Documents and Videos of the October 12th, 1999 Meeting of the
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON INTER-AMERICAN SUMMITS MANAGEMENT
Hall of the Americas, Organization of American States
Presentation by Carmen Lomellín, Executive Secretary
Good morning distinguished ambassadors, representatives from the missions and distinguished guests. On behalf of the honorable Dulce Maria Sauri Riancho, President of the Inter-American Commission of Women, I thank you for this opportunity to present a synopsis of the activities and initiatives undertaken to fulfill the mandates of the Santiago Summit of the Americas.
In April, 1998, The Second Summit of the Americas gave specific mandates to the Organization of American States (OAS) pertaining to its lines of action. Following these initiatives, the twenty-eighth regular session of the OAS adopted mandates for the support and follow-up of these initiatives, and requested that the organs, agencies, and entities of the Inter-American System give priority to the initiatives included in the Santiago Plan of Action. The work done within CIM to fulfill these mandates is described below:
In the area of education:
In fulfillment of the mandates of the Second Summit of the Americas, the Executive Committee of CIM approved the preparation of an education project, with a gender focus. The project is entitled "The Educational Status of Women in the Americas", and contains an analysis of the current educational status of women.
Based on the assessment done and the highlighting of the main problems related to the educational status of women, four fundamental lines of action are proposed:
In order to accomplish this, CIM produced and designed material for a hemispheric campaign of awareness building and sensitization. The mentioned material includes: a book that discusses the educational status of women in the Americas and proposals for lines of action; a representative poster to be used during the campaign; a recording of micro-programs in order to conduct a radio campaign; and a guide with pointers for implementing the project. This material was distributed by the delegates of the CIM and also sent to all the permanent missions to the OAS, specialized organizations, and national offices of the OAS for information and dissemination purposes.
In the Area of the Human Rights of Women:
The CIM continues to be a leader in the human rights field and continues to promote the implementation of the objectives of the Convention of Belem do Para, in order to achieve its ratification by OAS member states. Mexico and Antigua and Barbuda ratified the Convention in November 1998, bringing the number of countries that have ratified it to 29. Since its adoption in the different member states, the number of countries that have enacted laws on domestic violence has substantially increased.
In compliance with Resolution AG/RES. 1456/97 (XXVII-0/97), the CIM submitted to the Twenty-ninth Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly the first biennial report on the follow-up of the "Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women". This report underscores the progress made by Member States on the application of the "Belem do Para" Convention, and the experiences and results they have obtained with the application of the different initiatives and programs to fight violence against women.
In addition, we continued with the distribution of the video "It Aint Love" "No es Amor"-, produced by Olmos Productions Inc. It deals with the subject of violence in relationships between adolescent couples. This project was partially financed by the CIM, with a grant from the United States Government and consists of the production of an educational video and a study guide.
The CIM also collaborated with the IACHR Special Rapporteur in the preparation of a report on the fidelity of the regulation and practices of Member States in the area of womens rights, to the inter-American human rights system. The findings of the research were presented in the "Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the Status of Women in the Americas" at the OAS General Assembly in June 1998, as part of the annual report of the IACHR.
The report ends with the recommendations of the Commission in regards to the elimination of discriminatory institutions that prevent the full exercise of womens rights, an analysis of the consequences of this discrimination, and the development of initiatives to fulfill these recommendations within the regional system. Emphasis is placed on those targeting Member States in order to start as soon as possible to apply the legal remedies for domestic law identified by evaluation of Member States. The purpose is to identify and reform those practices and regulations that discriminate on grounds of gender, so that their effectiveness can be developed and strengthened.
The Commission is also participating in the campaign on violence against women promoted by the United Nations, along with UNIFEM, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and PAHO. Some meetings have already taken place to initiate formalization of the inter-agency collaboration. The objective is both to establish a forum for coordination and information on this issue, and also to build awareness in society of violence against women.
CIM is also participating as a co-sponsor and member of the Inter-American Development Banks Council on the Program for the Support of Women's Leadership and Representation (PROLEAD). We are participating in this effort with our partners in the UN system. Through this program, more than US$4 million will be provided to finance womens leadership projects in the hemisphere. In 1998, the first request for proposal was issued, and more than 300 requests for funding were received. In November 1998, the Council selected 40 proposals, which received financing during the first cycle of activities. The Executive Committee of the CIM approved the allocation of US$30,000 of the 1998 regular budget of the CIM as an initial contribution to the program.
At its most recent regular session held in Guatemala in 1999, the OAS General Assembly approved resolution AG/RES. 1627(XXIX-0/99): "Appointment of women to senior management positions at the OAS", which urges the Secretary General to establish as an objective that, by the year 2005, women should occupy 50% of all positions in all categories of the OAS system, particularly at the P-4 grade-level and above. It also urges him to try to ensure that gender equality is given priority in efforts to introduce a new culture of management at the Organization.
Institutional Strengthening of CIM
CIM has undertaken work in the area of the promotion and institutional strengthening of the organization. This will enable it to better respond to todays challenges, provide it with more visibility within the inter-American system and in the Member States, and will also facilitate development of cooperative intersectoral relationships.
As part of the institutional strengthening of the CIM, we will be convening meetings of women ministers and other senior level individuals dealing with gender policy in the countries. We will also be presenting a Draft Inter-American program on Womens Rights and Gender Equity.
We have also begun a new phase of strengthening relations and collaboration with specialized UN agencies, and other institutions in the Inter-American system. We are especially collaborating in the areas of leadership, violence against women, and health. In addition, the Executive Committee has invited different agencies to participate in regular sessions of the Committee for the purpose of establishing contacts and identifying collaborative possibilities on issues of common interest.
The need to strengthen and create national mechanisms for women is one of the mandates from the Second Summit of the Americas. However, the fact that these entities have been relegated to the bottom of the institutional hierarchy and the failure to allocate resources to them is a weakness that points out the need to give legitimacy to this topic. The following are examples of meetings held to address this:
These are a few of the initiatives that are currently being undertaken. There will be a more comprehensive report presented by Nicaragua, coordinator of womens issues for the Summit.