS missions and key regional partners will also be developed, thus facilitating their work together. The coordination of the activities will be through AOSIS, the Alliance of Small Island Countries and the SIDS Unit of the Water/Natural Resources/SIDS Branch of DESA. A three year effort is envisaged for this second phase, allowing present and future donors to further contribute to the project.

The continuation of SIDSnet is certainly a high priority for all AOSIS member states: this virtual network has proved to be an essential means of finding concrete solutions to island problems and points the way to their sustainable development.

Web-site: www.sidsnet.org

Contact: Paola Deda, E-mail: deda@un.org