UN cuts women’s conference over coronavirus fears
United Nations: The United Nations has slashed the length of an annual conference on women, which was due to welcome 12,000 delegates to New York this month, to just one day because of the deadly coronavirus.
The 64th meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women was originally scheduled to open on March 9, the day after international women’s day, and run until March 20.
Organizers said only a short session on the opening day would now be held following a request from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the conference be drastically scaled back because of coronavirus fears.
In a statement, they said a draft political declaration will be adopted and then the meeting will be suspended — “to be resumed at a later date” with a full schedule and participation.
“No general debate will take place on 9 March and all side events will be cancelled,” said the statement.
The conference was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, a blueprint aimed at advancing women’s rights.
On Monday, the United Nations said it was closing its Geneva headquarters to visitors and curbing some activities linked to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
A spokesman for Guterres said there were no plans at the moment to close the New York headquarters to visitors.
He said all upcoming meetings there were being assessed on a case-by-case basis.
The global death toll from the new coronavirus topped 3,000 on Monday. Nearly 90,000 people have been infected in more than 60 countries. – AFP