62nd Session of the UN General Assembly on Advancement of Women
Thursday, November 1, 2007 4:07 PM

On October 15 2007, the Third Committee began discussions under items 63a ‘Advancement of Women’ and 63b ‘Implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly’.

The discussions kicked off with statements from the Director of the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)1, the Ad-Interim Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)2, and the Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI).3 Some of the themes emphasized in these statements, as well as among those presented by the Member States and United Nations (UN) affiliated agencies, included:

  • Specific actions undertaken by governments at the national and regional levels to promote the advancement and the prioritization of women’s issues with respect to the importance of achieving Millennium Goal 3 (MDG 3); 4
  • The status of coordination between UN entities as it relates to the elimination of violence against women at both the international and national levels; 5
  • The importance of the plight of women in rural areas as well as the integral relationship between poverty and violence against women. 6

These themes further underscored core statements outlined in the Secretary General’s report entitled Ending Violence against Women: From words to action, published in 2006.7

Several countries8 also referred to the gender equality architecture reform (GEAR) 9 in their statements, including highlighting the need for broader intergovernmental negotiations on the issue.

A few States debated the impact of political actions believed to violate the rights of women in their respective countries. These included statements and rights of responses between:

  • Israel and the Palestinian Territories with regards to the Israeli occupation and its impact on women’s human rights in the region;
  • Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with regards to the alleged Japanese abductions of
  • North Korean female citizens for use as ‘comfort women’ during the second world war; 
  • The United States of America (USA) and Sudan with regards to the USA’s recent efforts to put forth a draft resolution banning the use of rape as a tool of war, as well as its ‘naming and shaming’ of ongoing crimes against humanity in Darfur.
  1. www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/documents/ga62/2007%20Third%20Committee%20CH.pdf.
  2. www.unifem.org/news_events/story_detail.php?StoryID=636.
  3. www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/statements/2007/RM%20GA%20Third%20Cttee.15oct07.pdf.
  4. Statements made by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kingdom of Tonga, India, Japan, Egypt, Republic of Guyana (on behalf of the Caribbean Community. Millennium Goal 3 (MDG 3) is to “Promote gender equality and empower women”. Information on MDG 3 is available at www.un.org/millenniumgoals.
  5. Statements made by Jamaica, United Republic of Tanzania (on behalf of the Southern Africa Development Community), Republic of Guyana (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Rio Group), Israel, Indonesia, Egypt, India, Japan, and Iceland.
  6. Statements made by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), South Africa, Bangladesh, Columbia, Republic of Namibia, Ghana, United Republic of Tanzania, Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Rio Group), Indonesia, Pakistan, the Republic of Kenya, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, and Thailand.
  7. Ending Violence against Women: From words to action; Study of the Secretary General, 2006. www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/vaw/index.htm.
  8. Statements made by the Russian Federation, Philippines, Mexico, Iceland, Norway.
  9. In its final report in November 2006, the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Systemwide Coherence examined how the UN could achieve better coherence through changing its structures and systems, and in particular recommended the strengthening of the UN architecture for women’s equality. In April this year, the Secretary General presented his report on these recommendations (A/61/836) to the General Assembly. In the report he expresses support of the Panel's recommendation to consolidate and strengthen the current structures into one UN women’s agency. More information regarding advocacy on and the status of GEAR is available at http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu/globalcenter/policy/unadvocacy/gea.html.

Published in: New York Update, International Service for Human Rights, 15-26 October 2007.