(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

Thanks to the initiative of Israeli diplomat Merav Eilon-Shahar of the Israeli UN delegation, the UN professional committee chose Dr. Michal Komem, a specialist in the field of girl care, as a participant on the commission’s main panel. The decision was made despite objections raised by Arab delegations. This is the first time an Israeli specialist has participated on such a panel.

The panel is the professional panel of the 51st UN Commission on the Status of Women, which this year will focus on the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child. The 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women will be held at UN headquarters in New York from 26 February to 9 March 2007.

The Israeli delegation, to be headed by Mirit Danon, chairperson of the Authority for Promotion of Women’s Rights, will also include Orly Gil, head of the International Organizations Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and representatives from various governmental ministries involved in gender-related matters. The Israeli delegation will hold a parallel event during which the Israeli documentary ‘Metamorphosis’ will be screened, as well as an event with African representatives at the commission.

The session will include several meetings focusing on the promotion of gender equality and the prevention of violence and neglect of girl-children.

BACKGROUND

The UN Economic and Social Council formed the UN Commission on the Status of Women on June 21, 1946. The Commission’s aim was the promotion of gender equality and women’s status. The Commission is the foremost global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women on this subject.

The Commission prepares recommendations and reports to the Council on promoting women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. The Commission also makes recommendations to ECOSOC on urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women’s rights.

Every year, representatives of member states gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. At the end of every session, the Commission adopts a number of resolutions on a range of issues, including the assistance to Palestinian women; and women, the girl-child and HIV/AIDS.

THE FOURTH WORLD CONFERENCE ON WOMEN – Beijing, China – September 1995

Following the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, the Plenum of the General Assembly of the UN authorized the Commission to include the supervision of the implementation of the conference objectives (the Beijing Platform for Action), promotion of the gender equality aspect in UN activities and frequent survey of main issues on the agenda, such as:
– The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women
– Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training
– Violence against women
– The effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation
– Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels
– Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels.

COMMISSION COMPOSITION

Forty-five Member States of the United Nations serve as members of the Commission at any one time. The Commission consists of one representative from each of the 45 member states elected by the Council on the basis of equitable geographical distribution: 13 members from Africa; 11 from Asia; nine from Latin America and Caribbean; eight from Western Europe and other States and four from Eastern Europe. Members are elected for a period of four years.

DISCUSSIONS OF THE COMMISSION’S 51ST SESSION

– High-level round table discussion focusing on lessons and actions relating to the subjects discussed
– Two interactive panels – one will deal with the main initiative aimed at accelerating implementation, the second will deal with capacity building as a means of implementing the strategy on the main subject of the commission.