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The Status of the Document: The negotiations during the most recent informals are going extremely slowly and there is contention even over things that were agreed in Beijing. Therefore not much has been agreed to. It is not clear what progress can be made by the time of the UN General Assembly Special Session (which is only a week away). The process is now jeopardizing the consensus reached at Beijing five years ago.

What is happening: The EU and JUSCANNZ have their positions ready but need to be encouraged to defend Beijing language and women$BCT(J human rights more assertively. The G77 has agreed on many parts of the document, but is no longer speaking as a bloc. G77 countries have begun to take national positions on the paragraphs they had not reached agreement on by May 22nd. Many of the progressive Latin American and Caribbean countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador Venezuela, El Salvador and Guatemala) are now speaking together and have identified themselves as SLAC (Some like minded Latin American and Caribbean countries). They and a few other governments are working arduously to produce a strong document but they are being opposed by a very vocal minority who want to weaken the Platform. Part of the problem is that some countries are represented by junior delegates or NY based staff who are less knowledgeable about the Platform for Action and gender issues. Many G77countries are not very active and need to be encouraged to participate more. Other countries are taking more conservative positions and are working to undermine the >progress that women made in Beijing.

What you can do: *Immediately contact your government at home and/or in New York and let them know that women are expecting a strong document at the end of this process and that women are aware of what their governments are doing or not doing.

*The Progressive Latin American countries need to be supported at home as they are under attack from the Vatican which has generated some press against their actions in NY.

*Where appropriate, encourage governments to send experienced people (including NGOs) who are familiar with the PFA and gender issues to negotiate the document. More experienced negotiators are desperately need, so that there problems aren$BCU(J created when well-meaning representatives "put their foot in it" because they don't understand the context. A number of efforts are being made to provide stronger technical assistance and assistance with developing potential language for consensus. However, there remains inadequate support on language regarding the environment, decision-making, institutional machineries, etc.

*Regarding the recommendations, we need more progressive voices in the Contact Group and the two Working Groups, so that the Chairs can identify the consensus. Right now, with our ranks a little thin, the conservatives take more airtime than their numbers warrant. The SADC countries have not been visible, other than South Africa, and their voices are missed. Capitals need to be giving more progressive and direct instructions, including a forceful statement that the Platform cannot be reopened.

*Finally, it is important that governments and delegations to express their concern about the pace (and tactics of the right) to the Bureau, to the Chairs, to the DAW, and to the higher echelons of the UN (Louise Frechette, Dep. SG, is receptive)! They have to know that governments are watching, and feel it is not acceptable to come out of UNGASS without a set of concrete commitments.

* Please let us know what you learn when you speak with your governments about the crisis brought on by this review process.

Another similar message from WEDO:

IMPORTANT ALERT! Dear colleagues, This is an urgent update on the Beijing +5 Informal consultations this week (May 24 - 26th). It is crucial to do work at the national level. Extra effort is needed during this interim time to ensure real progress at the Intersessional next week and the Special Session the week after.

As we informed you last week, the negotiations continue as a snail's pace. The number of reviewed paragraphs as of the text dated May 24th continues to be in the 30's (out of the 200+ paragraphs of the streamlined document). In particular, the G-77 appears to be in disarray. They have broken ranks and countries are speaking independently, with a cluster of Latin American countries, being referred to as SLAC (Some Latin American Countries) speaking as a group of like-minded governments. The configuration and spokesperson of SLAC changes depending on the section of the document being negotiated. Cuba has been quite vocal but mains on its own. Argentina has been quiet for the most part. A small minority of conservative governments from the G-77 continue to be a hindrance to progress. The concern is that there is regression on language, with the threat that at this rate, a document weaker than the PfA will be the final output. What is needed: *

high-level delegates in New York by May 30th to negotiate language and move our positions *

More high-level persons are needed to negotiate language because the usual suspects are dragging their feet and wasting precious time talking about "process" rather than "substance. *

ask capitals to prioritize areas of concerns *

have them come informed about the issues to be able to hit the ground running *

calls to your government contacts *

to express concern about regression in language and how process is not moving At this point, WEDO, in conjunction with other New York based women's NGOs (The Global Center and IWHC) wanted to sound the alert, and ask women to contact their governments on the aforementioned points. We will be disseminating a more detailed analysis to our networks in the next couple of days. For those of you who will be in New York early next week, keep in touch with us to find out about an upcoming meeting to strategize around these concerns. Rosa G. Lizarde Coordinator of Global Networking Women's Environment & Development Organization 355 Lexington Avenue, 3rd floor New York, New York 10017 phone: 212/973-0325; fax: 212/973-0335 after hours ext. 222 e-mail: mailto:rosa@wedo.org WEDO is an international advocacy network actively working to transform society to achieve a healthy and peaceful planet with social, political,economic and environmental justice for all through the empowerment of women, in all their diversity, and their equal participation with men in decision-making from grassroots to global arenas.

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