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        Economic and Social Council
31 May 2001

Original: English

Substantive session of 2001
Geneva, 2-27 July 2001
Item 14 (a) of the provisional agenda*
Social and human rights questions:
advancement of women

Follow-up to and implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly

Report of the Secretary General

I. Introduction

1. The General Assembly in its resolution 55/71 requested the Secretary-General to report annually to the Commission on the Status of Women, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly on the follow-up to and progress in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action1 and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly. 2 Similar mandates are contained in Assembly resolutions 53/120, 52/100, 51/69 and 50/203.


II. Results of the forty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women and the resumed session

3. The Commission on the Status of Women held its forty-fifth session from 6 to 16 March 2001. A resumed session was held from 9 to 11 May 2001. The agenda of the Commission included two thematic issues as well as other matters pertaining to its mandate, as discussed below.


C. Other decisions of the Commission on the Status of Women

12. In addition to the agreed conclusions of the Commission on thematic issues (draft resolution IV), the Commission recommended three other draft resolutions for adoption by the Economic and Social Council: the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women (draft resolution I); discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan (draft resolution II); and the multi-year programme of work of the Commission for 2002-2006 (draft resolution III). The Commission adopted three resolutions: the release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned in armed conflict (resolution 45/1); mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system (resolution 45/2); and comments on the proposed system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women, 2002-2005 (resolution 45/3).

13. In draft resolution I, the Economic and Social Council would call upon the concerned parties, as well as the entire international community, to exert all the necessary efforts to ensure the continuity and success of the peace process in the Middle East and the achievement of tangible progress in the improvement of the situation of Palestinian women and their families. ...


IV. Activities of the regional commissions


E. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

55. The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) continues to provide assistance to national machineries for women in capacity- and institution-building. Governments have become aware of the central importance of such machineries, and have also recognized the need to endow these machineries with adequate human and financial resources for effectiveness and efficiency of results. The Commission focused on coordination and collaboration within the United Nations system and with regional organizations. The mandate was given to ESCWA to work closely with regional organizations such as the League of Arab States and the Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research for speeding up the process of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Gender budgeting is still at an embryonic stage in the Commission, and ESCWA is part of the second phase of a project initiated by the Inter-Agency Meeting on Women and Gender Equality (IAMWGE).

56. Several countries, including Palestine, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen, have been taking concrete steps to formulate poverty alleviation strategies with a focus on poor women and their empowerment. The third session of the Committee of Social Development of ESCWA (Beirut, 27 to 28 March 2001) focused on dialogue between NGOs and Governments, and recommended the establishment of a special coordinating mechanism to liaise with NGOs and governmental bodies. The Committee also recommended the development of region-specific indicators to monitor developments and achievements, especially on the follow-up to global conferences. A standard outline was devised to assist States to meet reporting requirements on progress achieved in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcomes of other global conferences of the 1990s.

57. The Commission continued to provide support in institution-building and capacity-building of national machinery for women and NGOs concerned with women’s issues and gender equality (i.e., in Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). A gender-awareness media campaign of a national and regional scope is being executed with the production of 14 one-hour-long television episodes on each of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action, airing nationally and regionally. Television spots of 60 seconds’ duration have been produced by the Commission and are being disseminated regionally. ESCWA is collaborating closely with the Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research to produce a publication entitled Globalization, Gender and Economic Participation of Arab Women . ESCWA is also the project adviser for this publication, which will give in-depth region-specific information and analysis.




1Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.

2General Assembly resolutions S-23/2 and S-23/3.


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