By OLIKA DANIEL GODSON, DIE WELT
In its first session today,The World Conference on Women experienced great difficulty in reaching a majority vote on what the Agenda should be. Two topics were up for discussion and the Chair oversaw the debates and motions that were passed by the various member states. While the debate went back and forth for the Agenda to be adopted, UAE and Nigeria’s positions are particularly unique in that they did not take a particular stand on the topic that should be addressed but rather urged that all member states be allowed to air their views before voting begins. Nigeria stated emphatically; “one of the core objectives of the United Nations is equality, and until all member states are allowed the opportunity to take a position equally, we should not adopt an agenda.” The Topics for discussion were “Increasing Access to Education” and “Reproduction, Sexual and Maternal Health.”
It is noteworthy that in light of the recent outbreak of the Zikka Virus and the recent cases discovered in Germany, the latter topic is of particular importance in the lives of women in general. Therefore, a refusal by the Committee to take this into consideration does not speak well of the Committee.
Argentina recognized the dead stating effect of the Zikka Virus in South America and urged member states to adopt the latter topic as the Agenda of the Committee.
Countries who preferred the former topic saw education as a way of empowering women on how best to handle their reproductive and maternal health and how best to enforce these rights in the face of violations. They also felt that state parties should ignore restrictive gender-based laws and should ratify treaties and international instruments that support and protect women’s rights such as the CEDAW.