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NGO Documents for Earth Summit II 

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DRAFT Women's Caucus' Suggestions for a Political Statement by Heads of State at UNGASS

February 20, 1997

Powerful vested interests can be discouraging to envisioned solutions. However, history has indeed shown that large numbers of disenfranchised and enlightened people can confront powerful institutions and succeed. Democratic structures must be strengthened, and private interests must be more accountable, including to governments, even though the trend is toward less government oversight of private initiatives .

The vast majority of the private sector, too, must be infused with the vision of Rio. Policy- makers must differentiate between the private sector and eliminate the bias towards the largest entities of the private sector, which are not the biggest employers of people, and support the small and informal sector which employs large numbers of people, particularly women. The 200 largest corporations in the world now control a quarter of the global economy activity but employ less than one per cent of the global workforce.

As Heads of States and representatives of member states of the United Nations:

We pledge to enhance all governance structures, global and national, through the next century by adhering to the fundamental principles of equal representation and accountability.

We recognise the pervasive and systemic violation of women's human rights, that women are significant agents for local and global change, and that gender equality is essential to achieving sustainable and equitable development.

We pledge to achieve gender balance in governance, expand, enhance and improve affirmative action programs or other incentives that will encourage and support the leadership and involvement of women in political decision-making.

We pledge to apply a gender perspective in all aspects of the implementation of Agenda 21.

We commit to evaluate the activities of existing local, regional and national Councils on Sustainable Development for gender balance and evidence of concern about gender issues and ensure that these councils are established where they have not yet been.

We commit to promote grass roots women's participation, particularly those involved in the Habitat process, and gender training for local Agenda 21 groups.

We commit to expand NGO access to and participation in the U.N. General Assembly and related committees .

We agree to strengthen the reporting requirements by governments to the Commission on Sustainable Development and improve links to corollary Commissions. Widen public dissemination of information on environmental degradation and government compliance in achieving U .N .conference goals .

We pledge to create an effective new process/mechanism/strategy to strengthen links

between the World Bank, IMF, WTO and post-Rio accountability which includes examination of sovereignty and foreign investment issues .

We commit to expand efforts to eliminate negative effects on developing countries by reconciling WTO rule-making and global trade practices with the post-Rio agenda.

We re-commit to implement the Habitat II agenda which calls for governments to create "regulatory and legal frameworks promote socially and environmentally responsible .corporate investment and reinvestment in and partnership with local communities."

We pledge to work for international codes of conduct for corporations and to govern weapons trade and export subsidies.

We commit to ensure that the code aims to enforce compliance with ILO agreements and promote an international code of conduct to protect the rights of workers in developing countries and prevent their gender-based and economic exploitation by transnational corporations.

We commit to evaluate efforts of handling hazardous wastes such as nuclear waste and plutonium and support the goal to eliminate nuclear weapons.

We pledge to give greater priority to environmental health and to use the precautionary principle in regulatory policy.

We pledge to support an international negotiation process on new financial instruments such as a tax on speculative capital transactions to reduce market instability and generate resources for social sectors.

We commit to make major debt cancellation announcements at the Special Session, as it is a critical centerpiece of the Rio formula, and we will explain to the public the relationship of debt cancellation to stemming environmental degradation and ending the cycle of poverty.

We pledge to raise $21.7 billion to ensure that l00 million of the world's poorest women and their families receive credit for self-employment by 2005, and remove legislative, policy, administrative, and customary barriers to women's equal rights to natural resources, including access to and control over land and other forms of property, credit, inheritance, information and appropriate new technology.

As part of the shift from unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, we commit to enforce the new ILO convention to protect home-based workers and implement the Beijing commitment to construct satellite accounts to the gross national product to measure unwaged work.

We commit to a public education process to promote the ideas and values enshrined in U .N .conferences and conventions to produce self-empowered, environmentally and", socially responsible citizens.


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