PERMANENT COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
REPORT OF THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION OF WOMEN (CIM) TO THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
No.03-076/97 March 24, 1997
On instructions from the President of the Inter-American Commission of Women, Honorable Lorraine Williams, I have the honor to reply to your note dated February 27, 1997, in which you request a report on progress made by the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) and on initiatives taken to achieve the objectives of the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas. In this connection, I should like to inform you that, pursuant to your instructions, the report in question was transmitted this very day to the Secretariat of the OAS Permanent Council.
Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.
PROGRESS REPORT SUBMITTED BY THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION OF WOMEN (CIM) ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
The Plan of Action of the CIM, the commitments of the Summit of the Americas 1994, and the Beijing Platform of Action, constitute pillars of the Commission's work and are closely interrelated. Having been adopted by the governments of the Americas, they provide a clear picture of the action to be taken in the future, both within multilateral organizations and at the national level.
Item 18 of the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas refers specifically to the need to strengthen the role of women in society and establishes that, if this objective is to be attained, it is necessary inter alia to promote the participation of women in the decision-making process in all spheres of political, social, and economic life; to undertake appropriate measures to address and reduce violence against women; to improve women's ability to earn income beyond traditional occupations; and to further strengthen the Inter-American Commission of Women. In order to achieve these objectives, the CIM has taken the following action:
ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT IN 1996
Several issues emerged from the Summit of the Americas which were aimed at strengthening the role of women in society and which coincided with many of the topics identified in the Strategic Plan of Action of the CIM.
I. Preservation and Strengthening of the Community of Democracies of the Americas
1. The CIM, as a partner in the Women's Leadership and Representation Program, together with the IDB, UNIFEM, UNICEF, and UNDP, is continuing to work on the development of a fund to finance projects in the area of women's leadership.
2. The CIM is cooperating with the Special Rapporteur for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in a project to evaluate compliance by OAS member states with inter-American human rights standards as they relate to the social status of women. The information thus obtained will be helpful in addressing questions of equality and justice, which are necessary to improve access to the basic resources required for the full enjoyment of women's basic rights.
3. III Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Governmental Agencies for Women. The CIM is working in close cooperation with women's bureaus, which are the bodies responsible for helping to draft a national policy on the advancement of women and which contribute to the their consolidation. The CIM provided support to the Government of the Dominican Republic, through the General Office for the Promotion of Women to enable some CARICOM countries to attend the meeting in order to see whether they might be interested in setting up a similar network for the CARICOM countries. The representatives of The Bahamas, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines attended the meeting as observers.
The meeting revised the network's legal instruments and was able to approve its statute, which was necessary for it to be given legal status.
III. The Eradication of Poverty and Discrimination in the Hemisphere
1. It is clear from an analysis of the complex economies of our countries that increased mobility in the labor market as well as increased movements of capital are having an impact implicitly and explicitly. To analyze the repercussions for health and the quality of life from a gender perspective, the CIM got together with PAHO to study the effects of global economic integration. Information obtained from this study will help to evaluate the impact of global economic integration and to measure more carefully the effects of those repercussions and design strategies to deal with their consequences. Once the project has been completed, its results will be presented at a joint seminar.
2. The Permanent Secretariat of the CIM has prepared a regional proposal for consideration by the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), which consists of two projects: (1) Parental educationa pilot project that can be executed in other regions; and (2) A video on violence. "It isn't love" is a regional project targeted at young adults that considers the subject of violence in personal relations. The video is accompanied a study guide for use by teachers, community leaders, or any other facilitator who wishes to encourage change in the dialogue and behavior of this age group. If it is approved, help will be provided to finance translation of the study guide and film, both of which will bear the CIM and OAS logos.
3. As a partner in the World Summit on Women, held in Miami, Florida, in January 1997, the CIM endeavored to obtain resources to develop projects in the area of microenterprise for women. Development is not the only key to eradicating poverty but it has a positive influence on domestic violence, education, health, and ultimately on having women in the right position to allow them access to jobs at the decision-making level.
4. Four regional meetings were held on poverty, the participation of women in power structures and decision-making, education, and violence and human rights.
a. Andean Subregion Meeting - Quito, Ecuador, June 12 to 14, 1996
This meeting was funded by the CIM, the Government of Ecuador, UNFPA, UNIFEM, UNICEF, and CECIM and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Social Welfare, DINAMU and CECIM, UNFPA, UNICEF y UNIFEM. There was a support committee as well as an organizing committee that was chaired by the First Lady of Ecuador, Ms. Josefina de Durán Ballén.
The subject of the meeting was "The Countries of the Andean Group within the context of the Plan of Action of CIM, the Beijing Platform of Action, and National Commitments." It was attended by governmental and NGO representatives, ethnic groups from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, special guests from international organizations, and the principal and alternate delegates from the participating countries. The meeting had a strong impact on the area. It significantly increased the CIM's visibility in Ecuador and it enabled the representatives of various countries of the region to exchange views and experience on future strategies. Governmental and nongovernmental sectors were able to work together in a positive way. While 200 participants had been expected, close to 800 attended.
The meeting adopted the Declaration of the First Meeting of Consultation of Women of the Andean Countries.
b. Meeting of the Subregion of Central America, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic -Panama City, Panama, June 8-10, 1996
This meeting was financed in equal parts by the CIM and PARLACEN and, on the proposal of the Committee on Women, Children, and the Family of PARLACEN, its title was "II Subregional Seminar: Women's Access to Decision-Making."
The purpose of the meeting was to draw up a five-year work plan to strengthen and promote political participation by women in the region. A further purpose was to enhance the quality and level of development for women within the new approach to integration of the region based on equity, peace, and democracy. It was very positive in that a significant percentage of government politicians and officials attended and learned a great deal about the gender perspective and its incorporation into politics and in programs on the process to achieve real equality.
The meeting was attended by the CIM principal delegates for the subregion, deputies of the Central American Parliament, deputies of the Central American legislative assemblies, officials, civil servants, and journalists.
c. Meeting of the Southern Cone Subregion - Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 3 to 5, 1996
The subregional meeting for the Southern Cone was held in Buenos Aires from July 3 to 5 and was financed by the CIM and the Government of Argentina. Argentina's Minister of Foreign Affairs officially opened the meeting. The topics discussed were poverty, education, the environment, political participation (quotas), international cooperation, and regional integration. Among those attending were the CIM principal delegates of the countries of the subregion, and Argentine deputies and senators. Also attending were high-level government officials, who made presentations on items on the agenda. The meeting drafted a declaration that is contained in document CIM/doc.26/96 add. 1.
d. Meeting of the Caribbean Subregion - Castries, Saint Lucia, July 31 through August 2, 1996
The subregional Caribbean meeting was held in Saint Lucia. The meeting, which was chaired by the Principal Delegate of Saint Lucia to the CIM, the Honorable Lorraine Williams, was attended by delegations from all of the Caribbean countries. The purpose of the meeting was to identify priority areas of concern and chart a course of action to solve these problems. The main problems discussed were: women in positions of power and the growing problem of violence threatening the region, and opportunities for microbusinesses to help create economic power for women.
The Executive Secretary of the CIM further had an opportunity to receive information from the delegations concerning their frustrations with the process and their sense of abandonment within the system. Views were exchanged with regard to possible solutions to the problems and the Executive Secretary promised to continue the dialogue and the commitment to come up with resources to meet the costs of projects in the region. Ambassador Joseph Edsel Edmunds, Permanent Representative of Saint Lucia to the OAS, who was present at the meeting, once again expressed his own hope and his desire to lend support.
IV. Guarantees with regard to Sustainable Development and Conservation of Our Environment for Future Generations
The issue of sustainable development is one that is fraught with repercussions for women in the region. The CIM participated in preparing a document which studies the various aspects of this subject from the gender perspective. Furthermore, the CIM called for a study on development and the role of women in the area of sustainable development.
PROJECTED ACTIVITIES FOR 1997
In order to continue supporting the proposals emanating from the Summit of the Americas, the CIM proposed to follow up on:
1. Participating in the Conference of Wives of Heads of State and Governments in the Americas to be held in Panama in an effort to give impetus to a project on rural women which will be carried out in cooperation with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the CIM, and the Pro Tempore Secretariat of the Conference.
2. Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Governmental Agencies for Women.
The CIM is interested in following up on and supporting these meetings because one of the purposes of the Latin American Network is to strengthen ties between national women's organizations and to coordinate regional activities to promote policies, programs, and projects aimed at achieving equality between the sexes. In this way, the CIM will promote the dual objective of putting into practice the commitments emanating from the Summit of the Americas and the CIM's Strategic Plan of Action.
3. Regional meetings of consultation to institute the CIM's Strategic Plan of Action and the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas.
In light of its experience referred to above (3.4), the CIM proposes to repeat this experience in the course of this year. The topics of these meetings will be determined by each region.
4. In order to follow up on and continue carrying out the mandates emanating from the Summit of the Americas, especially the mandate to strengthen the CIM and extend support to the Principal Delegates in member states, the CIM proposes to participate in the First Hemispheric Follow-up Meeting to be held by the Government of Nicaragua, in its capacity as Coordinator of topic 18 of the Summit of the Americas: "Strengthening of the Role of Women in Society."
5. Execution of projects on microbusinesses. It has been established that microbusinesses account for at least 40% and up to 55% of total nonagricultural employment in Latin America and the Caribbean and that they help provide jobs for 33 - 80% of the work force (formal and informal). The CIM is therefore preparing a project on microbusinesses to be carried out in a Caribbean country. The aim is that that project could be replicated in as many countries as possible.
6. Seed Fund of the CIM. Resources allocated to this fund will be earmarked for projects aimed at strengthening the role of women, in keeping with the mandates and priority areas, and that have a multiplier effect.
7. Inter-American Meeting of Consultation of the CIM - Women's participation in power and decision-making structures. One of the commitments assumed by the governments in topic 18 of the Plan of Action of the Summit of the Americas concerns the promotion of women's participation in decision-making processes, which is the topic of the next Inter-American Meeting of Consultation of the CIM, to be held in October of 1997.