The Fourth World Conference on Women met in Beijing in September, 1995
The Fourth World Conference on Women met at the Beijing International Conference Center on September 4-15, 1995. The conference was attended by 17000 representatives from 189 countries and territories, the UN organizations and its specialized agencies as well as government and non-governmental organizations concerned. The 81 member Chinese delegation attended the conference, headed by Chen Muhua, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People?s Congress and President of the All China Women?s Federation. As the host country, China held a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of People on September 4, which was attended by 10,000 people. The welcoming ceremony was presided over by State Councillor Peng Peiyun, head of the Chinese Organizing Committee for the Fourth World Conference on Women. Chinese President Jiang Zemin, personal representative of the UN Secretary General and Mrs. Mongella, secretary-general of the Fourth World Conference on Women, addressed the welcoming ceremony.
The conference proceeded in both the plenary session and two committees. General debate was conducted in the plenary session, and consultations were made in the two committees over the drafting of Beijing Declaration and the Platform of Action. Over 270 representatives from various government delegations, UN organizations and its specialized agencies as well as governmental organizations spoke during the general debate in the plenary session.
The conference reviewed and assessed the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women and drafted and passed the Beijing Declaration and the Platform of Action for speeding up the implementation of the Nairobi Strategies. It identified major obstacles in the way of advancing women?s status in the world and adopted strategic goals and concrete steps to remove these obstacles. The Beijing Declaration, with equality, development and peace as its fundamental theme, affirmed progress made by the international community in raising the status of women and identified existing problems. It reiterated the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and dealt with issues such as poverty, health care, education and violence against women that were of special concern to developing countries. The declaration called on the international community to adopt immediate action for the early attainment of the goals outlined in the Nairobi Strategies. It also called for mobilizing sufficient resources at both national and international level to implement the Platform of Action and particularly providing additional fund to developing countries to help them enhance the status of women. The Platform of Action detailed major problems facing women in various countries and laid out strategies and measures to resolve these problems. It focused on poverty, education and health care which are of greatest concern to developing countries, affirmed the important role of women in economic and social development and called for eliminating women?s poverty, advancing education and health care and eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women so as to create necessary conditions for women?s equal participation in economic and social development and in decision making. Owing to differences in religion, ethnic background, culture and level of development, the conference participants voiced different views on issues as women?s basic rights, the concept of equality, abortion and the women?s movement itself. Acting in a spirit of being responsible to the global women?s movement, however, they agreed to set aside differences and reached agreement on the main content of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform of Action.
In conjunction with the Fourth World Conference on Women, the 95?Non-Governmental Women?s Forum was held in Huairou, Beijing between August 31 and September 8. The forum was attended by 31549 people, including 26549 overseas participants and 5000 Chinese participants. Under the general theme of equality, development and peace, 39,000 discussion sessions were held at the forum which addressed various issues of concern to women and issues relating to women. Over 5,000 photo and book exhibitions, cultural, arts and crafts shows, seminars on applied skills for women and films shows were staged at the forum.
The Fourth World Conference on Women was the largest conference ever held by the United Nations and the largest global conference hosted by the Chinese government. The Beijing Declaration and the Platform of Action adopted by the conference are an important milestone in the history of global women?s development. It will exert a positive and profound impact on promoting equality between men and women, raising women?s status and ensuring peace and development in the new century.