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United Nations
Division for the Advancement of Women

Economic and Social Council
Substantive Session of 2000
Agenda item 14 (a)


Social and human rights questions: advancement of women

27 July 2000
Statement by Ms Yakin Ertürk, Director, DAW

Mr. President,

Distinguished delegates,

The year 2000 constituted a critically important point for the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the adoption by consensus by the special session of the General Assembly, "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century" of a Political Declaration and an outcome document on future actions and initiatives. The Political Declaration strongly reaffirms the Beijing Platform for Action. The Platform, therefore, remains the reference point for all relevant actors, including governments, civil society and international organizations in the efforts towards achieving gender equality, development and peace. The outcome document, on the other hand, not only reaffirmed the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, but also strengthened the Platform in some areas through making the actions more focused, and identified new issues which emerged or gained on importance in the last five years.

The review processes, thus far, have revealed the strong interconnectedness in the diverse goals set forth by the various global conferences and, therefore, have highlighted the cross-cutting areas that will require new and innovative approaches for collaboration among the entities of the UN system.

The Beijing follow-up has been characterized by an extensive collaborative and coordinated effort. In this regard, Mr. President, I have the honour to introduce the report of the Secretary-General on "Follow-up to and implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action" contained in document E/2000/77. This report is intended to update the information provided in the reports most recently submitted, to each of the three intergovernmental bodies, namely to the Economic and Social Council at its substantive session in 1999 (E/1999/54), to the General Assembly at its fifty-fourth session in 1999 (A/54/64) and to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-fourth session in 2000 (E/CN.6/2000/2). The rolling report, as commonly referred to, is an integrated review of the activities of the United Nations system and the work of the ACC Inter-agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality with regard to the implementation of the Beijing commitments.

The report to the Economic and Social Council aims at assisting the Council in its coordination function; the report to the Commission on the Status of Women highlights efforts made by the Secretariat in support of mainstreaming a gender perspective and the report to the General Assembly contains information on the activities undertaken by the entities of the United Nations system, including specialized agencies and international financial institutions, as well as an analysis of activities undertaken by non-governmental organizations.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those UN entities that continually send their inputs to the Division for the Advancement of Women to be incorporated into the rolling report.

Also before the Council, Mr. President, is the Note by the Secretary-General on "Assessment of activities undertaken by the United Nations system under the system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women, 1996-2001", contained in document E/2000/78 in conjunction with document E/CN.6/2000/3 which was submitted to the Commission on the Status of Women at its 44th session. As it will be recalled a mid-term review of the system wide medium term plan was before the Council in 1998.

In its resolution 1999/16, the Council invited the Secretary-General, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Administrative Committee on Coordination, to formulate the new plan in two phases: (1) first phase containing an assessment of the activities undertaken by the United Nations system, including obstacles encountered in and lessons learned from the current plan and the system-wide process of its implementation; and

(2) second phase containing a new plan that reflects the growing emphasis on action and delivery. In the same resolution, the Council decided that the assessment should be submitted to it through the Commission on the Status of Women in 2000 and the new plan through the Commission in 2001. The Secretary-General’s Note on the draft system wide medium term plan for 2002-2005 (E/AC.51/2000/7) was recently before the Committee for Programme and Coordination at its session in June.

Three main processes will guide the preparation of the new plan which will coordinate and monitor the activities of the UN system for the achievement of gender equality:

    1. assessment of the current plan;
    2. outcome of conference reviews, in particular Beijing+5;
    3. guidance that will emanate from this session of the Council.

Mr. President,

The outcome of the Beijing+5 process has strongly reaffirmed the commitment made to mainstreaming as the key strategy for promoting gender equality in the Beijing Platform for Action, and further elaborated in the ECOSOC Agreed Conclusions 1997/2 and in other General Assembly and ECOSOC resolutions. Throughout the United Nations system efforts are being made to incorporate gender perspective into the substantive work of the United Nations. The Inter-agency Committee on Women and Gender Equality continues to collaborate effectively to develop methodologies for gender mainstreaming. Increased recognition of the importance of incorporating gender perspective in programme budgets has led to the establishment of innovative initiatives to encourage greater attention to gender in budget processes. Many departments and regional commissions have increased attention to gender perspective in medium term plans. Continued guidance and support from the Economic and Social Council is needed to consolidate the UN system’s efforts towards engendering their activities.

Thank you.