United Nations

E/CN.6/1995/5/Add.5


Commission on the Status of Women

 Distr. GENERAL
23 February 1995
ENGLISH
ORIGINAL: ARABIC/ENGLISH



COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Thirty-eighth session
New York, 15 March-4 April 1994
Item 3 (c) of the provisional agenda*

     *    E/1995/1.



             PREPARATIONS FOR THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN:
                   ACTION FOR EQUALITY, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE

                   Reports from regional conferences and other
                            international conferences

                                    Addendum

        Arab Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women to the Year 2000
        adopted at the Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting, held at Amman
                            on 9 and 10 November 1994



                                    CONTENTS
                                                             Paragraphs


     Statement of mission                                       1 - 8

Chapter

     I.   GENERAL FRAMEWORK                                     9 - 22

     II.  ARAB WOMEN'S PRIORITY CONCERNS BASED ON
          AREAS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE, AND
          MEASURES TO BE TAKEN                                 23 - 44

          A.  Safeguarding the right of Arab women
              to participate in power and decision-
              making structures and mechanisms                 23 - 25

          B.  Alleviation of poverty for Arab women            26 - 27

          C.   Ensuring equal opportunity for Arab women
               at all levels of education                      28 - 29

          D.   Ensuring women's equal access to
               health services                                 30 - 31

          E.   Strengthening the capabilities of Arab
               women to enter the labour market and
               achieve self-reliance                           32 - 34

          F.   Overcoming the impact of war, occupation and
               armed conflict on women                         35 - 37

          G.   Elimination of violence against women           38 - 39

          H.   Participation of women in the management of
               natural resources and the protection of the
               environment                                     40 - 42

          I.   Effective utilization of communications
               to effect changes in roles in society
               and achieve equality between the sexes          43 - 44

     III. FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS                                 45

     IV.  INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR IMPLEMENTING AND
          MONITORING THE PLAN OF ACTION                        46 - 53


                         STATEMENT OF MISSION

1.   In implementation of resolution 37/7, adopted by the United Nations
Commission on the Status of Women, on the preparation for the Fourth World
Conference on Women, to be held in Beijing in 1995, and in implementation of
resolutions adopted by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
(ESCWA), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the League of Arab
States, a preparatory meeting was held in Amman from 6 to 10 November 1994
under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Basma Bint Talal,
Chairperson of Jordan's National Committee for Women's Affairs. The meeting
was divided into two segments. The first was an expert group meeting on the
Arab Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women. The second segment was a
high-level meeting to adopt the Plan. The organization and convening of the
meeting were a joint and cooperative effort by the secretariat of ESCWA, the
General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, and the Center of Arab Women
for Training and Research (CAWTAR).

2. The objective of the meeting is to formulate the Arab Plan of Action for
the Advancement of Women and to have a framework of common Arab visions and
positions for presentation to the Fourth World Conference on Women to be held
in Beijing in 1995 as a contribution by the Arab region to the global Platform
for Action.

3. The Arab Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women to the Year 2005 is
based on the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies, on the international
covenants relating to human rights and the rights of women and children, and
on the international conferences relating to women and children, especially
the World Summit for Children (1990), the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development (1992), the World Conference on Human Rights (
1993) and the International Conference on Population and Development (1994).

4. The Plan of Action emanates from the religious values that respect the
rights of women as human beings and it emphasizes the belief that their
participation in the development process and the fruits thereof is a
precondition for its comprehensiveness and sustainability. Based on the
validity of those principles for cultural and educational renewal, the Plan
for the next stage focuses on changing the image and stereotyped roles of
women as well as on the advancement of women to equality, participation and
total use of their capabilities.

5. The Arab Plan of Action includes the objectives, policies and measures
aimed at enabling women to exercise fully their rights and assume their
responsibilities within the context of the global Platform for Action, which
emphasizes the elimination of the remaining obstacles to the integration of
women in the sustainable development process.

6. The Arab Plan of Action is based on national reports and plans of action
which included the statistical indicators which the Secretariat of the Fourth
World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995) circulated to the States Members of
the United Nations. The Plan takes into consideration the recommendations of
the expert group meeting held in Amman from 6 to 8 November 1994, the report
and the platform of the nongovernmental organizations for the Arab region
adopted by the Amman Forum for Non-governmental Organizations, held from 3 to
5 November 1994, and the recommendations of the Consultative Meeting on Youth
in the ESCWA region, held in Amman from 3 to 7 November 1994. This Plan aims
at addressing the issues included in the draft global Platform for Action
(resolution 37/7 of the Commission on the Status of Women). Those issues and
other priorities are the following:

     (a) The inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and
decision-making at all levels; 

     (b) Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of
women;

     (c) The lack of awareness of, and commitment to, internationally and
nationally recognized women`s rights;

     (d) The permanent and increasing burden of poverty on women;

     (e) Inequality in women's access to and participation in the definition
of economic structures and policies and the productive process itself;

     (f) Inequality in access to education, health, employment and other
means of maximizing awareness of rights and the use of their capacities;

     (g) Violence against women;

     (h) The effects on women of wars and armed as well as other types of
conflicts on women;

     (i) Insufficient use of the mass media for the promotion of the positive
contribution of women to society;

     (j) Lack of adequate recognition and support for participation by women
in the management of natural resources and in the protection of the
environment.

7. The Arab Plan of Action describes the Arab and world framework as well as
the foundations, principles, general goals and priorities relating to women
and derived from their common ground in areas crucially important to the
advancement of women in the Arab countries. The changes that occurred in
relation to the status of women and their role since the Nairobi Conference in
1985 necessitated the preparation of a document reviewing and evaluating the
implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies as well as the
drafting of an Arab plan of action for the medium-term stage.

8. In the preparation of a draft global Platform for Action to be submitted as
an official and basic document for adoption by the Beijing Conference in 1995,
the Secretariat of the Fourth World Conference on Women (at United Nations
Headquarters in New York) will rely on the plans of action adopted by the
other regional commissions of the United Nations as well as on the Arab Plan
of Action for the Advancement of Women to the Year 2005.


                         I. GENERAL FRAMEWORK

9. As they approach the twenty-first century, the Arab States face many
challenges and economic, social cultural and technical opportunities in a
regional and international climate and atmosphere of accelerating changes,
with a tendency towards greater economic and political domination, which have
particularly affected women. Therefore, the Arab Plan of Action, for the
implementation of which governmental and nongovernmental efforts will be
joined to those of regional and international organizations, is based on an
accurate diagnosis of the conditions of the Arab region in general and of
women in particular.

10. Recent years have been characterized by the formation of regional economic
blocs and a global orientation towards the liberalization of international
trade. The region is also witnessing the application of economic structural
adjustment in many of the Arab countries, including a reduced role for the
public sector and a reduction of government expenditure on services. The 1980s
also witnessed an increase in indebtedness and a slow-down of economic growth
in some Arab countries. All that, in the absence of Arab economic cooperation,
has resulted in adverse effects on the Arab economic situation in general and
women's employment and benefit from social services in particular.

11. The Arab region is facing numerous challenges which call for effective
and innovative methods. With regard to natural resources, the major problem
lies in the scarcity of water resources and the imbalances in the allocation
of water and power sources, lack of national and regional strategies to create
a balance between preserving the environment and developing and exploiting
natural resources, and the lack of planning and planning mechanisms.

12. The challenges that the Arab States face include a major challenge
represented by a lack in the conceptualization of human development which does
not take into account a sense of security; expanding choices; achieving
justice and equality between the sexes, including the development of the
potential of women and youth; and the creation of conditions conducive to
democracy based on pluralism 1/ and participation by citizens in
decision-making, thus enabling society to achieve its desired goals in
accordance with a comprehensive, integrated approach to development and
democracy.

13. In this connection, reference should be made to the absence of dialogue in
some Arab countries as a means of participation in many cases and to the
occasional resort to violence in all its forms that produce tension and
conflict, leading to family and social disintegration. It should be recognized
that most of the causes of tension in society are essentially economic and
social, though they sometimes assume a political and military character; often
they are dealt with as a political and security phenomenon only. Some hostile
parties exploit social tension to destabilize society.

14. The success of the peace process depends on the immediate implementation
of international resolutions that secure Israel's complete withdrawal from all
occupied Arab land in Palestine, southern Lebanon and the Syrian Golan. These
resolutions also guarantee the right of the Palestinian people to return,
self-determination and the establishment of an independent State on their land
with Jerusalem as its capital, as well as the respect of the right of the
Lebanese people to full sovereignty over their national territory. A
comprehensive and just peace and stability in the region are prerequisites to
development and equality. A comprehensive and just peace would free the human
and financial resources that are being spent on military equipment and wars,
when they could be geared toward development that provides women with equal
opportunities for participation. 2/

15. In spite of all the progress achieved by the agricultural sector in some
Arab countries, food security has not yet been achieved. This may be
attributed to scarce water resources, as mentioned above, shortcomings in
water use planning, discrepancies in water distribution and the low level of
the technology used in agriculture; furthermore, the social and economic
structures in rural areas are not conducive to the modernization of
agricultural techniques and agricultural development in a manner consistent
with the goals of food security and environmental protection.

16. The development of the agricultural and industrial sector is are closely
linked to international trade, for both sectors increasingly depend on the
outside world to meet their requirements, namely machinery, equipment and
intermediate goods. The increasing dependence of the region on foreign trade
is reflected in the increasing food imports and the predominance of primary
agricultural materials over the non-oil exports

17. In addition, the rapid technological achievements in the world have led to
the widening of the technological gap between Arab and industrial nations. As
a consequence, the absence of policies in the field of science and the
weakness of Arab cooperation as well as unfavorable external developments will
limit the capability of national scientific and technological institutions to
cope with rapid scientific and technological changes and to adapt them to the
development of the Arab region.

18. Environmental dimensions are expected to have growing importance in the
efforts of the Arab region to achieve sustainable development. It is
necessary, in this context, to address the issues of desertification,
industrial and non-industrial waste management, surface- and groundwater
pollution, environmental degradation owing to urban expansion, and the
environmental implications of wars, armed conflict and occupation. Environment
should be viewed in its broad sense according to Agenda 21, adopted by the
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, with emphasis on
sustainable development.

19. The shortcomings in the field of statistics, especially those reported
according to gender, as well as in information, surveys and studies,
constitute an obstacle to the efforts of Arab Governments to establish
appropriate development policies. All this happens at a time when the
possession, collection and transfer of information have acquired an important
role in determining the capability of the countries to relate to modem times.

20. Swift action to eliminate the effects of war, occupation and armed
conflict and the suffering they have caused, especially the Gulf war, is a
fundamental condition for the rebuilding of Arab cooperation and solidarity
and putting an end to the suffering of women, children and the aged.

21. There is a need for the policies of Arab countries to be conducive to
greater participation by women in the management of resources and to the
provision of better opportunities for women in education and work so that they
can contribute effectively to the development process, especially in view of
the regional and world changes affecting them throughout their lives.

22. Based on the above, the Arab Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women
to the Year 2005 urges the Arab Governments to establish policies quickly and
to take action with a view to providing the appropriate environment and
setting up the necessary elements in order to meet the urgent needs of Arab
women in an effective manner. These include legal rights, promoting awareness,
education, literacy and rehabilitation, job promotion and the alleviation of
poverty and the provision of health, medical and psychological counselling
services. The Plan of Action also exhorts these Governments to pay particular
attention to the establishment of a central mechanism to deal with women's
issues at the highest level and, where such a mechanism does not exist,
strengthening the existing mechanisms and programmes concerned with women and
supporting the NGOs to help them complete institution-building on the human as
well as the material level. 

      II. ARAB WOMEN'S PRIORITY CONCERNS BASED ON AREAS OF VITAL
                 IMPORTANCE, AND MEASURES TO BE TAKEN

  A. SAFEGUARDING THE RIGHT OF ARAB WOMEN TO PARTICIPATE IN POWER AND
               DECISION-MAKING STRUCTURES AND MECHANISMS

23. Despite the desire of most Arab Governments to improve the status of Arab
women in the power structure and the decision-making process, and the
translation of this desire into laws and social legislation promoting the
status of women, women's participation is still far removed from the target
set by the Economic and Social Council to achieve a women's power structure
participation rate of 30 per cent by the year 1995, with a view to achieving
equal representation by the year 2000 (recommendation VI in the annex to
Economic and Social Council resolution 1990/15). This calls for action on the
part of Governments and NGOs and for support from regional and international
organizations.

24. The rights of women are an integral part of the social, economic,
political and cultural rights defined in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights under any circumstances or for any reason.

                         1. General objective

25. Efforts should be made to reach the target set by the Economic and Social
Council for the participation of women in power and decision-making structures
and mechanisms to mobilize society - men and women - and increase its
awareness in order to change the negative and biased attitudes of society
towards women and their role in decision-making, and adopt mechanisms and
measures which enable them to achieve that goal.

                    2. Practical steps and measures

At the governmental level

     (a) Mechanisms concerned with women's issues should be established or
strengthened and made permanent, including national committees for women,
provided they include representatives of ministries concerned with women's
issues and of non-governmental organizations concerned with women's rights and
issues, and link those mechanisms with the highest political and national
authority in order to follow up the implementation of the Plan of Action for
the advancement of women in Arab countries;

     (b) The international Convention on the Rights of the Child and the
international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women should be ratified in line with the constitution and laws of
every country;

     (c) All legislation related to women should be reviewed in order to
develop and amend it to bring it into line with the rapidly changing economic,
social and cultural conditions in Arab societies, and in such a way that it
does not contradict to original religious values. Efforts should be made to
reduce the gap between laws and their implementation by establishing special
mechanisms to monitor and follow up their implementation;

     (d) The right of women to exercise their political rights should be
safeguarded, including the right to vote and run for political office in
legislatures, local government bodies and trade unions and professional
organizations. Efforts should be made to ensure that women occupy at least 30
per cent of the seats in those bodies and provisions to this effect should be
incorporated into the constitutions and legislation of countries where such
provisions do not exist; 

     (e) Women should be accorded equal opportunity to occupy senior
executive and representative posts in the various political, economic and
social organs of the State at both the local and central levels.
Qualifications, ability and efficiency should be the only criteria for
assessing the suitability of women to fill such positions. Women should also
be trained to fill certain offices, particularly diplomatic and judicial
positions;

     (f) Measures should be taken to encourage women to participate in public
life, and enable them to reconcile their family duties with their activities
in public life.

At the NGO level

     (a) Women's activities, institutions and non-governmental organizations
should be assessed with a view to formulating a plan of action for the stage
which includes specific recommendations so as to arrive at a suitable formula
that would ensure higher rates of women's participation in political parties,
trade unions, professional associations and similar organizations. Such
organizations would serve as pressure groups for persuading legislatures to
enact laws that defend women's rights and increase their participation in
political life;

     (b) Women should be encouraged to participate in local and national
elections through institutional support, training courses to prepare women to
assume leading positions at the various political and administrative levels
and provision of the resources and technical support needed to accomplish all
those tasks, and action should be taken to ensure that women exercise their
electoral rights in countries with legislative councils;

     (c) Educational symposia and intensive training courses covering large
geographical areas should be organized for the eradication of legal illiteracy
and for raising community awareness of the legal rights of women from a
contemporary perspective including the roles of both sexes. There is also a
need to organize programmes to provide advice and legal aid upon request, to
use the mass media (radio and television) to raise awareness and to hold
workshops and prepare publications on women;

     (d) Independent democratic mechanisms should be created and existing
ones should be developed with a view to developing and supporting the role of
non-governmental organizations to represent women at the national level in
order to enable them to enhance their participation in decision-making as well
as to enhance the role of those organizations in programme planning and
implementation.

At the Arab and international levels

     (a) The Plan calls on regional and international organizations and
bodies to provide the necessary assistance to national organizations and
bodies concerned with women's affairs and with increasing women's
qualifications to assist them in exercising their political rights and
participating in decision-making;

     (b) The Plan calls on the United Nations system to increase the
percentage of Arab women in Professional and higher-level posts and especially
in decision-making positions through preferential recruitment and promotion as
well as through special measures.

               B. ALLEVIATION OF POVERTY FOR ARAB WOMEN

26. Despite the lack of accurate gender-related statistical data on poverty in
the Arab States consistent with the indicators adopted by the United Nations
Commission on the Status of Women, it is obvious that the impact of the world
economic recession along with the effects of the implementation of structural
adjustment programmes in some Arab States, the transition to a market economy
and its accompanying reduction in the role of the public sector in providing
job opportunities and social services, as well as the exacerbation of the
problem of foreign debt and its servicing, constitute the major obstacles
limiting the ability of these States to provide for the basic needs of their
citizens for the purpose of confronting the challenges of poverty, especially
for women and children. The combination of that situation with war, armed
conflict, Israeli occupation and arbitrary measures imposed on States has
intensified its negative impact, exacerbated the suffering of women and
increased the number of families living in poverty, especially families
dependent on women.

                         1. General objective

27. The general objective is to eradicate poverty, remove its causes, and
alleviate its effect on women, especially those with dependent families.

                    2. Practical steps and measures

At the governmental level

     (a) There is a need for the provision of accurate statistical data
broken down by sex on poverty in the Arab States to be used as a basis for the
formulation of macro- and micro-economic policies that ensure the eradication
of structural factors that cause poverty in general and among women in
particular;

     (b) Efforts should be exerted to make Governments take the needs of
women into account in the process of development planning with a view to
raising the awareness of planners and developing their relevant skills;

     (c) Strategies and programmes should be formulated to give priority in
granting concessional credit facilities guaranteed by government, if
necessary, to poor and rural women; women who are forced migrants, working or
returning; and women refugees and displaced women. This is to enable women to
take part in the production process and to ensure at least that poor women are
not exploited;

     (d) Efforts should be made to provide basic foodstuffs to poor and
deprived women at appropriate prices as well as to assist them in obtaining
adequate housing and in receiving social security;

     (e) Vocational and technical training centres should be developed and
supported and their capacity increased to receive low-income, poor and
handicapped women. Priority should be given to these women in order to help
them acquire the necessary skills to develop their capabilities and to enhance
their self-reliance as a means of curbing unemployment and poverty;

     (f) A study should be undertaken to identify the dimensions of the
poverty problem among women heads of families, with a view to formulating
development programmes aimed at raising the income of these women, helping
them to acquire skills, providing appropriate technology for the rural areas,
and recognizing them legally and socially as heads of families;

     (g) Projects for productive households should be set up and mechanisms
established to market their products, especially in the agricultural and
informal sectors. This could be carried out through the establishment of a
network of national and regional trade institutions in order to broaden the
market base. Productive and income-generating pilot projects should be
replicated throughout the Arab world; 

     (h) Efforts should be made to expand the creation of sustainable,
income-generating projects for women that would also help to manage
environmental pollution, such as projects for reusing solid and agricultural
waste;

     (i) More sustainable, income-generating projects for women should be
established so that they may help to manage environmental pollution, such as
solid and agricultural waste recycling projects;

     (j) All basic services should be provided, and the number of nurseries
and kindergartens should be increased, particularly in rural and poor urban
areas, in order to enable poor women to take productive jobs. Free services
should be provided, whenever possible, such as nurseries and transport and
subsidies should be provided for food products;

     (k) The necessary measures should be taken to provide job opportunities
for poor and rural women and to limit reliance on foreign labour whenever
feasible;

     (l) The private sector should be urged to set up small-scale factories
as well as workshops for small household and local products in order to
provide employment for women, especially poor women, widows and divorced
women. Adequate opportunities should be made available for the participation
of women in advanced scientific and technical fields according to their
capabilities in all areas with a view to increasing their contribution in
economic life and raising their income level;

     (m) Development institutions should be urged to assist Bedouin women in
setting up productive projects in accordance with the available resources in
desert areas.

At the NGO level

     (a) Productive projects for women should be identified according to
market needs and to women's requirements, and training should be provided to
women for their participation in these projects. Women's participation in
designing and implementing these projects should be supported;

     (b) Training workshops should be organized to prepare poor women for
traditional and nontraditional jobs as well as in modern technological fields
in order to enable them to enter the labour market. Specialized employment
offices should be established to inform poor women of the available job
opportunities and to facilitate their access to those opportunities.
Assistance should be provided to poor women in marketing their products and
securing a permanent income;

     (c) The required funding should be sought to secure the enrollment of as
many children as possible in NGO nurseries and kindergartens and to expand
those services in order to reach the rural and remote areas which are not
covered by government institutions. Enrollment fees should be affordable for
poor women.

At the regional and international levels

     (a) Arab and international funds should accord priority in their funding
to programmes oriented towards the development of women. Projects of women and
productive households should be supported and assisted to become self-reliant;

     (b) Non-governmental organizations and national research centres should
be assisted in conducting surveys to measure poverty in the Arab States and in
defining the concepts and terms used in order to have a practical and
comparable framework for these studies. 

             C. ENSURING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ARAB WOMEN
                      AT ALL LEVELS OF EDUCATION


28. During the past three decades, Arab women have been exposed to various
factors and changes in the field of education, especially following the oil
boom of the 1970s which led to an increase in school enrollment rates and the
commitment of a considerable number of Arab countries to the welfare of their
citizens. However, despite the reduction of illiteracy rates in the Arab
countries and the rise in the enrollment rates at the various levels of
education, the absolute number of illiterate people increased as a result of
the rise in drop-out rates as well as other economic, political and social
factors. Gender differences still exist in some Arab countries since the
drop-out rates are high among young girls in rural and remote as well as
occupied areas. In those Arab countries that have achieved equal rates of
educational enrollment between males and females, females still tend to enroll
in stereotyped "women's" courses, which limited their abilities and directs
them away from scientific and technological fields.

                         1. General objective

29. The general objective is to guarantee equal opportunity in education for
females and to ensure that females benefit from education and literacy and
vocational training programmes and achieve self-reliance through such
programmes.

                    2. Practical steps and measures

At the governmental level

     (a) Action is needed to implement the Arab strategy for the development
of education which aims at the complete eradication of cultural illiteracy
among males and females and other strategies that call for providing education
for all by ensuring equal, compulsory and free education at least at the
elementary level and implementing compulsory education until the age of 15.
Steps should be taken to combat illiteracy in order to reduce it by 30 per
cent in most Arab countries by the year 2005, and by half by the year 2000 in
some Arab countries. Gender differences in school enrollment rates should be
eliminated;

     (b) Priority should be given to spending on compulsory education for
boys and girls until the end of the first 10 years;

     (c) Women's literacy programmes must also include daily skills,
especially those related to proper health practices, in order to improve the
situation of women and their families and give women the opportunity of
economic participation. Women's awareness of their human rights and their
participation in various aspects of public life, including politics, should be
increased;

(d) Specialized programmes should be set up to provide vocational and
educational guidance;

     (e) Communications and information media, especially radio and
television, should be used in awareness campaigns and in combating illiteracy
among females in particular;

     (f) Universal adult education and family literacy programmes should be
organized by providing informal education for women in rural and remote areas
as well as on the periphery of cities. The objective of these programmes
should be to develop the skills of these women to play their various social
roles. The necessary incentives such as textbooks and other educational
supplies should be provided. Some channels of communication need to be
established between adult education and formal education to enable women to
pursue education as far as their aptitudes take them. These programmes should
include an environmental dimension;

     (g) Plans should be formulated for parallel education to: provide
opportunities in informal education for women who have missed the opportunity
to enroll in formal education programmes; encourage illiterate women to enroll
in schools designed for them, using modern methods of continuing education and
paying particular attention to rural and remote areas; allocate funds to
programmes of basic and functional literacy for all women and young girls; and
start special classes for eradicating illiteracy in factories and other
workplaces in view of the effects this has on women and to give women the
opportunity to get jobs, improve their performance, increase their income, and
improve their standard of living;

     (h) Training should be provided to the teachers and instructors who
supervise literacy centres. Extra funding should be allocated for the
establishment of new centres and the expansion of existing ones to eradicate
illiteracy among women as soon as possible;

     (i) The necessary financial and human resources should be allocated and
important steps should be taken to ensure equal opportunities for enrollment
in schools and to prevent young girls from dropping out by increasing the
number of schools and teaching services in rural and remote areas;

     (j) Legislation should be passed to compel guardians of females in poor
and rural families to send girls to schools, to delay their marriage, to
reduce girls' household chores and not to send them out to work before they
have completed their compulsory education. Some incentives and services could
be provided. such as free meals, textbooks and supplies;

     (k) A mechanism should be established to monitor the implementation of
these measures in the concerned ministries. Such a mechanism should develop
women's education in those remote and rural areas where discrimination against
female education continues to constitute an obstacle to raising the level of
education of women and to follow up the implementation of laws banning child
labour since it prevents children from continuing their education;

     (I) School curricula should be reviewed and evaluated with emphasis on
participation by women in the formulation of educational policies for all
stages of education. Curricula should stress the cohesion of the Arab family
and the rights of women, their dignity and their role in the development
process, and the inclusion in the curricula of a positive image of women based
on their multiple roles;

     (m) Stereotypes and instances of gender discrimination should be
eliminated from school curricula, textbooks and male and female teachers'
materials. Instead, the positive role and participation of women should be
stressed. Curricula should guarantee equal knowledge, specialization and
skills in what is presented to students in all fields;

     (n) Funds should be allocated to the establishment of institutes of
higher education and diversification of specializations. Females should be
encouraged towards professional, scientific and technological specializations
in which they can play an innovative and creative role;

     (o) Teachers should be recruited and evaluated on the basis of
competence. Emphasis should be placed on the quality of the education provided
to students rather than on the number of graduates. Incentives should be
provided to encourage young people to take up the teaching profession. A
continuing training system should be set up to develop the practical and
professional know-how of women and meet the present and future needs of the
labour market, especially with regard to women;

     (p) Restrictions should be lifted on the exchange of Arab cultural
printed materials that reflect developments in scientific progress in order to
promote women scientifically and culturally;

     (q) Equal opportunities should be provided to women with respect to
missions, courses and higher education at home and abroad, and a specific
percentage of scholarships for specialization should be allocated to females.

At the NGO level

     (a) Informal training courses should be organized in local, rural and
remote communities to increase awareness among families of the importance of
learning for girls;

     (b) Civic organizations should be encouraged to contribute to literacy
and functional literacy campaigns. These organizations should mobilize all
their voluntary abilities to support official efforts in this field;

     (c) Parents/guardians and associations for them should be mobilized to
participate effectively in tackling educational issues faced by schools;

     (d) NGO efforts should be coordinated with government efforts so as to
complement them, especially in rural and remote areas, in order to achieve the
educational goals.

At the regional and international levels

     (a) The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization
(ALECSO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) should be urged to provide material and technical
support to update the integrated Arab project to eradicate illiteracy and
control the drop-out rate of females from schools. Policies of compulsory
education should be adopted;

     (b) An Arab project should be established to conduct studies and
programmes for informal education for women through correspondence and the
mass media;

     (c) Workshops and conferences should be organized and convened to
discuss, evaluate, and exchange information about projects and policies which
were implemented successfully in the Arab region. Seminars and conferences
should be held to formulate detailed programmes of action. Programmes should
be established to make guardians of children aware of the importance of female
education as an investment in human development, and the funds needed for the
implementation of those programmes should be provided.


          D. ENSURING WOMEN'S EQUAL ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES

30. Although Arab women's health has improved in recent years according to
United Nations human development indicators, it is still below the level
required and varies from one Arab country to another. Most Arab countries
continue to have a relatively low female life expectancy at birth, in
comparison with developed countries. Maternal mortality and morbidity rates
related to delivery are considered high. Infant mortality and morbidity rates
are also high, especially for females. Environmental pollution leads to
various diseases, while high fertility rates lead to a deterioration in
women's health as a result of early, late or recurrent pregnancies, especially
for women living in difficult economic circumstances. The deterioration of
nutritional levels leads to an increase in the number of mothers and children
suffering from anemia. Lack of awareness in respect of reproductive health,
including family planning, inadequacy and poor quality of health services, is
one of the problems still unresolved in some Arab countries. Some Arab
countries are still suffering from a low level of health care as a result of
economic, social and political factors such as wars, occupations, disputes or
sieges.

                         1. General objective

31. The general objective is to safeguard the right of women to participate
actively in the formulation and implementation of health plans and policies
which meet their needs and ensure good physical, mental and social health for
women throughout life and in all regions.

                    2. Practical steps and measures

At the governmental level

     (a) Legislation should be enacted to eliminate everything detrimental to
the physical and mental health of women, and to make special premarital
medical tests compulsory;

     (b) Physical and mental health services should be developed in such a
manner as to ensure women's ready access to them in all areas. Treatment and
psychiatric guidance centres should be established in all areas as well as in
economic and educational institutions. Special care should be provided for the
rehabilitation of disabled women, and legislation should be passed that would
guarantee for them job opportunities in both public and private institutions;

     (c) Policies and measures should be adopted to make spouses aware of
reproductive health, including the spacing of pregnancies in order to
safeguard maternal and child health. Preventive health services, including
annual check-ups for early detection of breast and uterine cancer as well as
HIV blood tests and liver infections, should be developed. Prospective spouses
should undergo tests to make sure they are not suffering from hereditary
diseases. Laws should be enacted to require prospective spouses to undergo the
necessary laboratory tests before marriage;

     (d) Allocations for the health sector should be increased, including
allocations for the rehabilitation and training of women in this sector as
well as for the training of medical technicians to monitor diseases resulting
from environmental deterioration, with the aim of ensuring the
comprehensiveness of the various health services provided such as preventive
services, family planning and child care;

     (e) An information campaign and programmes should be designed to provide
the information needed to make families aware of issues of public health,
preventive health, nutrition and sanitation; those programmes should be
included in educational curricula;

     (f) Efforts should be made to ensure an increase in women's contribution
to the formulation and implementation of plans and policies in the fields of
health, agriculture, nutrition and environment; efforts should also be made to
secure basic foods to families and the equitable distribution of those foods;

     (g) Primary health care centres should be established and improved,
especially in remote rural and coastal areas, and health services should be
provided to schools;

     (h) The health situation and medical treatment of women, infants and
children deteriorated as a result of captivity and the economic blockade. 

At the NGO level

     (a) The contribution of grass-roots associations and bodies should be
increased so as to provide health services to women, especially poor women,
women refugees, displaced women, women detainees and women suffering from
embargoes. Popular medicine and health concepts should be developed in order
to eliminate the practices that are detrimental to women and children's
health;

     (b) The contribution of civic organizations, in particular women's
organizations, in implementing preventive health care programmes should be
strengthened, and reproductive health and environmental education campaigns
should be organized;

     (c) The role of civic society as well as its institutions and NGOs
should be supported as should the role of national female leadership in rural
and urban areas as active participants in health service programmes in general
and in family planning programmes and child immunization campaigns in
particular.

At the regional and international levels

     (a) Official and unofficial national efforts should be made to improve
the health of women and children, including the provision of financial support
needed for the drawing up and implementation of reproductive and preventive
health programmes to be implemented by Governments with the support of the
United Nations systems, especially WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA;

     (b) Support should be provided to official and unofficial national
efforts in the field of information and indicators, and to preparing studies
and participating in panel discussions for the formulation of health
programmes appropriate to the situation and needs of Arab societies,
especially women and children, including programmes aimed at rehabilitating
and training women through health extension services.


       E. STRENGTHENING THE CAPABILITIES OF ARAB WOMEN TO ENTER
              THE LABOUR MARKET AND ACHIEVE SELF-RELIANCE

32. The social and economic changes experienced in the Arab region have led to
an increase in the female workforce; the trends towards more education for
women led to diversified demand for their skills in the modern economic
sectors such as industry and services. The percentage of women working in the
different levels, including leadership posts, requiring advanced scientific
and technical skills has also increased. Despite progress achieved in this
area, women's work continued to be concentrated in the agricultural sector,
which is the biggest employer of women in most Arab countries, and which is
often of a seasonal and unpaid nature. At the same time, the migration of men
from rural areas has placed a heavier burden on women and their contribution
to that sector, whether paid or unpaid. Educated women are facing unemployment
because of the lack of job opportunities commensurate with their specialized
studies and also because some traditional values prevent women and men from
working in numerous fields.

33. One of the most important factors limiting the productivity of women is
the imbalance in time allocation between their job and their family duties as
mothers and wives within a social context that does not encourage men to share
the load with women; in addition, there is the inadequacy of services that
enable them to perform their various roles, such as day-care centres. 

                         1. General objective

34. Women should be enabled to strengthen their capabilities and self-reliance
and increase their contribution to economic life including participation in
development planning.

                    2. Practical steps and measures

At the government level

     (a) Legislation should be introduced and applied to guarantee equality
for women in job opportunities, recruitment, employment, pay, promotion, and
skills development. Emphasis should be placed on the necessity of insurance
and social security coverage for women. Legal instruments should be enacted to
guarantee the right of women to legal recourse in cases of sexual or social
discrimination against them. Follow-up measures should be taken on the
required tools for monitoring and applying legislation in the private sector;

     (b) Laws and by-laws should be issued in order to guarantee formal
career development based on flexible work conditions so as to allow men as
well as women, each according to his/her personal and family circumstances, to
put into practice flexible patterns of work. These include, for example,
part-time work that guarantees for them, especially for women, the right to
return to their jobs after interruptions because of family duties. Laws, rules
and mechanisms should be considered in order to apply the Third Choice,
presented by ESCWA, as a solution to increase the productivity of Arab women
and reduce conflicts between the roles of women in society;

     (c) Women should be involved in drafting laws relating to civil service;
their right to promotion on the basis of competence and experience rather than
sex should be guaranteed;

     (d) Laws should be enacted that grant women paid leave to carry out
their responsibilities. Related costs should be borne only by the employer;

     (e) All necessary measures should be taken to increase job opportunities
for women, including limiting foreign labour, to prepare and train women for
high-level administrative functions in the productive structure according to
their qualifications and experience. A quantitative target can be set to
double the number of women in the labour market through moral and financial
incentives and the planning of education and vocational training;

     (f) Necessary measures should be taken to increase the percentage of
women in agricultural extension and the necessary incentives should be
provided to enhance women's activity in the private sector, agriculture and
fisheries; financing should be provided for productive, new and appropriate
small-scale enterprises that empower women;

     (g) The number of vocational and technical training centres should be
increased and incentives provided to industrial enterprises to provide
qualified training for women in jobs that were not available to them in the
past, such as in manufacturing. Action should be taken to overcome social
obstacles to new areas of work for women with the aim of reducing
unemployment. Women should be trained within the context of labour planning
according to labour market needs of scientific and technical specializations
at the highest levels;

     (h) Programmes and incentive campaigns should be organized to increase
legal awareness among women, to guarantee their enjoyment of their legal
rights in employment, to support women's employment as a basic right and as a
major factor in their contribution to the human development of society, and to
enhance the  value of work among generations through the mass media and by
including relevant educational topics in teaching curricula;

     (i) There should be an expansion in the establishment of kindergartens
in factories, institutions and places of  work; such services should be
provided to all groups of society as well as to rural and remote areas, in
cooperation with  local communities, social welfare institutions and
employers. Support services such as transportation and quick meals  should be
provided to enable women to reconcile their family and economic roles;

     (j) An integrated database according to gender and based on
international classifications should be established  in order to facilitate
establishing and implementing programmes aimed at increasing women's
contribution to labour.

At the NGO level

     (a) Women should be encouraged to enter into various kinds of
non-traditional jobs and sectors. Training  courses should be organized to
retrain women in new fields of work in the light of technological progress;
seminars  should be held to improve the expertise of leading professionals,
and services should be provided to young  unemployed women;

     (b) Women working in the informal sector should be trained in order to
improve their productivity and to  strengthen their relation with production
and marketing fields in the service of development. Training courses should be

organized in the field of institution-building, small-scale productive
entrepreneurship and the organization of  cooperatives as self-reliant
financial institutions;

     (c) Women's committees in labour unions and associations should be
activated and established in order to  provide opportunities for women to
participate in the labour market, especially in the industrial and private
sectors as  well as in leading and decision-making positions. Support to women
should be provided to improve their working  conditions and enhance their
awareness of their labour rights. Services should be provided to young and
unemployed  women through the creation of placement agencies;

     (d) Joint fairs should be organized with the participation of various
NGOs to identify the different skills of Arab  women, exchange expertise,
create commercial interests between Arab women and market products.

At the Arab and international levels

     (a) Support should be provided to carry out studies and research and
evaluate qualified labour supply and  demand according to gender and in
connection with education and specialization fields in the light of the rapid 
technological changes which are accompanied by the emergence of new functions;
symposia, panel discussions, and  training courses should be organized to
enhance self-reliance among women and to exchange information on policies  and
programmes aimed at limiting discrimination in employment, with support from
the ILO, Arab Labour Organization,  UNESCO, ALECSO, UNIDO, and others;

     (b) Scientific terminology should be standardized, with the
participation of the Arab Labour Organization, the  ILO, the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, UNIDO, the United Nations
Statistical Division and  ESCWA. Women's work should be included in the GNP.
In this regard, the ILO and the Governments are urged to  establish new
definitions and statistical indicators to measure women's unpaid work in
agriculture and in the family, so as to show the real economic value of
women's contribution in  raising industrial, agricultural and food production
rates;

     (c) United Nations specialized agencies such as the ILO and UNIDO should
be invited to increase their support  in training and technical assistance to
set up small-scale projects, especially development projects, to encourage
work in  the private sector and to support trade unions so that they can play
an effective role in increasing job opportunities for  women


F. OVERCOMING THE IMPACT OF WAR, OCCUPATION AND ARMED CONFLICT ON WOMEN

35. Usually, Arab women do not participate in making decisions that lead to
wars and armed conflict. However, they bear  their consequences. The
responsibility for resolving these conflicts is still largely the prerogative
of men. Paragraph 261  of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the
Advancement of women until the year 2000 states that "armed conflicts  and
emergency situations impose a serious threat to the lives of women and
children, causing constant fear, danger of  displacement, destruction,
devastation, physical abuse, social and family disruption, and abandonment.
Sometimes  these result in complete denial of access to adequate health and
educational services, loss of job opportunities and  overall worsening of
material conditions".

36. The Arab region has witnessed several wars as a result of the Arab-Israeli
conflict, the Iran-Iraq war as well as civil  wars and armed internal
conflicts. The people of some Arab countries suffered from different kinds of
exile, captivity,  imprisonment, handicaps, embargo, and displacement with
thousands of homeless families. It is a well-known fact that  continuous wars
and conflicts in the world have negative effects such as the expenditure of
vast amounts of money on  armament at the expense of development projects, an
increased number of POWs, refugees, displaced people and exiles,  most of them
women and children. Women living under conditions of war also suffer from
torture, kidnapping and rape  as well as psychological disorders.

                         1. General objective

37. The participation of women should be increased in efforts aimed at
maintaining peace, resolving national,  international and other conflicts and
women should be protected against the effects thereof.

                    2. Practical steps and measures

At the governmental level

     (a) Efforts should be made to resolve existing disputes through dialogue
and diplomatic means before they turn  into armed conflicts and wars;

     (b) Participation of women should be sought in peace negotiations and
resolution of conflicts as well as  humanitarian relief operations;

     (c) Expenditure on development projects should be increased at the
expense of armaments, and defence budgets  should be reduced;

     (d) Any violence against women in situations of war, armed conflict,
occupation and embargo should be  considered as a war crime punishable by law
and should be treated as such by all national and international organizations;

     (e) Efforts should be made to free all prisoners from Israeli jails;

     (f) Educational topics related to peace and the resolution of conflicts
should be included in curricula and the principles of human rights should be
taught;

     (g) Financial and technical assistance and soft loans should be provided
to social and humanitarian projects carried out by non-governmental
organizations in order to combat the effects of war, occupation, armed
conflicts, siege and captivity on women and children.

At the NGO level

     (a) Field surveys, studies and research should be undertaken on the
effects of war, occupation, siege and captivity, and appropriate mechanisms
proposed to alleviate these effects on women through the organization of
training courses and the provision of rehabilitation services to enable women
to work and exercise their rights fully;

     (b) Positive attitudes should be taken with regard to arms limitation
negotiations and national awareness of the dangers posed by the arms race
should be created;

     (c) Educational courses on peace, the settlement of conflicts, justice
and democracy should be organized and the attention of decision makers and the
public should be drawn to such measures.

At the Arab and international levels

     (a) There should be a call for non-discrimination among States and
peoples in dealing with issues; this should be in accordance with the rules of
international law. Double standards and selectivity in the way the United
Nations deals with all political, economic and social issues should be
eliminated; 3/

     (b) All weapons of mass destruction in the region, particularly in
Israel, should be subject to inspection and all stocks of weapons of mass
destruction that endanger the security and stability of the peoples of the
region should be destroyed under the supervision of the United Nations
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);

     (c) International organizations should provide financial and technical
assistance to States in order to do the following:

      (i)  Review the activities of international organizations and acquaint
           them with regional and international social issues and their
           effects on equality, equal opportunity, development, peace and
           especially issues of disarmament and on "the global character of
           the economy" as well as cultural values and combating racism and
           discrimination;

      (ii) Data on the effects on women of war, occupation, embargo,
           captivity and armed conflict should be collected and disseminated,
           including information on the number of women refugees, captives,
           detainees, deportees, the number of women raped and women
           receiving psychological attention and those who lost their
           husbands and became providers for their families, as well as the
           number of women who did not obtain any qualifications, and other
           data that show the number of women affected by armed conflict;

     (d) The principle of imposing an embargo, which contradicts all
international laws and conventions and human rights, should be rejected as a
means for solving international conflict because of its direct effect on the
family, women and children, since it deprives them of their human rights;

     (e) Schools and universities should not be closed during occupation,
internal conflict and civil war;

     (f) Existing disputes that lead to war and armed conflict should be
resolved and the role of the League of Arab States should be activated in
containing those disputes and resolving them peacefully in an Arab context.
State sovereignty should be respected and there should be no interference in
States' domestic affairs;

     (g) The percentage of Arab women should be increased at the
decision-making level in regional and international bodies of the United
Nations and in the League of Arab States and its specialized organizations.

               G. ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

38. Some women suffer from all forms of violence such as violence in the
family, at work and in public places, which is considered a violation of human
rights. Among the forms of violence against women are: forcing young girls to
leave school, sometimes forcing them into marriage, beating of girls by
members of their family and sometimes forcing women to waive their legal,
personal or civil rights through the pressure of customs and traditions. Women
in particular are subject to violence and rape during wars and under
occupation and all sorts of armed conflict and especially women refugees,
deportees, prisoners of war, prisoners and detainees. Women are also subject
to violence in the absence of democracy and respect for human rights.

                         1. General objective

39. The general objective is to implement international conventions that
guarantee women's civil rights in general, and during occupation, wars and
armed conflict, and to provide women with adequate protection from all forms
of violence, and to strengthen the preventive means and measures by ensuring
the participation of countries at the Arab, regional and international levels
in combating these phenomena and limiting their occurrence through education,
awareness and the enforcement of laws.

                    2. Practical steps and measures

At the governmental level

     (a) The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women should be ratified in accordance with the Constitution and laws
of every country, and in accordance with the Convention against Torture, and
all necessary measures should be taken to protect women from violence;

     (b) Legal texts and administrative practices should be reassessed in the
light of international norms and documents through which women would receive
legal protection against violence;

     (c) Educational programmes should be formulated to promote police
awareness of problems related to women or minor girls; 

     (d) Publications and books should be prepared that aim at sensitizing
social workers and others specialized in working with the local community to
the issue of protecting women from violence;

     (e) Data and information on violence against women should be collected;
field studies should be undertaken, with the results published, to raise
public awareness;

     (f) Material related to human rights in general, and women's rights in
particular, should be incorporated into programmes adopted by institutes
specialized in training judges and security officers;

     (g) Institutions should be established to care for the victims of
violence, including rape, to deal with the consequences of violence and to
provide supervision, guidance and awareness;

     (h) Violence against women during times of war should be considered a
war crime with no statute of limitations.

At the NGO level

     (a) Different programmes and activities should be carried out to foster
solidarity among NGOs, especially in regard to protecting women from violence;

     (b) Women who fall victim to violence should be given the necessary
services
and assistance;

     (c) Educational programmes and campaigns for greater awareness in
society should be organized to face the problems relating to violence against
women and to identify measures that may be taken to eliminate such violence;

     (d) Educational programmes and courses should be organized for women to
acquaint them with their legal rights and with available services in case they
are exposed to any form of violence.

At the Arab and international levels

     (a) Arab and international cooperation should be strengthened to
identify regional strategies to combat violence against women;

     (b) Meetings and seminars should be held to create or increase awareness
among all with regard to the objective relating to violence against women;

     (c) Arab and international funds should provide material and technical
assistance to private institutions that take care of victims of violence;

     (d) The necessary assistance should be extended to Governments and NGOs
to confront forms of violence;

(e) Women exposed to violence should be given legal services and counsel and
aid;

     (f) The United Nations system, its specialized agencies and the
specialized Arab agencies should pay special attention to women subjected to
physical and psychological violence and rape under conditions of aggression,
occupation, armed conflict, and economic sanctions.


   H. PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN THE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
                 AND THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT

40. External factors have an important role in environmental pollution in the
Arab region; for example, developed industrial countries transfer factories
and plants that produce highly polluting by-products to the Arab countries, in
addition to nuclear waste.

41 . Environmental conditions and limited natural resources in the Arab region
have negative effects on the adequate and comprehensive response to increasing
population needs, especially the needs of women and children. It is therefore
important to give special consideration to environmental issues and the
factors that lead to environmental degradation in Arab societies and their
effects on the health and social and economic conditions of women and their
families.

                         1. General objective

42. The general objective is to strengthen the capabilities of women and
guarantee their effective participation in the protection of the environment
and the rational and proper management of natural resources.

                    2. Practical steps and measures

At the governmental level

     (a) Agenda 21 (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) for the environment and sustainable
development should be implemented;

     (b) Women should participate in the formulation, implementation, control
and monitoring of plans related to the management of natural resources and the
environment, including their participation in standards committees and health
and environment control bodies;

     (c) Women should participate in enacting environmental laws that have a
direct influence on the health and welfare of women and on their families; the
existing legislation should be implemented;

     (d) Women's capabilities in the management of environmental resources
should be developed through the provision of information, rehabilitation and
training. The subject of sound management of natural resources and the
environment should be included in educational curricula;

     (e) Rural women should be provided with energy sources so that they no
longer need to resort to the use of firewood which causes deforestation;

     (f) Sources of drinking water as well as sewage systems should- be
available in rural areas. There should also be ways to use environmental waste
in land reformation and agriculture.

At the NGO level

     (a) Women's non-governmental organizations should focus their efforts in
order to act as an effective means of formulating public opinion and an
influential force in adopting positive attitudes to the implementation of laws
related to the proper management of natural resources and environment, in
enacting legislation and in controlling its implementation in order to limit
environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources; 

     (b) The experience of women and their traditional knowledge accumulated
over the years should be utilized in the management of the environment. Women
should also participate in income-generating environmental projects such as
planting endangered medicinal plants or recycling waste and agricultural
byproducts. Methods to finance such projects and to provide them with
technological support should be sought;

     (c) Research, surveys and studies should be undertaken and data
collected and disseminated on the subject of women's management of
environmental resources such as water, energy and fuel, and on the subject of
the effect of environmental degradation on women's health and welfare and on
their families, and the extent of women's participation in environmental
decisions;

     (d) Governments should be urged to stress the protection of the
environment and support environmental programmes, especially those for
combating logging, soil erosion, and water diversion; they should also be
urged not to use or import chemical products that are banned internationally.
They should be urged to avoid operations that adversely affect the environment
and its protection.

At the Arab and international levels

     (a) A regional data bank and indicators of women's participation in the
management of the environment and the effect of environmental pollution on the
health of women and their families should be established in the Arab region;

     (b) Training seminars, courses and workshops on the role of women in the
protection of the environment should be organized; training on the collection
of data on women's health and the environment at the grass-roots level should
be provided. Studies and research on the integration of women in policies
related to the management of environmental resources should be undertaken;

     (c) Dumping nuclear and toxic waste in Arab countries under the pretext
of environmental experiments or any other pretext should not be allowed;

     (d) Support should be given to women's non-governmental organizations
that are active in the field of raising awareness and implementing
environmental projects;

(e) Programmes to limit environmental and industrial pollution should be
financed and supported;

     (f) There should be prevention of environmental pollution and prevention
of wars and their effects on the environment.


 I. EFFECTIVE UTILIZATION OF COMMUNICATIONS TO EFFECT CHANGES IN ROLES
           IN SOCIETY AND ACHIEVE EQUALITY BETWEEN THE SEXES

43. The print and broadcast media, in some of their programmes in the region,
portray the Arab woman in a way that emphasizes her traditional stereotyped
role and downplays her positive and changing role in which she would
participate with man in new concepts related to improving the quality of life
and contributing to the process of social, political and economic development.
The world media focus on a distorted image of the Arab in general and Arab
women in particular. Information is one of the effective tools in accelerating
the process of sustainable development. This is because the media have a
strong impact on behaviour and perceptions; they are an important factor in
changing customs and behaviour. The media are highly influential in creating
new perceptions and behaviour and in spurring action for "development,
equality and peace.


                         1. General objectives

44. Appropriate use of the various forms of the media should be made to convey
a positive image of the effective role of women in the family and in society,
and to develop women's capabilities and skills by undertaking well-studied
media programmes whose messages include concepts, values and images emphasized
by Arab and international strategies.

               2. Proposed measures and practical steps

At the governmental level

     (a) A clear, unified strategy and plan should be formulated for media
and communications related to women's issues and the role of women in social,
economic and political development;

     (b) The role of working women in the media should be strengthened, and
they should participate in planning and decision-making related to the various
media programmes;

     (c) Women in the mass media should be given training in the functions of
directing, producing and writing, to enable them to produce purposeful
programming and address information issues relating to women;

     (d) Women and men should participate in a media dialogue as well as in
work and production to reach common positive perspectives related to women's
social, economic and political issues;

     (e) Films, series and information materials should be produced to
highlight women's national role and struggle against occupation and
consolidate a positive image of them for future generations;

     (f) Committees should be formed to listen to and watch the mass media
for monitoring purposes and they should be strict vis-a`-vis anything contrary
to the positive image of Arab society, such as the exploitation of women to
promote consumer goods;

     (g) The mass media should be urged to pay attention to gender
discrimination. Female children in cities and in rural areas, especially in
the poorer strata, suffer from gender discrimination, which reflects
negatively on the educational, health and psychological aspects of their
lives. The media could be used to help in socialization on the basis of
e`quality between the two sexes.

At the NGO level

     (a) Support information materials should be prepared and distributed to
the media for use in programmes on women and in other programmes to strengthen
the role of women in sustainable development;

     (b) Symposia and lectures should be organized to address women's issues
and the integration of women in the development process, and the media should
be utilized to broadcast them to the widest possible audience to raise the
awareness of women (especially uneducated women) of their rights, role and
positive image, in order to educate them and reach them with information;

     (c) Information material on video should be produced and utilized for
educational and instructional purposes to be used by women and men in rural
and remote areas where no other medium of mass communication is available.

At the Arab and international levels

     (a) Good, purposeful production should be encouraged to promote a
positive image of Arab women and joint Arab programmes;

     (b) ARABSAT should be used to transmit radio programmes that reinforce
the role of women and their integration into the development process;

     (c) The Arab media should be encouraged to take advantage of foreign
media material that has a humanitarian, cultural, social or educational
content;

     (d) A communications network among regional and international
organizations and institutions should be created, to exchange information
material that would help international communities understand Arab women's
issues and change their negative image of Arab women;

     (e) Specialized international organizations should give financial
assistance to Governments and to NGOs to train men and women working in the
media on the production of information materials related to strengthening the
status of women in development and women's role in international peace,
security and stability.


                      III. FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS

45. Governments, regional and international organizations, as well as
financing institutions and funds, will endeavour to adopt financial
arrangements for the implementation of the Arab Regional Plan of Action for
the Advancement of Women to the Year 2005, provided that those arrangements
are not inconsistent with the economic policies of each Arab State. Those
arrangements are the following:

     (a) Adoption of policies for the provision of funding and allocation of
resources within the budgets of development projects that help the advancement
of women;

     (b) Allocation of the necessary budgetary funds for the implementation
of projects and plans for the advancement of women, including allocations for
strengthening and creating machineries for women's issues;

     (c) According priority to the support and implementation of the plans of
action of non-governmental organizations active in the advancement of women,
in increasing their role in the development process and in enabling women to
be self-reliant;

     (d) Extending material support to non-governmental organizations,
especially established grass-roots organizations with activities in rural
areas and poor neighbourhoods in cities;

     (e) Facilitating the provision of the requirements of non-profit,
non-governmental organizations in terms of tools and equipment; this includes
the possibility of tax exemption, especially of items to be used in productive
projects in the field of development of women and children for the benefit of
the most needy sectors, particularly women;

     (f) Implementation of small-scale, income-generating productive projects
(inside or outside the household), taking into account the social conditions
and living needs of women; 

     (g) Coordination should be established between regional and
international financing institutions and funds with a view to achieving
comprehensive economic, social and political development for all categories of
women and for all regions, including the rural and remote areas, and in order
to avoid duplication in the provision of support for the establishment of
projects and programmes for the Arab Plan of Action.


          IV. INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR IMPLEMENTING AND
                     MONITORING THE PLAN OF ACTION

46. Coordination is required among the programmes and activities of a regional
and international nature organized by the Commission on the Status of Women,
ESCWA, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the regional offices and
bodies of the specialized agencies of the United Nations, the Department of
Women's Affairs at the League of Arab States, CAWTAR and the African Centre
for Research.

47. Action must be taken to continue providing support for the Arab Women's
Committee and the technical department concerned with women's affairs in the
General Secretariat of the League of Arab States; there is also a need also to
coordinate between this regional body and other specialized bodies, and to
cement cooperation between them and the secretariats of ESCWA and ECA.

48. More financial and technical support should be provided to the
secretariats of ESCWA and of ECA to enable them to follow up their efforts in
studying and monitoring the conditions of women in the Arab region and to
render technical assistance to the members of their Commissions, to enable
each Commission to meet its increasing responsibilities in achieving the
objectives of the Arab Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women to the Year
2005.

49. Support should be given to the regional technical bodies and the
scientific research institutions concerned with issues of social research to
allow them to compile statistics and data related to women and broken down by
gender and to establish norms and classifications that would specify rural,
urban, desert and remote areas through field studies in the Arab countries and
to carry out research and social field surveys on the conditions of women in a
framework of social changes to the year 2005; institutional support must also
be extended to CAWTAR, which should be provided with the technical
capabilities to enable it to carry out the task with which it has been
charged.

50. The mechanisms of research and training in Arab and international
organizations must be supported, including the department of women in the
General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, the Women and Development
Section in ESCWA, CAWTAR in Tunis and all research institutions dealing with
women's issues, by strengthening their research capabilities and enabling
them, through coordination and cooperation among themselves, to set up a
regional data bank related to Arab women and by identifying indicators related
to women and their conditions in the Arab world in the various fields. Those
institutions are considered mechanisms for following up and monitoring
progress in the implementation of the Arab Plan of Action for the Advancement
of Women to the Year 2005.

51. Technical and financial support must be provided to NGOs to develop their
institutional structure and their capabilities and potentialities to express
the actual needs of Arab women to foster solidarity among themselves regarding
the pressing issues of Arab women.

52. An official mechanism concerned with women's issues should be established
and directly linked to the highest executive authority with a special budget
sufficient for the implementation of the programmes and projects for the
advancement of women contained in the national plans and strategies.

53. Support should be provided to developmental, non-governmental
organizations concerned with the advancement of Arab women Those organizations
should be called upon to form an Arab network linking them together, the
objective being the activation of cooperation and coordination among
themselves and with the specialized Arab committees and organizations
concerned with women's issues; such cooperation and coordination should also
include regional and international networks of non-governmental organizations
for women in order to enhance cooperation, exchange of expertise and
coordination of efforts to improve the status of women and advance women in
all fields. 

                                 Notes

      1/   The delegation of the Republic of the Sudan expressed reservations
regarding the word "pluralism".

      2/   The delegation of the Republic of the Sudan expressed reservations
regarding the phrase "the success of the peace process of the Arab States.
Therefore, the economies of the region are sensitive to the changes in the
world economy, especially because some of the countries rely on oil exports,
the prices of which are falling on the international markets at the same time
the prices of manufactured goods are tending to increase.

      3/   The delegations of Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates
expressed reservations regarding the phrase "double standards and selectivity
in the way the United Nations deals with all political, economic and social
issues". 

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Date last updated: 06 December 1999 by DESA/DAW
Copyright 1999 United Nations