COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
6 - 16 March 2001
Division for the Advancement of Women
Madam Chairperson, Distinguished delegates, Representatives of the NGO community and the UN system, Friends and colleagues,
It gives me great honour and pleasure to welcome you to the forty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This is the first meeting of the Commission after the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century" and the first in the new millenium. For these and other reasons, this session assumes special significance.
The special session of the General Assembly on Beijing+5 reaffirmed the Platform for Action as the blueprint for achieving women's equality, development and peace, while simultaneously strengthening the Platform for Action and highlighting new challenges for its implementation.
The mandate of this meeting of the Commission is to further the implementation of the Beijing Platform For Action and the outcome document within the context of current challenges.
I would like especially to acknowledge you, Madam Chairperson. Your leadership during, and since the Commission's last session, together with ideas and energy of the other members of the Bureau, makes me confident of success at this very important session. Under your guidance the Commission on the Status of Women will embrace the challenging task of accelerating the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and turning the commitments for the world's women into reality.
I am also very happy to welcome the representatives of the NGO community. As the national reports on the implementation of the PfA revealed, NGO's have been a driving force in carrying forward the global agenda for gender equality. The partnership of governments, NGO's and the UN has been a salient aspect of the UN initiatives for the advancement of women.
It is my privilege to introduce the documents that are before the Commission on the Status of Women under agenda items 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Item 3: "Follow up on the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the special session of the General Assembly entitled " Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century".
Under this item there are three sub-items: Sub-item 3(a): The review of mainstreaming in the organizations of the United Nations system contains several reports.
Document E/CN.6/2000/2 is part of the "rolling report" which is submitted annually in three stages to the CSW, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly in accordance with General Assembly resolutions, most recently being 55/71. The present report focuses on the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat in support of gender mainstreaming and follow-up activities, including the activities of non-governmental organizations since the last reporting period. The report also provides information in accordance with specific mandates, namely; ECOSOC resolution 2000/23 on Palestinian women and CSW resolution 43/1 on the release of women and children taken hostage in armed conflict and imprisoned.
Report of the Secretary-General on the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan submitted in response to ESOCOC resolution 2000/9 is before the Commission as an addendum to the rolling report (E/CN.6.2001/2/Add.1).
The Commission also has before it the report on the joint work plan of the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (E/CN.6/2001/3-E/CN.4/2001/70). The report, which is submitted in accordance with CSW resolution 39/5 and CHR resolution 1997/43 and the more recent 2000/46, contains work plan for 2001 and the assessment of the implementation of the work plan for 2000. The joint work plan has proven to be an useful tool for mainstreaming gender into the area of human rights and has enabled coordination of relevant activities of the two secretariats.
The system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women for the period 2002 - 2005 is presented in document E/CN.6/2001/4. The report consists of two sections. The first section describes the activities undertaken to mainstream a gender perspective into the policies and programmes of the United Nations system as well as actions planned to develop the institutional capacity for gender mainstreaming. The second section of the plan outlines the specific actions to be taken across the system to support mainstreaming of a gender perspective into all twelve critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action. The report reflects the planned activities of individual organizations as well as their collective efforts with an aim to form a coherent and coordinated strategy for achieving the broad objectives set out in the Beijing Platform for Action and outcome document. Together with any comments or recommendations that the Commission on the Status of Women may wish to make, the plan will be presented to the ECOSOC for endorsement in accordance with its resolution 1996/16.
The Commission will find, in conference room paper E/CN.6/2001/CRP.2, the information regarding the proposed programme of work of the Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Division for the Advancement of Women for the biennium 2002-2003. The comments and suggestions of the Commission on the substance of the proposed programme of work will be an invaluable input to the finalization of the programme budget for review by the Committee on Programme Coordination, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session.
Under agenda item 3 (a) on the review of mainstreaming in the organizations of the United Nations system, the Commission has a number of documents for information; these are:
As no report was requested under agenda item 3 (b) on emerging issues, trends
and new approaches to issues affecting the situation of women or equality between women and men, I would like to draw your attention to sub-item 3 (c) on implementation of strategic objectives and actions in the critical areas of concern.
The General Assembly resolution 55/71 has outlined the role of the Commission in the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration, the Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session. However, the details, including the methods of work and multi-year work programme remained to be elaborated and decided upon by the Commission at its current session.
In order to assist in the Commission's discussions, the following two documents have been prepared - Report of the Secretary-General on proposals for a multi-year work programme of the Commission on the Status of Women, 2002-2005, E/CN.6/2001/7 and Report of the Secretary-General on recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of the working methods of the Commission on the Status of Women, E/CN.6/2001/8.
Both reports have benefited from extensive informal consultations with relevant actors.
As with all reports of the Secretary General, we trust that the two reports under
sub-item 3 (c) will be constructive contributions to your very challenging deliberations.
Item 4: Thematic Issues
To bridge the gap, until the Commission adopts a new multi-year programme of work for 2002-2005, the forty-fourth session of the Commission proposed two thematic areas to be considered under the agenda item 4 at this session: women, girl child and human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and gender and all forms of discrimination, in particular racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The Commission's discussion on these themes will deepen the understanding of the issues, identify new trends and challenges and promote the types of action-oriented recommendations that will accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome document. The analytical review of these issues is contained in document E/CN.6/2001/9.
To prepare this report, the Division for the Advancement of Women, in collaboration with other UN entities; convened two expert group meetings; one on "The HIV/AIDS pandemic and its gender implications" which took place in Windhoek, Namibia from 13 to 17 November 2000 and the other on "Gender and racial discrimination" which took place in Zagreb, Croatia from 21 to 24 November 2000. The reports of these meetings are available as background papers in English only. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the support and contributions of our UN partners and extend our gratitude to the host governments of Namibia and Croatia for their generous hospitality.
Item 5: Follow-up to Economic and Social Council Resolutions and Decisions
Under this item, the Commission has before it document E/CN.6/2001/10, Report of the Secretary-General on follow-up to policy guidance provided by the Economic and Social Council and document E/CN.6/2001/11, Letter dated 4 October 2000 from the President of the Economic and Social Council addressed to the Chairperson of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Report contains summary of actions already taken by the Commission to implement the recommendations of ECOSOC, proposals for possible further actions to be taken by the Commission and recommendations the Commission may wish to address to the Council.
Item 6: Communications Concerning the Status of Women
Document E/CN.6/2001/12, report of the Secretary-General assessing the implications of reforms of mechanisms in the human rights area (1503 procedure) for communications concerning the status of women was prepared pursuant to Economic and Security Council decision 2000/237 of 27 July 2000. The request for the preparation of this report had its origin in a suggestion made by the Working Group on Communications of the CSW at its 44th session. The Working Group suggested that the Commission "request the Secretary-General to submit a report to its next session containing an overview of any reform measures which may be adopted by the Commission on Human Rights and the implications of these measures for the work of the CSW under its communications procedure".
In addition, a working group on communications established by the Commission at this session will review under agenda item 6 two documents, E/CN.6/2001/SW/ Communications.List.34 and E/CN.6/2001/CRP.36, containing notes by the Secretary-General transmitting confidential and non-confidential list of communications concerning the status of women respectively.
Item 7: Provisional agenda for the forty-sixth session of the Commission
Finally, Madam Chairperson, the Commission will have before it the draft provisional agenda for its forty-sixth session with an indication of the documents to be submitted under each item and the legislative authority for their preparation.
Madam Chairperson, distinguished delegates,
The documentation before you present a series of challenges and opportunities regarding the issues and approaches to accelerate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome document. Your deliberations can significantly enrich the process and the implementation of commitments that were made during the Beijing Conference and the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.
Madam Chairperson, I would like to reiterate the readiness of the Division for the Advancement of Women to assist you and members of the Bureau in our common endeavour for gender equality within the work of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Last but not least, I must express our deepest appreciation of our colleagues at documents control for their efforts in processing and making available the documents before you today.