Back to the Beginning — Beijing, 1995
In September 1995, government delegates and non-governmental (NGO) observers gathered together in Beijing, China for the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women. Delegates met for two weeks to work on a Platform for Action aimed at achieving greater equality and opportunity for women. The Beijing Conference followed three previous World Conferences in Mexico City (International Women's Year, 1975), Copenhagen (1980) and Nairobi (1985).
The Platform for Action (PFA) identifies 12 Critical Areas of Concern considered to represent the main obstacles to women's advancement. The 12 Critical Areas are:
- education and training
- armed conflict
- institutional mechanisms
- human rights
- the girl-child
By the close of the Conference, representatives from 189 countries voted unanimously to adopt the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (PFA) reflecting a new international commitment to the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere. Canada was one of the countries that signed the declaration and PFA. The province of Manitoba was also represented at the meetings.
Alongside the Fourth World Conference, over 30,000 women from around the world including 45 Manitoba women, gathered for the parallel NGO Forum on Women '95 which was open to everyone and anyone working on issues of concern to women. Women hoped to influence the outcome of the Fourth World Conference as well as to monitor the implementation of the Platform for Action in the years following the Conference. UNPAC was born out of the enthusiasm that followed upon the return from Beijing.
For more information about Beijing visit WomenWatch.
Beijing+5 — New York, 2000
Five years after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, women from around the world gathered again, this time in New York for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session, “Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century.” The goal of Bejing+5 was to review and assess progress achieved and to consider future actions for further implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women (adopted in 1985) and the Beijing Platform for Action (adopted in 1995).
The Canadian Government prepared Canada’s Response to the Beijing+5 Questionnaire (PDF format) on its implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Meanwhile the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) prepared a Canadian Alternative Report — a less than enthusiastic review of Government actions promoting women’s equality since the Beijing Conference.
In Manitoba, UNPAC prepared a Beijing+5 Report on the progress of the implementation of the Platform for Action in Manitoba focusing on health, violence, and poverty.
Beijing+10 — New York, 2005
Five years later Governments and NGO observers gathered again at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, this time for Beijing+10, the 10 year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Once again, Canada prepared Canada’s Response to the Beijing+10 Questionnaire (PDF format) and again, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) prepared Alternative Reports — this time creating three separate reports:
- Canada’s Commitment to Equality: A Gender Analysis of Federal Budgets 1995-2004
- A Decade of Going Backwards: Canada in the Post-Beijing Era
Several UNPAC members attended the European/North American Regional Preparatory Meetings for Beijing+10 in Geneva as well as the Beijing+10 Official Meetings in New York. Read Muriel's Report and Jennifer's Report.
Backwards to Beijing+10 is our article published in Canadian Dimension magazine.