Weekly News Issue 21/52
20 May 2002
ESCWA Attends Regional Organizations Meeting in New York
The Department of Political Affairs organised a Working-Level Meeting with Regional Organizations from 30 April to 2 May as a follow-up to the Fourth High-Level Meeting between the United Nations and Regional Organizations in February 200. The meeting brought together the United Nations system and organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and the League of Arab States (LAS), to discuss co-operation in conflict prevention and peace-building. Topics included the development of a “Framework for Cooperation in Peace-building” and of the “Thirteen Modalities for Cooperation in Conflict Prevention”. Mr. Youssef Chaitani represented ESCWA.
ESCWA participates in Conference on Development and Health Care
Mr. Mohsen Helal, Regional Advisor, and Ms. Bayan Tabbara, Social Affairs Officer, participated in the Seventh International Conference of the Islamic Organization for Medical Science (IOMS) on the “The impact of globalization on development and health care services in Islamic countries” in Kuwait City from 23 to 27 March.
Participants from the World Health Organization, prominent Islamic academics and religious figures, Arab politicians and experts discussed various issues related to the development of health care, drug manufacturing, health technologies and generic drugs under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and related agreements. They also discussed the ethical, human rights and equity issues related to globalisation.
ESCWA’s contributed two presentations, the first on WTO agreements related to health services and the second on implications of globalisation on the labour markets in the ESCWA region.
Networking for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
In January 2002, the Economic Development Issues and Policies Division at ESCWA started a project to enhance FDI flows into the region. The main objectives of the “Networking of Expertise on Foreign Direct Investment in the ESCWA Region” project are to enhance the capacities of government agencies to compile and analyse data; to strengthen networking among national authorities; and to assist member States in formulating policies and adopting measures that might promote FDI.
Needs assessment reports, based on fact-finding missions, for Bahrain, Jordan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates were produced. Fact-finding missions to the other member States are scheduled for the near future.
ESCWA Attends 21st Century Literacy Summit
Ms. Bayan Tabbara, Social Affairs Officer, attended a Conference organised by the AOL Time Warner Foundation and the Bertelsmann Foundation in Berlin from 7 to 8 March. The Conference focused on the “next-generation education system”, which will prepare future generations for the new technology-based learning experience and the transfer of 21st century skills in the era of globalisation. Participants at the Conference included prominent world leaders, politicians, educators and members of the global business community, including the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Gerhard Schröder; the President of the Government of Spain, José Maria Aznar López; the Chairman of AOL, Steve Case; and former United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.
The participants exchanged ideas on required skills and education for the globalisation age and highlighted the important role that governments and the private sector have in providing the requirements necessary to face the challenges of globalisation.
Women and Development series (n° 29): Gender, Citizenship and the role of NGOs in conflict-stricken ESCWA countries: Case-study on Yemen E/ESCWA/SD-WOM/2001/3
In 1999, the Women and Development Unit at ESCWA started publishing a series of country case studies focusing on issues linking gender and citizenship and the role of non-governmental Organizations (NGOs).
The case-study covering Yemen highlights the role of NGOs before and after the civil armed conflict of 1994, in introducing the concept and practice of citizenship with a gender-sensitive orientation. The study is based on a field survey covering a selected sample of 61 NGOs that were established between 1990 and 2000 and that are interested in citizenship rights and gender issues. The study aims at analysing the role of Yemeni NGOs in advocating a gender-sensitive approach to citizenship and in achieving equality between citizens irrespective of gender, origin or descent. The selected NGOs are from both the former Yemen Arab Republic and the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.
The findings of the survey show that the 1994 conflict has affected democracy in Yemen, particularly in the domain of political participation. Moreover, several obvious gaps are notable in the laws covering women’s rights. According to their answers, NGOs are aware that the infringements on equality of citizenship are not only related to the gaps in the legal framework, but also to the rigid social structure, which defines the individual according to gender and the social group to which s/he belongs.
The study concludes with recommendations addressed to the government and the civil society. Among these, the Yemeni Government should reinforce and implement the existing laws in favour of women. The Government should issue new laws to ensure that human rights as a whole and those of women specifically, are fully respected and protected. NGOs should be encouraged to develop their own programmes to complement government efforts. They need to press for reforms in legislation that would allow them to follow up legally on issues of public concern for which they advocate and to push the government to issue laws granting women their full rights. Furthermore, NGOs should widen the scope of their activities to include rural areas where there are more infringements of citizenship rights than in the cities. Finally, Yemeni NGOs should establish an information network between them in order to identify the social groups particularly in need.
No meetings are scheduled for this week.
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22 May International Day for Biological Diversity
Management of Forest Diversity
22 May notes the day the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted in 1992. Now, at its tenth anniversary, the Secretary-General calls for the incorporation of biological diversity in the elaboration of trade and economic policies.
25-31 May Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of
In 1999, the General Assembly requested the Special Committee on Decolonisation to annually observe this Week of Solidarity. To date, sixteen non-self governing territories remain. In his message, the Secretary-General calls on their administrative Powers to engage in dialogue and end colonialism.
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