Division for the Advancement of Women
United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women

Expert Group Meeting in Romania adopts a Model National Plan for Action for the Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action

A Subregional Conference of Senior Government Experts in Central and Eastern Europe on the "Implementation of the Platform for Action adopted by the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing", was held in Bucharest, Romania from 12-14 September 1996.

Full text of the report of the meeting.

The Conference was organized jointly by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women/Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DAW/DPCSD) and the United Nations Development Programme/Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (UNDP/RBEC), in association with the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). It was hosted by the Government of Romania.

The Conference was attended by senior experts from 21 Governments in the region, including Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan; observers from the Governments of 10 other countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, United States of America, Holy See and Switzerland; observers from 11 UN system entities, namely Centre for Human Rights (UNCHR), the Department of Development Support and Management Services (DDSMS), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Women in Development Bureau (UNDP/WID), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Labour Office (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and United Nations Industrial Organization (UNIDO); one intergovernmental organization and observers from 27 international and national non-governmental organizations.

The purpose of the Conference was to provide an opportunity for Governments, observers and NGOs to determine national and regional priorities; design appropriate national action plans, policies and structures in support of the implementation of the Platform for Action in Central and Eastern Europe; and facilitate cooperation and coordination within and outside of the region. A main objective was the improvement of skills and knowledge to enable Conference participants to assist in the preparation and implementation of national action plans, thereby having a multiplier effect at the national level.

In terms of outcomes, the Conference selected eleven subregional priority areas and adopted a model national action plan. The eleven priority objectives for the subregion included:

(i) institutionalizing national machineries;
(ii) facilitating equal participation of women in decision-making;
(iii) improving the economic and labour-market situation of women;
(iv) improving women's health;
(v) eliminating violence against women;
(vi) reducing the effects of environmental degradation on women, and improving women's role in environmental management;
(vii) reducing the social costs of transition;
(viii) improving the situation of rural women;
(ix) addressing the effects of armed conflict on women;
(x) alleviating women's poverty;
(xi) utilizing the mass media for eliminating gender stereotypes and conducting gender training.

It also approved guidelines for the preparation of national action plans and strategies for their implementation. Various ways and means to build and strengthen the institutional capacity of national machineries for the advancement of women and their role in elaborating, implementing and following up on the national action plans and the Platform for Action were identified. Strategies for strengthening the role of NGOs and other actors in civil society and promoting synergy between national machineries, NGOs and the Gender and Development Centres and academic/research institutions were articulated and strategies for the mobilization of resources and international cooperation were reviewed and adopted.

Various forms of regional and international cooperation along with key governmental and non-governmental actors involved in the advancement of women were identified. Another anticipated outcome of the Conference is improved cooperation and coordination within, between and among Governments, NGOs and donors through the elaboration of national action plans and the identification of priority substantive sectoral areas of common interest, resource mobilization and increased awareness among decision-makers of their commitments from the Beijing Conference. It is also anticipated that the model national action plan would be of use to Governments in other regions of the world. The report of the Conference was distributed to delegations of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee) of the General Assembly.

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