H.E.Mr. Movses Abelian
Chairman of the Delegation of the Republic of Armenia
XXIII SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
"WOMEN 2000 : GENDER EQUALITY, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY"
New York, June 9, 2000
The Beijing+5 Review process coincides with the start of a new century - a timely moment to assess what has been done and what remains to be done in the movement to advance women's rights. The fact is that rights of millions of women continue to be denied, year after year. The fundamental right to equality has been affirmed and reaffirmed repeatedly in conferences, yet, women's equality must still be translated into reality. We should realize that gender equality is not merely about numbers and equal participation but it implies that women should no longer be regarded as separate group in society, and that their problems and requirements are integral part of social and economic development as a whole.
The statements we heard during this session prove that there is not yet a consensus on what could be a rights-based approach to dealing with some of the areas of concern.
Today, it is evident that all countries in the world - advanced, developing, or transitional - will be substantially affected by globalization. The major tasks which governments face today are the development and pursuit of sound policies and appropriate structural adjustments to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that these new trends offers.
Globalization has placed new challenges on women's economic and social rights; inequality in economic and social rights makes women vulnerable, and exacerbates still further the barriers to being able to participate in public and political life.
The Armenian legislation provides for equal rights for women and men and there is hardly need for any drastic legal reform. The real challenge is changing the mentality, bringing both men and women to a point when they realize that the place of the woman in the society is far from being limited to her role in the family.
The "Basic principles of the plan of action for the improvement of the situation of women in Armenia for 1998-2000" of the Government of Armenia, are targeted at wider involvement of women in the different levels of decision-making, assistance to female victims of violence, development of social network for teenage girls, elaboration of proposals aimed at elimination of unemployment among women, creation of better working conditions for women. Through cooperation between the Government and NGOs, a pilot gender education program was launched at two states and two private universities. Gender expertise of the legislation guarantees the gender sensitivity of the laws and provides for active participation of the NGOs in the formation of the civic
Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing became the first forum where crucial links between the advancement of women and social progress around the world were most clearly elaborated. The Beijing Platform for Action highlighted the global nature of human rights issues concerning women, and signaled a strong commitment on the part of governments to international norms in gender equality. The challenge we face today is to build on the achievements of Beijing. We must move the agenda in practical ways, including reconsidering the national budgets to cover the commitments made in Beijing. We fully support the recommendation contained in the draft Outcome Document, to incorporate gender equality perspective into budgetary processes.
This year, as the time frame for the implementation of the basic principles of the national plan of action expires, the Armenian Government, in cooperation with the civil society, has committed to develop a solid national plan of action, based on the outcome of the present session, especially that the problems of countries with economies in transition are reflected in the outcome document.
It is, Mr. President, our strong belief that only concerted efforts of the governments and the NGO community at national, regional and global level can effectively promote equality, development, peace and prosperity worldwide.
Thank you, Mr. President.