Commission on Status of Women
Forty-fifth Session
12th Meeting (PM)

14 March 2001


NEW YORK, 13 March (UN Headquarters) -- The Commission on the Status of Women reviewed its system-wide medium-term plan and the proposed programme of work for the biennium 2002-2003 of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women.

In the discussion this afternoon, Sweden’s representative (on behalf of the European Union and associated States) said attention should be paid to the system-wide medium-term plan. The plan helped the Commission to fulfil its mandate and to ensure effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. It was valuable because it covered both policies and operations and provided for action and analysis in gender mainstreaming. The Union encouraged all relevant actors within the United Nations to ensure a more systematic approach for combating poverty.

She also called for the development of gender statistics to ensure gender mainstreaming. The Union stressed that the plan should refer to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century". She noted, however, that it needed a lot of editorial work. That point was supported by India’s representative who stated that there were areas in the report that gave an impression other than what was exactly meant in the document.

[For background on the report of the Secretary-General on the proposed system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women 2002-2005 (document E/CN.6/2001/4), see Press Release WOM/1264 dated 6 March. For further background details, see Press Release WOM/1263 dated 2 March.]

Canada’s representative went on to say that the system-wide and medium-term plan should take into account the results of the assessment of the previous plan which highlighted the obstacles, gaps within concepts and the failure to integrate gender fully, as well as the lack of data disaggregated by facts.

The representatives of Cuba and the Sudan said that, unfortunately, the report had become available in all official languages yesterday morning. As a result, it had to be sent to both capitals for analysis and instruction. Canada’s representative also expressed concern that the French version of the report had been presented so late.

In discussions on the proposed programme of work of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, Cuba’s representative said the translation of document E/CN.6/2001/CRP.2 had only been received last Wednesday or Thursday in all official languages. There had, therefore, not been sufficient time to consult capitals about it and or to develop national viewpoints.

In her initial observations, however, she said the document had stated that the Secretary-General would take into account the comments and recommendations of Member States when opportune or appropriate. She wanted to know what was opportune and appropriate and who was to determine that.

Also, the representative of Cuba continued, the programme of work referred to the building capacity of Members States in such a way that it seemed only possible if that programme was working. Language should be devised to acknowledge national efforts, as well. She was also concerned with language used in the report which did not correspond with resolutions of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) and the General Assembly.

Cuba’s latter point was reiterated by Algeria’s representative, who also said that further consideration of the draft programme was necessary if it was going to be in line with resolutions that were adopted last year by the Assembly on programme planning.

China’s representative said some substantive discussions of the programme of work paper should be conducted by the Committee for Programme and Coordination (CPC), rather than the Commission.

Responding to the discussion this afternoon, the Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Yakin Erturk, said that comments and suggestions on the programme of work had been valuable. Despite the late submission of the related document, it had been closely read by many delegations. In its preparation, the Secretariat had followed a form approved by the Assembly. The Commission’s function was to comment on substantive aspects.

She also emphasized that in preparing the document, efforts were made to formulate objectives as a whole rather than at an intergovernmental or Secretariat level only. The advancement of women was not the exclusive preserve of Member States -- it was a collective effort. So the objective was not in any way to measure success by indicators, but to look at areas where the work of the Secretariat was linked at the national level. She assured members that the points raised today would be reflected in the future work programme.

India’s representative said he was concerned that parts of the programme of work gave the impression that some States did not give priority to promoting the advancement of women.

Tunisia’s representative said the phrase the "creation of specific mechanisms for the promotion of women" should be added to Indicator 2 of the programme of work.

Responding to that point, Angela King, Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, said it would be important to clarify who should create the indicators referred to by Tunisia: the Secretariat or Member States.

The Commission’s next meeting will be announced in the Journal.

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