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Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
26 July 1985
REPORT OF THE WORLD CONFERENCE TO REVIEW AND APPRAISE THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS DECADE FOR WOMEN: EQUALITY, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
Nairobi, 15-26 July 1985
New York, 1986
1. Opening of the Conference.
2. Election of the President.
3. Adoption of the rules of procedure.
4. Adoption of the agenda.
5. Election of officers other than the President
6. Other organizational matters:
(a) Allocation of items to the Main Committees and organization of work;
(b) Credentials of representatives to the Conference:
(i) Appointment of the members of the Credentials Committee;
(ii) Report of the Credentials Committee.
7. Critical review and appraisal of progress achieved and obstacles
encountered in attaining the goals and objectives of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, and the sub-theme: Employment, Health and Education, bearing in mind the guidelines laid down at the World Conference of the International Women's Year, held at Mexico City, and the
World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development
and Peace, held at Copenhagen:
(a) Progress achieved and obstacles encountered at national, regional and
international levels to attain the goal and objective of equality;
(b) Progress achieved and obstacles encountered at national, regional and
international levels to attain the goal and objective of development;
(c) Progress achieved and obstacles encountered at national, regional and
international levels to attain the goal and objective of peace.
8. Forward-looking Strategies of implementation for the advancement of women for the period up to the year 2000, and concrete measures to overcome obstacles to the achievement of the goals and objectives of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, and the sub-theme:
Employment, Health and Education, bearing in mind the International
Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade and the establishment of a new international economic order:
(a) Strategies and measures at the national, regional and international levels to achieve the goal of equality;
(b) Strategies and measures at the national, regional and international levels
to achieve the goal of development;
(c) Strategies and measures at the national, regional and international levels to achieve the goal of peace.
9. Adoption of the report of the Conference.
The Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women
Adopted by the World Conference to review and appraise the achievements of the
United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, held in
Nairobi, Kenya, 15-26 July 1985.
A. Historical Background
The founding of the United Nations after the victory in the Second World War and the emergence of independent States following decolonization were some of the important events in the political, economic and social liberation of women. The International Women's Year, the World Conferences held at Mexico City in 1975 and Copenhagen in 1980, and the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace contributed greatly to the process of eliminating obstacles to the improvement of the status of women at the national, regional and international levels. In the early 1970s, efforts to end discrimination against women and to ensure their equal participation in society provided the impetus for most initiatives taken at all of those levels. Those efforts were also inspired by the awareness that women's reproductive and productive roles were closely linked to the political, economic, social, cultural, legal, educational and religious conditions that constrained the advancement of women and that factors intensifying the economic exploitation, marginalization and oppression of women stemmed from chronic inequalities, injustices and exploitative conditions at the family, community, national, subregional, regional and international levels.
In 1972, the General Assembly, in its resolution 3010 (XXVII), proclaimed 1975 International Women's Year, to be devoted to intensified action to promote equality between men and women, to ensure the full integration of women in the total development effort and to increase women's contribution to the strengthening of world peace. The World Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Women's Year, 1/ adopted by the World Conference of the International Women's Year at Mexico City in 1975, was endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 3520 (XXX). The General Assembly, in that resolution, proclaimed 1976-1985 the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace. In its resolution 33/185, the General Assembly decided upon the sub-theme "Employment, Health and Education" for the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, to be held at Copenhagen to review and evaluate the progress made in the first half of the Decade.
In 1980, at the mid-point of the Decade, the Copenhagen World Conference adopted the Programme of Action for the Second Half of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, 2/ which further elaborated on the existing obstacles and on the existing international consensus on measures to be taken for the advancement of women. The Programme of Action was endorsed by the General Assembly that year in its resolution 35/136.
Also in 1980, the General Assembly, in its resolution 35/56, adopted the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade and reaffirmed the recommendations of the Copenhagen World Conference (General Assembly resolution 35/56, annex, para. 51). In the Strategy, the importance of the participation of women in the development process, as both agents and beneficiaries, was stressed. Also, the Strategy called for appropriate measures to be taken in order to bring about profound social and economic changes and to eliminate the structural imbalances that compounded and perpetuated women's disadvantages in society.
The strategies contained in the World Plan of Action and in the Programme of Action were important contributions towards enlarging the perspective for the future of women. In most areas, however, further action is required. In this connection the General Assembly confirmed the goals and objectives of the Decade - equality, development and peace - stressed their validity for the future and indicated the need for concrete measures to overcome the obstacles to their achievement during the period 1986-2000.
The Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women during the Period from 1986 to the Year 2000 set forth in the present document present concrete measures to overcome the obstacles to the Decade's goals and objectives for the advancement of women. Building on principles of equality also espoused in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 3/ the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 4/ the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 5/ the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 6/ and the Declaration on the Participation of Women in Promoting International Peace and Co-operation, 7/ the Forward-looking Strategies reaffirm the international concern regarding the status of women and provide a framework for renewed commitment by the international community to the advancement of women and the elimination of gender-based discrimination. The efforts for the integration of women in the development process should be strengthened and should take into account the objectives of a new international economic order and the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade.
The Nairobi World Conference is taking place at a critical moment for the developing countries. Ten years ago, when the Decade was launched, there was hope that accelerated economic growth, sustained by growing international trade, financial flow and technological developments, would allow the increased participation of women in the economic and social development of those countries. These hopes have been belied owing to the persistence and, in some cases, the aggravation of an economic crisis in the developing countries, which has been an important obstacle that endangers not only the pursuance of new programmes in support of women but also the maintenance of those that were already under way.
The critical international economic situation since the end of the 1970s has particularly adversely affected developing countries and, most acutely, the women of those countries. The overall picture for the developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, the drought-stricken and famine-stricken areas of Africa, the debt-ridden countries and the low-income countries, has reached a critical point as a result of structural imbalances and the continuing critical international economic situation. The situation calls for an increased commitment to improving and promoting national policies and multilateral co-operation for development in support of national programmes, bearing in mind that each country is responsible for its own development policy. The gap between the developed and developing countries, particularly the least developed among them, instead of narrowing, is widening further. In order to stem such negative trends and mitigate the current difficulties of the developing countries, which affect women the most, one of the primary tasks of the international community is to pursue with all vigour the efforts directed towards the establishment of a New International Economic Order founded on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence and common interest.
The threat to peace resulting from continuing international tension and violations of the United Nations Charter, resulting in the unabated arms race, in particular in the nuclear field, as well as wars, armed conflicts, external domination, foreign occupation, acquisition of land by force, aggression, imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, apartheid, gross violation of human rights, terrorism, repression, the disappearance of persons and discrimination on the basis of sex are major obstacles to human progress, specifically to the advancement of women.
D. Palestinian women and children
Paragraph 260 15a/
For more than three decades, Palestinian women have faced difficult living conditions in camps and outside, struggling for the survival of their families and the survival of the Palestinian people who were deprived of their ancestral lands and denied the inalienable rights to return to their homes and their property, their right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty (see A/CONF.116/6). Palestinian women are vulnerable to imprisonment, torture, reprisals and other oppressive practices by Israel in the occupied Arab territories. The confiscation of land and the creation of further settlements has affected the lives of Palestinian women and children. Such Israeli measures and practices are a violation of the Geneva Convention. 16/ The Palestinian woman as part of her nation suffers from discrimination in employment, health care and education.
The situation of violence and destabilization which exists in southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights put Arab women and children who are living under Israeli occupation in severe situations. Lebanese women are also suffering from discrimination and detention. Therefore, all relevant United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council resolutions 497 (1981), 508 (1982) and 509 (1982), should be implemented.
The implementation of the Programme of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights 17/ should be kept under review and co-ordinated between the United Nations units and agencies concerned, with emphasis on the role of Palestinian women in preserving their national identity, traditions and heritage and in the struggle for sovereignty. Palestinian people must recover their rights to self-determination and the right to establish an independent State in accordance with all relevant United Nations resolutions. The special and immediate needs of Palestinian women and children should be identified and appropriate provision made. United Nations projects should be initiated to help Palestinian women in the fields of health, education, and vocational training. Their living conditions inside and outside the occupied territories should be studied by the appropriate United Nations units and agencies assisted, as appropriate, by specialized research institutes from various regions. The results of these studies should be given broad publicity to promote actions at all levels. The international community should exert all efforts to stop the establishment of new Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Palestinian women should be allowed to enjoy security in a liberated homeland also in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
E. Women in areas affected by armed conflicts, foreign intervention and threats to peace
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.
Governments and the organizations of the United Nations system, including the regional commissions and the specialized agencies, are urged to give the Forward-looking Strategies the widest publicity possible and to ensure that their content is translated and disseminated in order to make authorities and the public in general, especially women's grass-root organizations, aware of the objectives of this document and of the recommendations contained therein.
1/ Report of the World Conference of the International Women's Year, Mexico City, 19 June-2 July 1975 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.76.IV.1), chap. I, sect. A.
2/ Report of the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, Copenhagen, 24-30 July 1980 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.80.IV.3), chap. I, sect. A.
3/ General Assembly resolution 227 A (III).
4/ General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
6/ General Assembly resolution 34/180, annex.
7/ General Assembly resolution 37/63, annex.
7a/ The Holy See delegation reserved its position with respect to paragraph 29 because it had not joined in the consensus at the International Conference on Population (Mexico City, 1984) and did not agree with the substance of paragraph 29.
8/ Report of the International Conference on Population, 1984, Mexico City, 6-14 August 1984 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.84.XIII.8), chap. I, sect. A, para. 1.
8a/ Reservations to paragraph 35 were formulated by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Federal Republic of, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and United States of America. The United States reserved its position on the reference in paragraph 35 to the Declaration of Mexico on the Equality of Women and their Contribution to Development and Peace, 1975.
9/ Report of the World Conference of the International Women's Year ..., chap. I.
10/ Report of the Commission on the Status of Women acting as the Preparatory Body for the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace on its second session (A/CONF.116/PC/l9), chap. I, draft decision I, para. 2 (h).
10a/ The United States reserved its position on paragraph 44 because it did not agree that the obstacles listed should be considered the main reasons for the inequality of women in most countries.
10b/ The United States reserved its position on paragraphs 69, 72 and 137 specifically because it did not agree with the concept of "equal pay for work of equal value~ and maintained the principle of "equal pay for equal work".
10c/ The United States abstained in the vote on paragraph 94 because of unacceptable language relating to economic measures by developed countries against developing States.
10d/ The United States reserved its position on paragraph 95 because it did not agree with the listing of those obstacles categorized as being major impediments to the advancement of women.
10e/ The United States requested a vote on paragraph 98 and voted against the paragraph.
10f/ The United States reserved its position on paragraph 100 because it did not accept the underlying philosophy of the paragraph as it concerned the economic situation in debtor and developing countries.
10g/ The Holy See delegation reserved its position with respect to paragraphs 156 to 159 because it did not agree with the substance of those paragraphs.
11/ Report of the United Nations World Population Conference, 1974, Bucharest, 19-30 August 1974 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.75.XIII.3), chap. I.
11a/ The Holy See delegation reserved its position with respect to paragraphs 156 to 159 because it did not agree with the substance of those paragraphs.
12/ Report of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, Rome, 12-20 July 1979 (WCARRD/REP) (Rose, FAO, 1979), Program of Action, sect. IV.
12a/ The General Assembly adopted guidelines for consumer protection in resolution 39/248 of 9 April 1985.
12b/ The United States voted against paragraph 259 because of its opposition to the references in the eighth and ninth subparagraphs to the imposition of sanctions and aid to liberation movements.
13/ General Assembly resolution 36/71.
14/ Report of the World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, Geneva, 14-25 August 1978 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.79.XIV.2), chap. II.
15/ General Assembly resolution 3086 (XXVIII).
15a/ The United States voted against this paragraph because of its strong objection to the introduction of tendentious and unnecessary elements into the Forward-looking Strategies document which have only a nominal connection with the unique concerns of women.
16/ Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973, p. 287).
17/ Report of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, Geneva, 29 August-7 September 1983 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.83.I.21), chap. I, sect. B.
18/ General Assembly resolution 37/16.
19/ Report of the World Assembly on Aging, Vienna, 26 July-6 August 1982 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.82.I.16), chap. VI, sect. A.
20/ See United Nations publication, Sales No. E.81.IV.4.