Friday, March 14, 2008

Ground Lost

The final draft agreed conclusions are not yet posted on the DAW website, but were, we understand, finalised on Wednesday 12 March. As one participant noted, the result reflects the united voice of conservatism worldwide.

In a nutshell:
- we lost DIRECT support to the NGOs
- we got only the funding of ACTIVITIES (no core funding)
- we did not get any new money for the work of the NGO's
- we lost even the mention of women's reproductive rights.

The following message was received from the Slovenian delegation today:

EU Statement on the AGREED CONCLUSIONS: FINANCING FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN

Mr. Chairman,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

Mr. Chairman,
I am taking the floor in order to explain the basis upon which the European Union has been able to join consensus today on the Agreed Conclusions entitled “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women”.

The European Union attaches great importance to accelerated achievement of the goal of gender equality and the empowerment of women. We believe that availability of necessary human and financial resources for the empowerment of women and the commitment for adequate funding identified and mobilized from all sources and across all sectors to achieve the goals of gender equality and the empowerment of women have to be made and fully met.

The European Union also believes that remaining obstacles and challenges need to be exceeded effectively and in a holistic manner and therefore also through reinforcing national efforts to promote gender equality and women’s rights in reaching the goals and objectives of gender equality and empowerment of women, laid down in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Beijing follow-up process.

Mr. Chairman,

The Priority Theme of 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women” has, in the view of the European Union, not been aptly addressed.

It is our opinion that financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women is of relevance for all, namely developed and developing countries alike. It requires efforts at all levels and in all sectors as well as of all actors. Existing resources have to be used effectively and in a gender-responsive and accountable manner. Additional resources may need to be mobilized from all available sources, both nationally and internationally. Such a balance between national and international efforts would also adequately reflect the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development. It is our belief that this has not been adequately reflected in the text of the Agreed Conclusions of the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The EU therefore regrets that, in the informal consultations, the priority theme was frequently narrowed down to a call for more development assistance, and that the Commission did not take a more holistic and balanced approach to financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Furthermore, the European Union attaches great importance to the work of civil society and women’s organizations around the world. We regret that their important contributions to gender equality have not been rightly recognized and that adequate supporting of their future work toward gender equality and the empowerment of women has not been appropriately addressed in the text.

Finally, the EU understands the concern about national control over budgetary processes. However, we believe that a reference to national priorities, as now contained in the chapeau of paragraph 21 of the Agreed Conclusions, unnecessarily weakens the text. The EU would like to stress that the paragraph 21 should not create a precedent for future agreed conclusions.

The European Union would like to reiterate its strong commitment to promoting the issue of Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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