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UN Chronicle. 1997 Summer; 34(2): p..Aloisia Woergetter of Austria, Chairperson of the Open-ended Working Group on the Elaboration of a draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, announced on 21 March that the Working Group had reached agreement on the inclusion of an enquiry procedure in the draft optional protocol, which would enable the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to request State parties to the protocol to explain and remedy complaints about serious violations of women's rights. A large majority of participating Governments was in favour of the optional protocol and for the procedures to be followed. She described that as "remarkable", noting that such support had not been thought possible in the past. The optional protocol would greatly strengthen the Convention and allow individual women to actually complain about violations of their rights before the United Nations. "I think, we can easily say that we are, at the moment, the most successful optional protocol drafting group." The group hoped that it could finish its work next year. (excerpt)
In: Getting institutions right for women in development, edited by Anne Marie Goetz. London, England, Zed Books, 1997. 44-60.Most of the development literature considers accountability either as a political or an organizational issue and few consider it as a cognitive issue. All three must be examined in order to acquire a broader understanding of accountability. Accountability has to do with the organizational characteristics (goals, procedures, staffing, incentive systems) of all agencies involved, as well as with the political context, that is, the political commitment of the stakeholders to a project, whether the options of 'exit' and 'voice' are available and whether democratic accountability exists. Finally, accountability cannot be discussed without understanding the 'discourse' underlying a particular policy area, in our case gender policy. How do different stakeholders define 'gender issues'? On what basis should resources be allocated to women? The perceived cause of gender constraints will also determine what solutions are proposed. To what extent is there agreement between different stakeholders on the nature of the issue and the proposed solutions? These are some of the questions we might ask as we explore gendered institutions. Therefore, I will begin by analysing the conditions that limit and promote accountability within these three major categories: the organizational context, the political context and the cognitive context. (excerpt)
BEYOND CAIRO. 1997 Dec; 3-4.The UN Department of Public Information (DPI) held its 50th annual nongovernmental organization (NGO) conference during September 10-12, 1997. Representatives of 637 NGOs from 61 countries participated in the conference centered around the theme of building partnerships. In 1947, UN member states were seen as the sole actors on the international stage, with NGOs being mainly mobilizers of public opinion. The relationship between NGOs and the UN, however, has since evolved such that close cooperation between the two has become the norm. NGOs and the UN now work mainly as partners. Participants at the UN DPI conference contemplated the challenges of sustaining and strengthening UN-NGO partnerships beyond the year 2000. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed that NGOs consider holding a "People's Millennium Assembly" in 2000 as part of an effort to cement the partnership between NGO and the UN; UN General Assembly President Razali Ismail raised a range of relevant issues which he encouraged governments and NGOs to consider; and Ruth Cardoso, the First Lady of Brazil and President of the Council of Comunidade Solidaria, Brazil, briefed participants on the Brazilian NGO initiative launched in December 1996 to promote the role of NGOs throughout Brazil.