ECLAC prepared two documents for the meeting, Access to Power and Participation in Decision-Making. Latin America and the Caribbean: Policies for Gender Equity Looking to the Year 2000 and Sustainable Development, Poverty and Gender. Latin America and the Caribbean: Working Towards the Year 2000. These studies provided the basis for the Conference work sessions, in which representatives of academic centres, non-governmental organizations and specialized United Nations organizations will also take part.
The main purpose of the Conference was proposed ways of accelerating the implementation of the Platform for Action adopted at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the current Regional Programme of Action for the Women of Latin America and the Caribbean, and of overcoming obstacles in the design and carrying out of policies in these areas. Debates considered the results of other United Nations Summits since the Beijing Conference, especially the First Regional Conference in Follow-up to the World Summit on Social Development (São Paulo, Brazil, 1997).
The Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean is a subsidiary body of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) which is convened on a regular basis, at least every three years, to identify the situation of women’s autonomy and rights at the regional and subregional levels, present public policies recommendations for gender equality, undertake periodic assessments of the activities carried out in fulfilment of regional and international plans and agreements on the subject, and serve as a forum for debates on relevant issues.
ECLAC has been given the mandate to convene the member States to sessions of the Regional Conference. Generally, a member country of ECLAC offers to host the conference.