NGO GSWG at the Commission on the Status of Women....

Onsite report: 14 March 2003

by Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Isis International-Manila

Media, and information and communication technologies discussions at the CSW

New York ­ 14 March 2003 ­ Following a week of intense debates and negotiations, the 47th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women adapted today the Agreed Conclusions on the theme “participation and access of women to the media, and information and communication technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women.”

The last few points that the delegates deliberated on include:

- the sexual exploitation of women through the traditional media and through new technologies;
- the inclusion of gender perspectives and gender-specific measurable targets in all programmes and projects on ICT for development;
- the removal of ICT-related infrastructural barriers that disproportionately affect women and girls;
- the need to support research in all aspects of the impact of the media and ICT on women and girls;
- the provision of adequate and appropriate resources for innovative, affordable, accessible, and sustainable ICDT programmes, projects, and
products that support gender equality and gender mainstreaming;
- the allocation of resources to programmes and projects that aim at increasing women’s participation in and equal access to the information society; and
- the enhancement of international cooperation to reduce the digital and information divide.

The delegates added a new paragraph that calls for the strengthening of the capacity of national machineries to take a lead advocacy role on, media, ICT, and gender issues.

It is highly noticeable that the phrase “as appropriate” that accompanied a number of provisions is no longer in the final document. The phrase that became ubiquitous during the five-day negotiations because the U.S. delegate insisted on inserting it in all paragraphs that demand resource allocation has become some sort of a joke among the delegates and the NGO representatives who were monitoring the negotiations. During the final reading, the motion from the Moroccan delegate to have an agreement on the paragraphs on resource allocation and facilitation of international cooperation because “they are appropriate” elicited laughter from the delegates.

As many NGOs who have been monitoring the negotiations expected, there was no substantive discussion on Intellectual Property Rights, open source
technology, and network security.

Despite this, the Greek delegate, who also served as the head of the European Union block in the CSW referred to the agreed conclusions on ICT and media as a “win-win document that we can build on [when we take part in the] World Summit and Information Society.”