Five years after the Fourth World Conference in Beijing, a special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century” was held in New York from 5 to 9 June 2000. This session was dedicated to examining progress achieved in the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and also provided an opportunity for Governments, the United Nations system and civil society to share and compare experiences, to renew old commitments and make new ones and to examine obstacles encountered as well as good practices to identify additional measures and initiatives to speed up the process of implementation.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE SESSION
In preparation for this special session, ESCWA:
- Made the questionnaire on progress achieved available in Arabic for countries in the Arab region;
- Prepared an outline for use by Arab governments in preparing their national reports;
- Prepared, on the basis of national reports, a regional evaluation report which was distributed as a background document during the special session;
- Co-organized with LAS the Second Regional Meeting for Follow-up to Beijing in Beirut in December 1998. The Meeting reviewed the implementation of the three priority areas (poverty, family and political participation):
- The meeting on a regional evaluation of the implementation of the Arab Plan of Action and the Beijing Platform for Action and obstacles therein;
- It produced a new vision for gender equality in the region based on good governance, democracy and participatory development. Gender mainstreaming was thoroughly discussed as a process for gender equality;
- The meeting highlighted the role of NGOs as a partner and a stakeholder in speeding up the process of implementation of the Platform for Action, the Arab plan of Action and the Arab Programme of Action.
- Co-hosted with the Division for the Advancement of Women (now incorporated in UN Women) in Beirut, November 1999, a global expert group meeting to produce the draft output document for the special session on Beijing +5;
- Convened with the LAS and CAWTAR in Cairo in May 2000, a regional Workshop in preparation for the special session in order to review the output document and review with official delegations the divisive issues in the output document.
During the Special Session in June 2000, ESCWA held daily briefing meetings for the Arab Group in collaboration with the LAS and co-organized a dialogue on NGOs as partners in the development process in collaboration with the other regional commissions.