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"Think Globally, Act Locally" {fwd}

Subject: "Think Globally, Act Locally" {fwd} From WCW

The following might be of your interests.
>From:	PO4::"beijing-conf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"  6-SEP-1995 19:25:53.73
To:	beijing-conf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

## author     : unic@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
## date       : 04.09.95
This information is provided by the United Nations
Information Centre in Sydney for Australia, New Zealand and
the South Pacific.
For further information, please call 283 1144.
             Boutros Boutros-Ghali
           Beijing, 4 September 1995
     Madam President, Mrs. Mongella, Excellencies, Ladies
     and Gentlemen,
     My first words are words of welcome: welcome to all of
     you. I wish you every success in your deliberations and
     in your work.
     Secondly, words of thanks: on behalf of the
     international community, and of all of us present
     today, I thank the Chinese Government and people for
     their generous and gracious hospitality.
     It is both fitting, and significant, that China is host
     to this historic global Conference.
     China is, of course, a permanent member of the Security
     Council.  China takes part, therefore, in the work of
     the United Nations for the maintenance of international
     peace and security. By welcoming us all here this week,
     China is making clear its intention to play its full
     part in the international community across the entire
     range of its most important work. I see this
     Conference, therefore, as cementing a new era in the
     relationship between China and the United Nations.
     This is an important milestone on the road to the
     future. China has the resources and manpower to
     contribute significantly to global progress.  China has
     the ability to take an active and enthusiastic part in
     the Organization's work toward sustainable development,
     particularly in Africa.
     Without the full and active support and participation
     of China, the United Nations cannot act as a truly
     universal forum. China's decision to be the host for
     this major event in modern life is a symbol of its
     future place in the world, and that of all the nations
     of Asia within the international community.
     Madame President, I ask to convey to all the Chinese
     people our message of thanks and appreciation.
     Thanks are also due to the delegations of Member
     States. This Conference is the product of many years of
     hard preparatory work. I know what a great effort you
     have undertaken to make this Conference a success.
     And thanks are due to the organizers of this
     Conference.  In particular, we thank the
     Secretary-General of the Fourth World Conference on
     Women, Gertrude Mongella, and her team.
* * * * * *
     This global conference is unique.  It brings a new
     universality, and therefore a new legitimacy, to the
     deliberations of the international community.  Gathered
     here is a deep and rich representation of governments,
     of women's groups, of the organizations of civil
     There is evident here, in all its diversity and
     vibrancy, the new partnership in international life
     which has been forged between governmental and
     non-governmental organizations.  We see here the new
     legitimacy of the organizations of civil society as
     actors on the international scene.
     The effectiveness of our work -- both here, and in the
     future -- will depend to a considerable extent on our
     willingness to be open and receptive to ideas and
     suggestions coming from those organizations.
     This is an historic gathering: not only because of its
     membership and participation, but also because of the
     subject of our discussions.
     Securing the equality of women and men, in law and in
     fact, is the great political project of the twentieth
     century.  A crucial role in the realization of that
     project has been entrusted to the United Nations.  We
     are meeting to take that great enterprise forward into
     the twenty-first century and beyond: to consolidate the
     legal advances, to build on the political
     understandings, and to commit ourselves to action.
* * * * * *
     As the millennium approaches, we look back over a
     century of unprecedented social and political change on
     our planet.  No country, no people, has been untouched
     by its great upheavals.  Some have already concluded
     that the twentieth century was a dark age in the
     history of humanity.  No-one can deny that its wars,
     its struggles, were characterized by great violence and
     enormous human suffering.  But out of that suffering
     came also a new spirit: a spirit of hope, and a resolve
     that there should be change.
     The founding of the United Nations, fifty years ago,
     was one achievement of that new spirit.  Then, the
     world looked back: to seek the lessons to be learned,
     and the mistakes to be avoided, after the cataclysm of
     world war.  And the world looked forward -- not simply
     to re-construct a shattered international community,
     but to build a new and better one.
     The recognition of the dignity and worth of women, and
     of the essential contribution of women, on an equal
     basis with men, to life in all its aspects, was to be
     an essential element of that better world.
     Thus States made, in the United Nations Charter, a
     clear commitment to the rights of women:
     " ... to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in
     the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal
     rights of men and women ... " This was more than a
     statement of high ideals about the world of the future.
     It was a commitment to ensure that men and women have
     and enjoy the same rights.  And -- unlike any other
     commitment made in the Charter -- this was a commitment
     which could be measured.
     And it pointed the way forward in other ways, too.
     That commitment was inserted in the Charter because
     women's non-governmental organizations worked with
     government representatives to put it there.
     The then First Lady -- Eleanor Roosevelt -- of the
     United States was instrumental in that process.
     Since its very founding, the United Nations has
     actively encouraged Member States to honour their
     In the early years, from 1945 to 1962, the United
     Nations concentrated on securing equality for women
     under the law.  In 1946, the General Assembly
     established the Commission on Human Rights and the
     Commission on the Status of Women.  The Universal
     Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948.  In
     these ways, the United Nations sought to build on the
     legal basis for the equality of women set forth in the
     In a second phase, from 1963 to 1975, the international
     community began to recognize the importance of
     development in achieving the advancement of women.  The
     focus of the Organization's work included the economic
     and social realities of women's daily lives.  In 1967,
     the Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination
     Against Women was adopted.
     In 1975 the first global conference on the status of
     women was convened in Mexico City. It proclaimed 1975
     as International Women's Year.   The Conference led to
     the elucidation of a three-part theme -- equality,
     development and peace.  This became the basis of the
     Organization's work in the upcoming years, and of our
     work today.
     Between 1976 and 1985, the United Nations observed the
     Decade for Women.  The Decade was the third phase of
     United Nations work for women.  This period brought the
     crucial new recognition of women as active agents of,
     and contributors to, the development process.
     1979 was a landmark year.  The United Nations General
     Assembly adopted, that year, the Convention on the
     Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
     Women.  It was the first international legal instrument
     to define discrimination against women.  It was, in
     other words, an international bill of human rights for
     women.  But it also stressed the importance of action,
     including action in the fields of employment and
     education, to ensure women's progress in fact as well
     as in law.
     The Decade for Women's major conferences -- Copenhagen
     in 1980, Nairobi in 1985 -- offered a forum in which
     women's organizations had a voice in shaping the work
     of the United Nations.  The Decade also brought
     agreement on the need for practical measures to improve
     women's lives.
     The adoption of the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies
     for the Advancement of Women to the Year 2000 was
     another milestone in the advancement of women.  They
     included guidelines for national measures to promote
     women's participation in efforts to promote peace, and
     education for peace.  They singled out for special
     attention the need for measures to help women in
     special situations of distress.
     Over the past decade, we have seen a fourth phase of
     United Nations activity for women.  A continuum of
     global conferences has worked to define the new global
     agenda.  These conferences have made it clear that no
     progress is possible without the full and equal
     participation of women and men:  in promoting peace, in
     safeguarding the environment, in securing sustainable
     development, in human rights, in population, in health,
     in education, in government, in the home, and in civil
     The 1990 World Summit for Children established goals
     for health, education and nutrition for women and
     The role of women in safeguarding the environment, and
     in promoting sustainable development, was recognized at
     the United Nations Conference on the Environment and
     Sustainable Development, held at Rio de Janeiro.  Women
     were seen as having a central role in implementing
     Agenda 21.
     The Vienna World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed
     the universality of human rights. It was understood
     that women should exercise the same rights as men on
     the basis of equality.
     The Cairo International Conference on Population and
     Development recognized the central role of women in
     population and development.  Its consensus language
     reflected a concept of reproductive rights that is
     firmly based on human rights instruments. It also set
     forth the linkage between women's empowerment and
     The World Summit for Social Development, meeting at
     Copenhagen in 1995, adopted a Declaration and Programme
     of Action. One of its central principles was the full
     integration and participation of women in spurring
     social development and eradicating poverty.
* * * * * *
     Today, we celebrate fifty years of unceasing effort,
     spearheaded by the United Nations, to advance the cause
     of women.
     One of the themes of our conference is equality.
     Equality before the law is being achieved in many
     countries.  But equality in fact remains an elusive
     goal in all countries.  Equality of dignity is far from
     being achieved, with discrimination on the basis of
     gender still widespread.  Real and concrete steps are
     still required -- to ensure equality of opportunity in
     education, and equality of access to health systems, to
     jobs, and to political power.
     Women work longer hours, for less pay and in lower
     status jobs, than men in almost every country.  Seventy
     per cent of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty in
     the world are women. Women and their dependent children
     form the majority of the 23 million refugees and 26
     million internally displaced persons in the world.
     When the Charter was signed, no State had elected a
     woman as head of state or government.  Since then, a
     total of twenty-four women have been elected to head
     states or governments.  But there is far to go before
     we have equality between women and men in senior
     government posts.
     In 1994, there were no women ministers in twenty-five
     States. Overall, only 5.7 per cent of the world's
     cabinet ministers were women.  In no country were women
     in the majority as elected members of parliament.
     There were exceptions: in Sweden there was parity
     between men and women in ministerial posts.  The
     Caribbean is the only region where more than 20 per
     cent of senior government officials are women.
     In the United Nations itself, progress is being made.
     As Secretary-General, I have appointed women to head
     several UN programmes, bringing the total number of
     women executive heads to five.
     The General Assembly took an historic step recently
     when it elected the first woman judge to the
     International Court of Justice.
     I have given clear instructions that the goals of the
     Charter for gender equality in the United Nations
     itself should be strictly followed.  I have approved
     action plans within the Organization to foster a
     gender-sensitive working environment and to ensure that
     the Organization addresses the gender aspects in all of
     its work.
     The role of women in peace is another theme of this
     conference.  In United Nations peace missions, women
     remain a largely untapped resource.  Missions should be
     designed to take account of the extraordinary potential
     of women in crisis situations.
     Violence against women seems to be increasing.  It
     should receive the unanimous and firm condemnation of
     the entire international community.
     National studies in ten countries estimate that between
     seventeen per cent and thirty-eight per cent of women
     have been physically assaulted by a partner.  An
     estimated 100 million girls suffer genital mutilation.
     More women are today suffering directly from the
     effects of war and conflict than ever before in
     history.  There is a deplorable trend towards the
     organized humiliation of women, including the crime of
     mass rape.
     We will press for international legal action against
     those who perpetrate organized violence against women
     in time of conflict.
              * * * * *
     And another theme of this conference is development.
     The international community has recognized the great
     potential of women as agents of consensus and peaceful
     change.  The challenge is to harness the energy, ideas
     and skills of women, not only in the re-building of
     formerly war-torn societies, but also in promoting
     conditions of economic and social development
     The burden of rural women in developing countries is
     well-known.  The United Nations, in Geneva in 1992
     convened the first international conference on rural
     women and development.  We should be able to say of our
     development efforts, that not only is development
     necessary for rural women, but what is good for rural
     women is good for development.
     This perception has grown and become widely understood.
     Women -- their lives, their roles, their aspirations --
     are the key to development in every dimension.
     Equality, peace and development must reach every woman
     on earth.  When the rights and hopes of women in all
     these fields are advanced, so will all human society
     come to benefit.
* * * * * *
     This Conference is a milestone in the history of United
     Nations work for women.  It is the culmination of a
     chain of global conferences.  It embraces the issues
     covered by all of them.
     This Conference is a call to action.  The Platform is
     comprehensive, and challenging.  It takes an integrated
     approach to a wide range of issues.  It cuts across all
     of the concerns -- economic, social, cultural, and
     political -- of the United Nations system.
     As we go forward, the partnership between government
     and civil society will be crucial.  But the Platform
     will not become reality unless that partnership now
     extends into the implementation stage.
     Neither government decrees nor the isolated acts of
     small groups of citizens will be enough to make the
     Platform work.  Both must work hand in hand.  The
     partnership must be mobilized at all levels: the
     family, the local community, and the State.
     Government can garner resources.  Civil society can
     reach down to engage all members of society.  The
     movement's theme -- "think globally, act locally" -- is
     more relevant than ever.
     There is a growing awareness that attitudes as well as
     behaviour -- both of individuals and of institutions --
     must change to take account of the real rights and real
     needs of women.
     Let us not forget ; the progress we make is measurable
     and it will be measured.  Future generations will hold
     us accountable. They will look for concrete signs that
     Beijing, in 1995, was followed by real action.
     Let us not disappoint them.  Let us not disappoint
     ourselves. Together we must follow our words with our
     We must take up the cause of the world's women.  Thank