Subject: [fem-women2000 98] CONGO Briefing on Beijing Plus 5 Process up to Women2000 (Oct 28 1999)
From: lalamaziwa <>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 03:09:11 +0900
Seq: 98

Briefing by Sudah Acharya, Vice President of CONGO
at NGO meeting during ESCAP, 28th October 1999

I bring breafing from CONGO (Conference of NGOs in Consultative
Relations with the United Nations). As you all know probably, CONGO is
51 years old. It started in 1948 with main reason to protect and enhance
UN-NGO relations. We celebrated the 50th Anniversary last year along
with the 50th anniversary of the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human

NGO Process at CSW 43rd Session (March 1999)
How many of you were there at the 43rd session of the Commission of
Status of Women this year 1999? You all know about the Special Session
of the UN General Assembly in June 5th to 9th? That's the reason I take
it that you are all here working at ther regional level. 

I know you know about these things but I will very quickly go over the
agenda. The provisional agenda for the Special Session is "Review and
Appraisal of progess made in 12 critical areas of concern" and "Further
actions and initiatives for overcoming obstacles to implementation."

There was a very large NGO presence at the 43rd Session. Probably the
largest we had since Bejing. and there was strong presence as
participation of NGOs.  And during that time, CONGO initiated brain
storming sessions on Beijing Plus 5 on how do we NGOs prepare for this
Special Session, what we want to get out of it, and what type of
activities that we would like to propose to that end. Out of these,
three working papers came out all this collaborative work together.
There was a framework for analysis which was produced, another one on
NGO access and participation, and another one on NGO alternative reports.
Some of you must have seen these papers.

Status and Organization for NGO Activities at PrepCom2 & Special Session
One good thing that came out of it was there was a conclusion where
everybody agreed that there should not be a NGO forum as such in the
year 2000. That we would only have a working session. And it was decided
that it would be just two days before the weekend. Saturday and Sunday
which is June 3rd and 4th of year 2000. (note: the dates may change to
2nd and 3rd -- see below)

The brainstorming sessions identified 4 main groups of NGOs who would be
involved in the NGO preparations. This was to make sure that everybody
was included. It was CONGO and its three committees on status of women.
CONGO has theree committees on status of women, one in New York, one in
Geneva and one in Vienna. This would be one group. Then the five regions.
All the five regions of the world and large networks around the world
and issue based caucuses. The NGOs present there felt that if these were
included we would have identified everyone who's involved were included.

With that, we said to organize the activities around the PrepCom, and
around the Special Session.  For NGOs, there would be three groups or
committees if you want to call it that way.

First one is the very large group, "NGOs for Women 2000". That is anyone
who wanted to work on this one who had the ability to disseminate
infromation make sure that NGOs whereever they are to disseminate
information to NGOs around there and who wanted to act in the fasion of
helping out.

The second one is a smaller group of about 20 or so. The coordinating
committee which would be the policy making body. This would include all
the four groups of NGOs that i mentioned earlier. There would be two
regional representatives from the five regions. Those two from each
region would be selected or elected in whichever way chosen by the
region themselves. I'm very happy that it has already happened in ESCAP.
Somehow Asia-Pacific seem to lead the way that you have already chosen
the two people, that's Patricia Liucanan and Irene Pitterway. So the
other regions will be doing the same thing to choose people to be on
this coordinating committee.

Then we have a smaller New York based group, the organizing
sub-committee. There we have rotated ten people with CONGO and Chair of
the Commission on Status of Women in New York, June Zaiklin from WEDO,
as well Charlot Bunch from Center for Women's Global Leadership, Anne
Walker from the International Tribune Center, then we have Lia Jalli(?)
>from Church Center, then we have representative from Africa caucas who
is there, representative from Latin America who is there. So it's a
small group but an organizing sub-committee.

And we also have large group of NGOs there who are interested in more of
information gathering, or having input from everyone.

What to envisage during PrepCom and Special Session?
After this, what do we envisage during the PrepCom and during the
Special Session?  Parallel NGO events of course will take place in
PrepCom 2 in year 2000, during two day working session, and during the
Special Session.

As you all know, the date for the prepcom (CSW session) has been changed
to February 28th to March 17th.

The three NGO committees on status of women will hold consultation one
day prior to the CSW, usually that's what has been happening. This year
also on the 27th of February, there will be an NGO consultation.
Added to that, a need was seen for orientation for NGOs who come from
around the world, so that will be held on Saturday 26th of February.

We are still trying to do it along with the consultation because if
people had to come for an orientation, it meant one more day in New York
and we know that New Yor is an expensive place. So used to try to plob
it with the consultation and it has not worked. You know, there is not
enough time for good orientation, and since quite a number of NGOs are
coming for the first time, they need to know what to do. So we will be
holding it on 26th. We will probably be hiring space in Curch Center and
there will be room for meeting in the Curch Center and the UN itself. 
Now, there is a US host committee which has been formed. They will have
celebratory welcoming events. We are on the US host committee as well,
and June who is on the Committee can tell you more about that afterwards.

There is lots of work ahead, of course you know that. Like outreach,
logistics, fund-raising, coordination, substantive input, alternative
reports, and so on. There's lots of work at the national level, at the
regional level, and we are right where it has started. 

Online discussion is a means to make input
And there are online discussions going on already, Women Watch has
already started that, and to complement that, there is Women Action. 
The Women Watch <> is the UN gateway and
Women Action <>is the NGO one linking websites
together. This is the global communications network that was talked
about at the PrepCom. The collaborative project of regional and
international media networks. Their purpose is to provide NGOs websites
and online dialogue for women who want to be involved in the Beijing
Review process a companion to Women Watch as i said before.

We do realize that everybody will not be able to get to the June meeting.
So we feel that best way for everyone to be involved when there is so
much to do at the nationl level, and so much to do at the regional
level, and also take part in the onlie dialogue so you can have an input
in there.

CONGO's Call to Disseminate Information
After the March Session was over, small group got together and came up
with a letter. The fampous July second letter that probably went out in
the middle of July to your headquarters, so all your organizations must
have received the letter. How many have received that letter? (not so

So, that letter went out explaining what was being planned and asking
for input. And also asking for people who would want to be involved in
this one and what they would need to do. We had lots of response from
people asking for information but we didn't really have people who
volunteered to be nodes (i think that's the popular word now) to
disseminate information. We had just handful but not too many.

Realising that regional representatives can only be chosen at the
regional level, we had also asked for interim people to work. We didn't
have that good response and so we are now at the time that the regional
meeting had already started.

Regional commission meetings and how to input
Something that i wish to talk about now is the reginal commission meetings.
I can't beleive that it is already happening, that we are now sitting in

Asia Pacific    ESCAP  Oct 25-28
Africa          ECA    Nov 22-27 (Addis)
West Asia       ESCWA  Dec 15-18 (Beilut)
Europe          ECE    Jan 19-21 
Latin America   ECLAC  Feb 8-10  (Lima, Peru)

Prep Com 2      CSW    Feb 28th-March 17th(could spill over to 18th)

That takes us right to the PrepCom itself. CSW is starting at 28th of
February and ECLAC is 8-10 February. If we need to get together and have
input from people, we need to start now. You are in a good position
because you already had your regional commission meeting. ESCAP is okay
but for people to participate, we need to work on the documents that are
coming out of the decisions which will be considered by the governments
in March 2000, but the thing is, nothing very specific is coming out so
we need to disucuss how we are going to work on this one. 

PrepCom2 is the best opportunity for us to influence anything that will
come out. Once the PrepCom is over, by the time we go to the Special
Session, it probably will be just "dotting the i's and crossing the t's"
So we need to be well prepared for March. Input from the regions is
extremely important so we are here. So we need to decide here what goes
in, what goes from here.

NGO Conferences
There are other NGO conferences. Seoul '99 International Conference of
NGOs has already happened. It was a very good meeting, lots of input and
Heisoo was organizing the team on gender equality, a program of action
has come out, a declaration has come out. It was a good program of
action but we need to go from one step the other end. Then there was
Worksoc(?) one in Montreal in December, then Millenium Forum from 22nd
to 26th May comes even before the Special Session. But any input we have
will go to the Millenium Forum but the Special Session comes after that.

Update from DAW
Do you have the this? The Division keeps updating us. I saw some copies
in one of the conference rooms here. So, do look out for this. It has
updated information from the Division on what is happening as far as the
secretariat is concerned and agencies, and even some NGOs like Women
2000. They call it "Beijing Information Note" i think it's available on the
web at WomenWatch <>.

Status of document for negotiation at PrepCom 2 (March 2000)
They talked about two documents that will be presented at the Prepcom in
March. A short political Declaration, a draft of it has come out. I have
a copy of that so if you don't have that i will make that available. The
review and appraisal one that everyone has been talking about. They are
looking at the national action plans submitted by the member states, and
they are looking at responses to the questionnaire that were sent to the
member states, and they are also basing their analysis on reports to
CEDAW, and any statements made. so analysis is going on based on alot of
information. So this analysis will come out but they are now talking
about another document on further action for implementation. So if the
third one comes out, these will be the three documents we should be
looking at. 

New and emerging issues they said will come out of the review process,
especially from the regional meetings. So now we need to see what new
and emerging issues will come out of THIS meeting, and it would be
interesting to see what the drafting group will come up with. 

Status Government Input
The Division for Advancement of Women calls NGOs and has meetings with
them time and again and we had one last month Tuesday. They told us that
the National Action Plans that they received are from 115 countries and
2 observer states, questionnaires from 118 countries and 2 observer

PrepCom2 (at CSW44) may spill over to 18th March
And the information they also shared with us is that March 16th
is a holiday, a Muslim holiday, so there is a possibility that the
PrepCom would spill over to the Saturday. So it would probably be the
18th of March that they will finish. 

You probably all know this, but the first four days of the CSW will be
just CSW and then the rest of the time will be taken up by the PrepCom.

Alternative NGO Report (where to send, and further process)
Let's talk about the alternative NGO report. I think there have been
questions on where to send the Alternative Reports. You cand send it to

     NGOs for Women 2000
     c/o CONGO
     777 UN Plaza 8th Floor
     New York, NY 10017 USA

It will be on the website but we will try and put it together. The idea
is to put it together with some analysis but we preferr that alot of
that analysis is made at the regional level. In some fasion, we will try
to put it together.

We have talked to the Director of the Division for Advancement of Women
on how this could be presented. We are preparing this Alternative Report
or NGO Report at the country level as well as the regional level and so
on, and may be a global one. and what would be the norm? what do we do
with this one?  She said she would look into it. But that is not
official, right now there is no way we can present this one. and nothing
has been decided. Of course we can give it to the Division for
Advancement of Women as input and then to the member states.

Now, on what else can be done about it? We wanted to stress the fact
that what we do at the national level with the national report is
probably the most important thing. It helps us in identifying what has
been achived, and what has not, and where we go from there. So we need
to discuss about that too. 

Heads of States and possible NGO Consulattion date change
They (DAW) asked us that they will like to have a very high level
representation at the Special Session. In fact they were asking the
American NGOs to influence so that you get President Clinton to the
Special Session, so that other Heads of States will also come and that
will give Special Session a clout. It would be wonderful if that happens,
that many Heads of States come.

But that does affect us, affect NGO session in some fasion. We said and
right now, everybody knows that it is the 3rd and 4th of June, and we
want to hold it at the United Nations itself.  If any, or a single Heads
of States come to the United Nations on that Monday, you can be sure
that we won't be able to hold anything on Sunday because they need to
comb the whole building. So we may need to change the date to 2nd and
3rd of June. It is not decided yet but we probably will be doing that.


please distribute as appropriate
(transcript prepared by Ad Hoc AWORC Team in ESCAP)

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