The Beijing Ten Year Review and Appraisal took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York, from 28 February to 11 March 2005, as part of the Forty-ninth Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) whose programme of work included two main topics:
- Review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the Twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly;
- Current challenges and forward-looking strategies for the advancement and empowerment of women and girls.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE SESSION
ESCWA’s preparations for Beijing +10 were launched in two phases.
During the first phase, ESCWA:
- Formulated, along with the other United Nations Regional Commissions, a questionnaire that was sent to governments in February 2003 on progress achieved in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Arab Plan of Action;
- Drew a timetable for all preparations leading to the ten-year regional review that was to take place in March 2005;
- Prepared an outline for the national reports to be submitted by member States;
- Identified national and regional indicators to be used in monitoring implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and all regional plans and programmes and to assist in the preparation of national reports for March 2005;
- Prepared a report entitled “Arab Women: Trends and Statistics, 1990-2003” as the main reference document, using the regional monitoring indicators.
Recommendations of member countries to ESCWA during the First Session of the Committee on Women held in Beirut on 4-5 December 2003 were to formulate a comprehensive preparatory programme for Beijing +10 through the organization of national, subregional and regional training workshops, and to increase its commitment to cooperation and coordination with LAS, UNIFEM, CAWTAR and the Arab Women’s Organization (AWO) in all evaluation and follow-up activities of the Beijing +10 conference. In accordance with this, ESCWA collaborated with the partners mentioned in organizing a Regional Training Workshop on Preparation of National Reports for the Ten-year Review of the Beijing Conference (Beijing +10). The workshop took place in Cairo from 28 March to 1 April 2004 and brought together government officials responsible for the preparation of national reports.
ESCWA also organized in collaboration with the national machineries for women (committees, commissions or councils on women), national workshops to support the process of developing national reports for Beijing +10.
During the second phase, and pursuant to General Assembly resolution 58/148 of 22 December 2003 on the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the Twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly, ESCWA organized the Arab Regional Conference Ten Years After Beijing: Call for Peace, in Beirut, from 8 to 10 July 2004. The Conference endorsed the Beirut Declaration on Arab Women Ten Years After Beijing: Call for Peace, after its adoption by the Committee on Women at its second session, which was held as part of the Conference. The Beirut Declaration was to be implemented during the following ten years until 2015, in the implementation process of the Beijing Platform for Action, with a view to empower women, improve their situation and increase their participation in the political, economic and social fields. As part of ESCWA’s continuing gender media campaign to raise awareness of gender issues, a 40-minute documentary entitled “Waves in the History of Arab Women” was also broadcast during the conference.
THE SESSION AND BEYOND
During the forty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women held in New York in March 2005, ESCWA presented the findings of the “Arab Regional Ten-year Review and Appraisal of Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action”.
In an effort to throw light on the achievements that have been realized, detail obstacles and challenges, and affirm the importance of continuing work along the lines set forth in the Beirut Declaration on Arab Women 10 Years after Beijing: Call for Peace, ESCWA prepared a questionnaire which was distributed to Arab governments in July 2006 and which included questions on a number of themes such as institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, national legislation and international agreements, the economic empowerment of women, the political empowerment of women, gender-disaggregated data, and women in the media. Based on country responses, a report entitled “Arab Women: Status, Challenges and Future Prospects – Outcome of the Review and Evaluation of Implementation of Beijing Platform for Action and Beirut Declaration in the period between July 2004 and December 2006” was developed and presented at the Third Session of the Committee on Women.