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CSD NGO Women's Caucus

[ Full written statement / PDF ]


ECE Ministerial meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable development, 241h September 2001

I am Valerie Evans of the United Kingdom's Women's National Commission speaking on behalf of the Women's Caucus who met last night to produce the document which has been circulated. I speak now only to the highlights of that paper.

We women form a significant proportion of the work force in the countries of the ECE and sustain the majority of the households of our societies. We are consumers and producers. However the socio-economic position of women is not equal to that of men and our perspectives, knowledge and visions are not adequately taken into account. We are very concerned at the lack of implementation of Agenda 21 as is shown in the ECE Assessments for which we hold our governments responsible.

Our priorities are as follows:

- Gender Balance in the preparations for the World Summit should be guaranteed. The proportion and participation of women in all decision-making bodies related to sustainable development should be of key concern.

- Gender Specific Analysis should be part of all decisions taken in the implementation of sustainable development. Gender disaggregated data need to be generated at all levels and indicators for Sustainable Developments should be gender sensitive. We expect you to include a strong gender perspective in the Ministerial Statement from this meeting-

- Peace and Justice are prerequisites for Sustainable Development. In a world that faces local, regional and global conflicts and in which hatred and lack of understanding is growing between peoples, the fundamental basis for future development and well being is being undermined. Women must playa major part in conflict resolution and we will work together for a just society, which respects the values of cultural diversity. We urge our governments to support these efforts.

- Poverty, particularly that of women and the growing gap between the rich and the poor must be addressed. The richer countries of the world have a major responsibility in providing aid, financial and other resources, and to that end 0.7% of GNP for development assistance should be guaranteed by our governments. The more than one billion people living in extreme poverty must be recognised as a major group in implementing Agenda 21, whose views and perspectives should be taken into account. There should be a major focus on women's poverty in all these efforts.

- Globalisation has brought the world into almost every household. Democratically organised peoples and governments lose control over their systems of production and distribution of resources, profit may be preferred over core values such as sustainability and justice. A major international effort is needed to review the social and environmental consequences of globalisation and to develop a new economic and political system for Sustainable Development-

- Health. Women have the right to conceive and give birth in an unpolluted environment. Women and children's health is particularly effected by pollutants so policies and monitoring strategies must protect all with particular note taken of the most vulnerable This is an unnegotiable right.

- Our paper also refers to the ecological foot print, sustainable land use, biological diversity and the many environmental conventions and protocols which we wish to see ratified. 
Please read and digest.  

I will finish by pointing out the obvious, wherever you go in the world, north, south, east, west, the rich, the poor, urban, rural, women as well as all their other roles are the carers of the young and the old. Without us there can be no future, no sustainable development, so with a place for women at the decision making table and our concerns clearly and firmly integrated into the prose of your weighty documents the world can only be a better place for those who come after us.

Women's Caucus, ECE September 24th 2001.

[ Full written statement / PDF ]