World Conference to review and appraise the achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace
26 July 1985
Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies | Introduction | I. Equality | II. Development | III. Peace | IV. Areas of Special Concern | V. International and Regional Co-operation
305. Insufficient attention has been devoted during the Decade at the international level and in some regions to the need to advance the status of women in relation to the goals and objectives of the Decade - equality, development and peace. International tensions, arms race, threat of nuclear war, failure to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and failure to observe the principles of the United Nations Charter as well as global economic recession and other critical situations combined with dissatisfaction due to inadequate progress in multilateral and international co-operation since the Copenhagen World Conference has substantially affected the scope and ability for international and regional co-operation including the role of the United Nations. The progress in the developing world has slackened or in some cases turned negative under conditions of serious indebtedness, economic and monetary instability, resource constraints and unemployment. This has also affected prospects for economic and technical co-operation among developing countries, particularly with regard to women. Nevertheless some progress has been made in terms of achieving equality between women and men, and a greater appreciation of the role of women in development and peace which should also contribute toward effective international co-operation.
306. International and regional organizations have been called upon during the Decade to advance the position of their women staff and to extend hiring practices to include qualified women. The results have been highly uneven and in some cases the situation has actually worsened during the Decade in the face of resource constraints and other limiting criteria, such as geographical distribution and attitudinal barriers. In particular, women are absent from the senior management levels, which seriously limits their influence on decision-making.
307. In order to institutionalize interorganizational exchanges of information and co-operation in relation to women's advancement, several United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and regional bodies have designated, in response to pressures applied during the Decade, focal points for women's activities. However, in many cases, insufficient tenure and resources accompanied those actions, thus limiting their long-term effectiveness. Moreover, activities that promote the integration of women in development have often been confined to these focal points and have not been integrated into all organizational planning and programme activities. Progress has also been limited in this area by the inadequate training of many of the staff members of international agencies and organizations with respect to the centrality of women's role in development.
308. International and regional co-operation strategies must be formulated on the premise that effective development requires the full integration of women in the development process as both agents and beneficiaries. Development agencies should take full cognizance of women as a development resource. This requires that all international and regional development institutions adopt explicit policies in this regard and put in place the management systems necessary to ensure the effective implementation and evaluation of these policies in the full range of their programmes and activities. Such policies should incorporate the principles endorsed in the Forward-looking Strategies of Implementation for the Advancement of Women. Strong and visible commitment to and interest in integrating women in the development process should be demonstrated by the senior-level management of development agencies.
309. Effective consultative and reporting arrangements are required to collect information on action taken to implement the Forward-looking Strategies and on successful ways and means used to overcome obstacles. Monitoring and evaluation should, therefore, be carried out at international, regional and subregional levels based on national-level monitoring, including input from non-governmental organizations.
310. Technical co-operation, training and advisory services should promote endogenous development and self-reliance with greater emphasis on economic and technical co-operation among developing countries. The special needs of women should be periodically assessed and methods developed to integrate women's concerns into the planning and evaluation of development activities. The participation of women in the formulation of technical co-operation policies and programmes should be ensured.
311. International, regional and subregional institutional co-ordination should be strengthened, particularly in relation to the exchange of information on the advancement of women and the establishment of collaborative arrangements to undertake activities with interrelated components.
312. Research and policy analysis should focus greater attention on the economic role of women in society, including access to economic resources such as land and capital. Research and policy analysis related to women should be action-oriented without losing sight of key analytical considerations. Further investment in evolving adequate gender-specific data is also required.
313. Steps should be taken to increase the participation of women in international, regional and subregional level activities and decision making, including those directly or indirectly concerned with the maintenance of peace and security, the role of women in development and the achievement of equality between women and men.
314. Information on progress in achieving the goals of the Decade and on implementing the Forward-looking Strategies should be widely disseminated in the period from 1985 to the year 2000 at international, regional, subregional and national levels, based on experience gained during the Decade. Greater reliance is needed on audio-visual communications and expansion of networks for disseminating information on programmes and activities for women. Discriminatory, stereotyped and degrading images of women must be eliminated in the media.
315. On the basis of the results of the review and appraisal in the United Nations system that indicated the need for continued efforts to ensure the recruitment, promotion and retention of women, all United Nations bodies, the regional commissions and the specialized agencies should take all measures necessary to achieve an equitable balance between women and men staff members at managerial and professional levels in all substantive areas, as well as in field posts, with particular attention to promoting equitable regional representation of women. Women should be appointed to decision-making and management posts within the United Nations system in order to increase their participation in activities at the international and regional levels, including such areas as equality, development and peace.
316. In view of the difficulties of spouses of United Nations officials in securing employment at the various duty stations, the United Nations is urged to make every possible effort to provide the establishment of educational facilities and day care centres for families of officials in order to facilitate the employment of spouses at these duty stations.
317. The implementation of the goals and objectives of the Decade - equality, development and peace - and of the Forward-looking Strategies should be monitored during the period 1986 to the year 2000. Monitoring at the international level should be based on reviews, at the regional, subregional and national levels, of action taken, resources allocated and progress achieved. The national reviews should take the form of a response to a regular statistical reporting request from the United Nations Secretariat, which should include indicators of the situation of women. The statistical reporting basis should be developed by the Statistical Commission, in consultation with the Commission on the Status of Women. The United Nations Secretariat should compile the results of such monitoring in consultation with the appropriate bodies of Governments, including national machinery established to monitor and improve the status of women. The action taken and progress achieved at the national level should reflect consultation with non-governmental organizations and integration of their concerns at all levels of government planning, implementation and evaluation, as appropriate.
318. The specialized agencies and other United Nations organizations, including the regional commissions, should establish monitoring capabilities and procedures to analyze the situation of women in their sectoral or geographical areas, and submit their reports regularly to their respective governing bodies and to the Commission on the Status of Women, which is the main intergovernmental body within the United Nations system concerned with women.
319. The Commission on the Status of Women should consider on a regular basis reports on the progress made and concrete measures implemented at national, regional and international levels to advance the status of women in relation to the goals of the Decade - equality, development and peace - and the sub-theme employment health and education - and the strategies and measures to the year 2000. The United Nations system should continue to carry out a comprehensive and critical review of progress achieved in implementing the provisions of the World Plan of Action and of the Programme for the Second Half of the Decade. The central role in carrying out this review and appraisal should be played by the Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission should also monitor progress in the implementation of international standards, codes of conduct, strategies, conventions and covenants as they pertain to women. In view of this important function, high-level expertise and representation on the Commission should be given priority, including officials with substantive policy responsibilities for the advancement of women.
320. The preparation of new instruments and strategies such as the overall strategies for international development, should pay specific, appropriate attention to the advancement of women. Intergovernmental bodies of the United Nations system particularly those concerned with the monitoring, review and appraisal of the existing instruments, strategies, plans and programmes that may be of direct or indirect relevance to women, are urged as a matter of priority to develop explicit policies and reviewable plans of action for the integration of women in their regular work programmes.
321. The methods and procedures employed for collecting information from Governments, regional commissions, non-governmental organizations and other international organizations and bodies should be streamlined and based on guidelines to be discussed by the Commission on the Status of Women.
2. Technical co-operation, training and advisory strategies
322. Measures of technical co-operation, training and advisory services directed towards improving women's status at the international, interregional and regional levels, including co-operation among developing countries, need some impetus. This would require the re-ordering of principles for the allocation of resources as well as targeted financial, material and human resource assistance. Notwithstanding resource constraints, the United Nations should continue the important role of reinforcing these increased benefits for women.
323. Technical co-operation should be approached with a new concept that will break the cycle of dependency, emphasize local needs, and use local materials and resources as well as local creativity and expertise and be based on the full integration of women as agents and beneficiaries in all technical co-operation activities. Local associations and mechanisms should be oriented to play a more active role in planning and policy-making. Emphasis should be given to broader access by women to capital for self-help projects, income-generating activities, enterprise development and projects designed to reduce the drudgery in work performed by women. Innovative demonstration projects, particularly with respect to the integration of women in non-traditional sector activities, should be an essential element in technical co-operation activities.
324. Agencies which do not have specific guidelines or project procedures relating to women in development interlinked with the other aims of the period up to the year 2000 should ensure that they are developed. Such guidelines and procedures should apply to all aspects of the project cycle. Existing guidelines and procedures have to be applied more vigorously and consistently in particular, each project document should contain a strategy to ensure that the project has a positive impact on the situation of women.
325. Substantive staff training is needed to enhance the ability of staff to recognize and deal with the centrality of women's role in development, and adequate resources must be made available for this purpose. Implementation of policies concerning women is the responsibility of the particular organization as a whole. Responsibility is not merely a matter of personal persuasion. Systems should be developed which allocate responsibility and accountability.
326. Governments should strengthen and improve their institutional arrangements for technical co-operation so that policy is effectively linked to local-level implementing mechanisms, and should promote sustained, endogenous development. In these efforts Governments may wish to make use of the accumulated experience, activities and resources of the whole United Nations system.
327. While technical co-operation should be focused equally on women and men, the incorporation of women's needs and aspirations in the formulation and review of technical co-operation policies and programmes should be ensured and the potential negative effects on women of technical assistance should be minimized. Technical co-operation and women must be linked to overall national development objectives and priorities and technical assistance plans and programmes should be managed so as to ensure the full integration of activities specific to women. As a standard component of technical co-operation policies, women should be full and equal participants in technical co-operation projects and activities. The needs of especially vulnerable and underprivileged groups of women should be addressed in the technical co-operation programmes.
328. Participation of non-governmental organizations as a means to enhance the relevance and impact of technical co-operation activities of benefit to women should be encouraged.
329. In allocating multilateral and bilateral assistance, agencies, in consultation with recipient Governments, should establish measurable and reviewable plans of action, with goals and time frames. They should also give adequate impetus to sustained and real increases in the flow of resources for technical co-operation activities of benefit to women, including greater mobilization of resources from non-governmental sources and the private sector. Bilateral and multilateral aid agencies should give special consideration to assisting the least developed countries in their efforts to integrate women in development. In this regard, particular attention should be given to projects in the fields of health, education and training, and the creation of employment opportunities for women, especially in rural areas.
330. Bilateral and multilateral aid agencies should take a corporate-wide response to the integration of women in development. Bilateral aid agencies' policies for Women in development should involve all parts of donors' organizations and programmes, including participation of multilateral and bilateral programmes, training technical assistance and financial aid. Policies for women in development should be incorporated into all applicable aid and agency procedures relating to sectoral and project levels.
331. In order to enable women to define and defend their own interests and needs, the United Nations system and aid agencies should provide assistance for programmes and projects which strengthen women's autonomy, in particular in the integration process.
332. International non-governmental organizations, including such organisations as trade unions, should be encouraged to involve women in their day-to-day work and to increase their attention to women's issues. The capacity of non-governmental organizations at all levels to reach women and women's groups should receive greater recognition and support. The potential role of those non-governmental organizations could be fully utilized by international and governmental agencies involved in development co-operation.
333. Technical and advisory assistance should be provided by the United Nations system at the national level to improve systematically statistical and other forms of gender-specific indicators and information that can help redirect policy and programmes for the more effective integration of women in development as contributors and beneficiaries.
334. Technical co-operation among developing countries should be strengthened in the service of women at all levels and in all sectors of activity, focusing particularly on promoting the exchange of experience, expertise, technology and know-how, as well as on diffusing innovative organizational models suitable for strengthening the self-reliance of women. The urgent need for information flows to facilitate the process of integrating women in development, and the need for relevant, transferable and appropriate information should be a priority of regional co-operation within the framework of technical co-operation among developing countries. Regional co-operation to assist disadvantaged groups of women should also be promoted in this context.
335. Technical assistance should be given by the United Nations system and other international and non-governmental organizations to women involved in the promotion of international peace and co-operation.
336. The United Nations system should continue to strengthen training programmes for women, in particular in the least developed countries, through fellowships and other means of assistance, particularly in the fields of economic planning, public affairs and public administration, business management and accounting, and farming and labour relations, and in scientific, engineering and technical fields. It is necessary to support and expand technical and economic activities for women by means of collaboration with international development assistance agencies. In this respect, the United Nations Development Fund for Women is particularly recognized for its innovative contribution in the area of development and technical assistance for disadvantaged women, and its continuation and expansion beyond the Decade is considered of vital importance to the development needs of women.
337. The participation of women in technical assistance monitoring, planning, programming evaluation and follow-up missions should be promoted, and guidelines should be developed and applied to assess the relevance and impact of development assistance projects on women. The United Nations funding agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Food Programme, as well as the World Bank, should ensure that women benefit from and participate in all projects and programmes funded by them.
3. Institutional co-ordination
338. System-wide co-ordination of work on issues relating to women needs to be strengthened. The economic and Social Council should be encouraged to play a more forceful and dynamic role in reviewing and co-ordinating all relevant United Nations activities in the field of women's issues. Regular consultations between United Nations agencies and organizations should be institutionalized in conjunction with meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women in order to exchange information on programme activities and co-ordinate future planning and programming with a view to ensuring adequate resource-allocation that would facilitate action and limit the unnecessary duplication of activities.
339. Future medium-term plans of the United Nations and the specialized agencies should contain intersectoral presentations of the various programmes dealing with issues of concern to women. In order to achieve greater coherence and efficiency of the policies and programmes of the United Nations system related to women and development, the Secretary-General, in his capacity as Chairman of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination and in conformity with Economic and Social Council resolution 1985/46 of 31 May 1985, should take the initiative in formulating a system-wide medium-term plan for women and development.
340. The Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the Department of International Economic and Social Affairs, in particular the Branch for the Advancement of Women, should continue to serve as the focal point for co-ordination of, consultation on, promotion of and advice on matters relevant to women in the United Nations system and to co-ordinate information on system-wide activities related to the future implementation of the goals and objectives of the Decade and the Forward-looking Strategies. In this context, the United Nations system should explore ways and means of developing further collaboration between its organizations including the regional commissions, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women and the United Nations Development Fund for women, in particular in connection with the holding of United Nations world conferences on women on a regular basis, if necessary, for example every five years. It is recommended that at least one world conference be held during the period between 1985 and the year 2000, taking into account that the General Assembly will take the decision on the holding of the conference in each case within existing financial resources.
341. Existing sectoral inter-agency task forces in the United Nations system should always include issues related to the advancement of women in their agenda.
342. Inter-agency co-ordination should be complemented where possible by networking, particularly in the fields of information, research, training and programme development, in order to facilitate the availability of data and information in these fields and the exchange of experience with national machinery.
343. Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, of governing bodies of the specialized agencies and of other organizations which promote the improvement of the status of women should be implemented. All institutions within the United Nations system that have not yet established special internal arrangements and procedures with respect to women's policies are urged to take the necessary measures to do so.
344. International machineries that promote and support education for peace should co-ordinate their efforts and include the role of women in promoting peace in their curricula. Particular attention should be paid to the Declaration on the Participation of Women in Promoting International Peace and Co-operation adopted by the General Assembly in 1982. The University for Peace should play a leading role in this regard.
4. Research and policy analysis
345. Institutes of women's affairs at the regional level should be strengthened or, where they do not exist, their establishment should be considered for the promotion of regional collaboration in undertaking research and analyses on emerging women's issues in order to facilitate and promote regional and international co-operation and understanding in this field.
346. Measures should be taken by the United Nations system to strengthen the capabilities of the United Nations Secretariat to provide assistance to Governments and other international organizations and bodies concerned with integrating women in policy formulation and in assessing the impact of development policies on women. The Branch for the Advancement of Women should act as the focal point for co-ordinating the exchange of information, providing advice on matters related to the advancement of women and monitoring and evaluating the progress of other bodies in that connection. The United Nations should develop guidelines for this purpose based on comparative analyses of experience world wide.
347. Guidelines should also be developed by the United Nations for action to remove gender-specific discriminatory perceptions, attitudes and behaviour based on models of successful initiatives.
348. The United Nations system should undertake research and prepare guidelines, case studies and practical approaches on integrating women on an equal basis with men into political life. Training programmes for and consultations between women already engaged in political life should be organized.
349. Research should be carried out and a report prepared by the United Nations, in consultation with other organizations and specialized agencies and in co-operation with Governments, on establishing effective institutional arrangements at the national level for the formulation of policies on women, including guidelines and summaries of national case studies.
350. United Nations agencies and, in particular, the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, as part of its regular programme of work, should undertake in-depth research on the positive and negative effects of legislative change, the persistence of de facto discrimination and conflicts between customary and statutory laws. In carrying out this research, full use should be made of the work of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
351. In the context of the Third United Nations Development Decade and any subsequent decade, the implications for women of international decisions especially pertaining to international trade and finance, agriculture and technology transfer should be assessed by the United Nations system in consultation with the appropriate international organizations, bodies and research institutes, including the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women and any others established by the United Nations University. The lack of reliable data prevents the assessment of relative improvements in women's status in the various sectors. It is therefore essential that the Statistical Commission, the Commission on the Status of Women and the International Research and Training Institute for the advancement of Women should co-operate at the institutional level in the collection, analysis, utilization and dissemination of statistical data on the question of women. The data base on women's role in national, regional and international economic activities should be further developed by the United Nations in co-operation with Governments, specialized agencies and the regional commissions of the United Nations system.
352. The United Nations regional commissions, with a view to integrating women's concerns at all levels in each commission's overall programme of work, should undertake further research on the status of women in their regions to the year 2000 by developing the necessary data base and indicators and by drawing upon inputs from the national and local levels, including perspectives on and by women at the grass-roots level. To this end, the regional commissions should include in their annual reports an analysis of chances in the situation of women in their regions.
353. It is also necessary to strengthen the activities of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women which performs an important role in the field of research, training, information and communication, and to request States and appropriate organizations, in particular, the organizations of the United Nations system, to continue to collaborate with the Institute in its work for the improvement of the status of women. The Institute should continue its work in appraising and evaluating what has been done by Governments and the United Nations system in promoting the status of women and it should be given increased voluntary financial support.
354. The United Nations should incorporate within its activities related to the World Disarmament Campaign the preparation of a study on the specific consequences of the army race and modern warfare for women in general, especially aged or pregnant women and young children. Such a study should be given wide publicity in order to mobilize researchers, politicians and non-governmental organizations, as well as women themselves, for the promotion of disarmament.
355. The United Nations system and other intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations should encourage women, women's organizations and all the appropriate governmental bodies from different countries to discuss and study various aspects of promoting peace and other related issues in order to increase knowledge, facilitate understanding and develop friendly relations between countries and peoples. Exchange visits among women from different countries, and meetings and seminars in which women participate fully should be organized at regional and international levels.
5. Participation of women in activities at the international and regional levels and in decision-making
356. The United Nations system should take all necessary measures to achieve an equitable balance between women and men staff members at managerial and professional levels in all substantive areas, as well as in field posts. Regular reporting to the General Assembly, the governing bodies of the specialized agencies, the regional commissions and the Commission on the Status of Women on the establishment and implementation of targets for the equal representation of women in professional posts should be continued.
357. Women and women's organizations from different countries should be encouraged to discuss and study various aspects of Promoting Peace and development issues in order to increase knowledge, facilitate understanding and develop friendly relations between countries and peoples. Exchange visits of women from different countries and meetings with full participation by women should be encouraged.
358. In order to ensure that programmes and activities of concern to women are given the necessary attention and priority, it is essential that women should participate actively in the planning and formulation of policies and programmes and in decision-making and appraisal Processes in the United Nations. To this end, international, regional and national organizations have been called upon during the Decade to advance the status of their female staff and to increase the number of women recruited. In the absence of overall targets and effective mechanisms for their achievement, however, greater efforts are needed to ensure the recruitment, promotion and career development of women. All bodies and organizations of the United Nations system should therefore take all possible measures to achieve the participation of women on equal terms with men at all levels by the year 2000. To achieve this goal, the secretariats of the United Nations and all the organizations and bodies within the system should take special measures, such as the preparation of a comprehensive affirmative action plan including provisions for setting intermediate targets and for establishing and supporting special mechanisms - for example, co-ordinators - to improve the status of women staff. Progress made to implement those measures should be reported to the General Assembly, the economic and Social Council and the Commission on the Status of Women on a regular basis.
359. Women should be assured of the opportunity to participate in international, regional and subregional meetings and seminars, including those organized by the United Nations system, particularly those related to equality, development and peace, including peace education, and those directed to promoting the role of women in development through research activities, seminars and conferences to exchange experience and expertise. Similarly, women Parliamentarians should always be included in delegations to inter-parliamentary meetings organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and regional inter-parliamentary organizations.
360. The participation of women in promoting peace and in the struggle against the obstacles to peace at the international level should be encouraged. Networking of women at high decision-making levels related to peace and disarmament, including women leaders, peace researchers and educators, should also be encouraged in connection with United Nations system activities such as the International Year of Peace (1986). "Women and peace" should be a separate item in the programme for that Year.
361. In order to provide a firm basis for the integration of issues of concern to women in the overall development process, a greater effort is needed to define such issues and to develop useful models for action in socio-cultural, economic and political contexts. Work in this area can be undertaken in the national and regional research institutions, as well as in the United Nations and other international agencies. In this context, attention should also be given to increasing the planning capabilities of women.
362. Special efforts should be made at both the national and regional levels to ensure that women have equal access to all aspects of modern science and technology, particularly in educational systems. The use of science and technology can be a powerful instrument for the advancement of women. Special research to evolve appropriate technology for rural women should be carried out, and existing and new technology should be disseminated as widely as possible. The co-ordination of such activities in the regions should be the responsibility of the regional commissions, in co-operation with other intergovernmental bodies and agencies that deal with the status of women and technology.
363. Governments and non-governmental organizations should organize regular training programmes that are aimed at improving the status of women workers and widening women's access to and improving their performance in managerial position in the sectors of employment or self-employment. In this connection, the United Nations is urged to support programmes on network and exchange of expertise in vocational training being carried out by regional and subregional organizations.
364. Regional and subregional groups have an important role to play in strengthening the roles of women in development. Existing regional and subregional information systems on women should be reinforced. A stronger data and research base on women should be developed in the developing countries and in the regional commissions, in collaboration with the appropriate specialized agencies, and the sharing of information and research data should be encouraged. Information systems at the national level should be strengthened or, where they do not exist, should be established.
365. International, regional, subregional and national organizations should be strengthened through the injection of additional human and financial resources and through the placement of more women at policy- and decision-making levels.
6. Information dissemination
366. International programmes should be designed and resources allocated to support national campaigns to improve public consciousness of the need for equality between women and men and for eliminating discriminatory practices. Special attention should be given to information about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
367. Studies must be carried out by the United Nations system on sex stereotyping in advertising and in the mass media, especially degrading images of women in articles and programmes disseminated world wide. Steps should be taken to promote the elimination or reduction of sex stereotyping in the media.
368. In order to promote peace, social justice and the advancement of women, wide publicity should be given by the United Nations to legal instruments and the United Nations resolutions and reports relating to women and the objectives of the Decade, that is, equality, development and peace. The mass media, including United Nations radio and television, should disseminate information on the role of women in achieving these objectives, particularly in promoting co-operation and understanding among peoples and the maintenance of international peace and security. Cultural mechanisms of communication should also be used to disseminate the importance of the concepts of peace and international understanding for the advancement of women.
369. It is essential that women be trained in the use of audio-visual forms of information dissemination, including visual display units and computers, and participate more actively in developing programmes on the advancement of women and for women at the international, regional, subregional and national levels.
370. The present United Nations weekly radio programme and co-production of films on women should be continued with adequate provision for distributing them in different languages.
371. The Joint United Nations Information Committee should continue to include women's issues in its programmes of social and economic information. Adequate resources should be made available for these activities.
372. Governments and the organizations of the United Nations system, including the regional commissions and the specialized agencies, are urged to give the Forward-looking Strategies the widest publicity possible and to ensure that their content is translated and disseminated in order to make authorities and the public in general, especially women's grass-root organizations, aware of the objectives of this document and of the recommendations contained therein.