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    Background Release Press Release No:  UNIS/WOM/477
    Release Date:   5 June  2000
    General Assembly Special Session “Women 2000", at Headquarters, 5–9 June, To Review Progress Since 1995 Beijing Women’s Conference

     NEW YORK, 2 June (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly special session, "Women 2000:  Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the Twenty-first Century", also known as Beijing + 5, will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 5 to 9 June. 

    The year 2000 marks the fifth anniversary of the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing.  The Conference was attended by delegates from 189 governments and 2,600 non-governmental organization (NGOs), while more than 30,000 women and men attended the parallel NGO forum.  One hundred eighty-nine countries endorsed the Beijing Platform for Action, which calls upon governments to take action in 12 critical areas of concern.

    The special session will focus on examples of good practices, positive actions, lessons learned, and the obstacles and key challenges remaining since the Beijing Conference.  It will also consider further actions and initiatives for achieving gender equality in the new millennium.  At the end of the special session, governments are expected to issue a political declaration calling for a recommitment to the Beijing Platform for Action.

    Those areas are:  women and poverty; education and training of women; women and health; violence against women; women and armed conflict; women and the economy; women in power and decision-making; institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women; human rights of women; women and the media; women and the environment; and the girl child.

    The Platform for Action defined a set of strategic objectives and spelled out actions to be taken by governments, the international community, NGOs and the private sector for the removal of the existing obstacles to women's advancement.  It aimed at accelerating the implementation of the 1985 Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women and removing the obstacles to women's active participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making.

    The General Assembly, in resolution 52/231, decided to convene a special session to appraise and assess the progress achieved in the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women and the Beijing Platform for Action, five years after its adoption.  The Assembly also decided 

    that it would consider further actions and initiatives during the special session. It established the format for the preparatory process, and designated the Commission on the Status of Women as the Preparatory Committee for the review.

    The Preparatory Committee decided that items on the provisional agenda of the special session would be a review and appraisal of progress made in the implementation of the 12 critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform; and further action and initiatives for overcoming obstacles to implementation of the Beijing Platform. 

    Before the Assembly will be the Preparatory Committee’s report on the work of its third session, which was held at Headquarters from 3 to 17 March (document A/S-32/2).  The report, which was as of today still being negotiated, contains the text of draft resolutions and decisions recommended for adoption by the Assembly during the special session.

    According to the text of the resolution, the Assembly would adopt a Political Declaration.  By the terms of the Declaration, the governments participating in the session would reaffirm their commitment to the goals and objectives contained in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  The governments would also reaffirm their commitment to the implementation of the 12 critical areas of concern and recognize that they have primary responsibility for the full implementation of the 1985 Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies, the Declaration and Platform for Action, and all relevant commitments for the advancement of women.  

    Also by the Declaration, the governments would reaffirm their commitment to overcoming obstacles in the implementation process and to strengthening and safeguarding a national and international enabling environment.  The governments would pledge to ensure the realization of societies in which both women and men work together towards a world where every individual can enjoy equality, development and peace in the twenty-first century.

    Draft decision I would have the Assembly adopt its provisional agenda for the special session.  Draft decision II concerns organizational arrangements for the session.

    The report also contains the text of two decisions already adopted by the Assembly (decisions A/54/466 and A/54/467), by the terms of which the Assembly decided to broaden the participation of NGOs in the special session, urged the relevant United Nations bodies to assist in the participation of those lacking resources and reconsidered the question of accreditation of NGOs at the session.

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