Monthly Archives: September 2015

World leaders agree: We must close the gender gap

commitment-for-women’s-empowermentHistoric gathering boosts political commitment for women’s empowerment at the highest levels.

Date : 27 September 2015

New York – Today, some 80 world leaders are convening at the United Nations to personally commit to ending discrimination against women by 2030 and announce concrete and measurable actions to kick-start rapid change in their countries. The event marks a historic first, with pledges delivered by Heads of State and Government. No other single issue is to receive this level of political attention at the UN Summit held from 25-27 September to adopt Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals.

The People’s Republic of China, host of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, and UN Women are co-hosting the “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action.”

Commitments are expected to cover a range of issues addressing the most pressing barriers for women, such as increasing investment in gender equality, reaching parity for women at all levels of decision-making, eliminating discriminatory legislation, and addressing social norms that perpetuate discrimination and violence against women.

Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, opened the event. He said “we still have a long way to go in achieving gender equality. … The international community should reaffirm the spirit of the Beijing Conference with renewed commitment and pledge greater efforts to promote gender equality and women’s all-around development. … China will do more to enhance gender equality as its basic State policy, give play to women’s important role as ‘half of the sky’ and support them in realizing their own dreams and aspirations in both career and life. The Chinese women, through their own development, will also play a greater part in the global women’s movement and make greater contributions to gender equality in the world.”

President Xi Jinping announced that to support women’s development worldwide and the work of UN Women, China will contribute USD 10 million for the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the realization of the related goals in the post-2015 development agenda. President Xi further said China will support women and girls in other developing countries by providing health care, vocational training, financing for education and other assistance.

In his opening remarks, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon directly addressed the assembled world leaders, saying: “As Heads of State and Government you have the power and the responsibility to ensure that gender equality is—and remains—a national priority.”

He continued to outline three areas for action: “First, I urge you to create and energetically implement coherent gender equality policies. Second, provide significant financing for gender equality so that commitments become reality. And third, monitor progress so that all governments will hold themselves and each other accountable for the pledges made here today.”

“The highest leaders in the land are taking personal responsibility for their commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women,” emphasized UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “Now the world looks up to them to lead the game-changing actions that secure and sustain implementation. Today we take the first firm steps towards 25 September, 2030.”

As the first world leader to speak at the principal segment, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We need women for peace, we need women for development. This is what we emphasized at this year’s G7 Summit with our commitment to women’s empowerment and initiative to provide vocational training and entrepreneurial opportunities for women in developing countries. … In Germany … we have expanded child care and we finally have a law on women in leadership positions. … We all committed in 1995 to implement the Beijing Platform for Action. Now we are making a new commitment with Sustainable Development Goal 5. Commitments are good. Action is better. Let us take action!”

While actions announced will vary, they are expected to align behind a common message: The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without gender equality. If countries act immediately to translate the goals into action, and close many remaining gaps in implementing the landmark 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, the world could reach gender equality by 2030.

The Heads of State and Government of Chile, Croatia, Iceland, Kenya and Mexico are co-chairing the event. Denmark, Kenya and Mexico hosted three World Conferences on Women that took place before the 1995 Beijing Conference. Besides government representatives, participants include champions of gender equality from civil society, the business world and multilateral organizations.

The Global Leaders’ Meeting is the culmination of an 18-month long journey, spearheaded by UN Women, to review the status of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action on its 20th anniversary. A record 167 countries undertook national reviews that assessed progress and gaps as a basis for new national actions plans to accelerate achievement of women’s empowerment and gender equality.

• Learn more: unwomen.org/stepitup
•Photos from the event available here
• Join the conversation around #Planet5050 on social media and follow @UN_Women on Twitter

The Secretary-General’s remarks to media after Summit for the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The Secretary-General’s remarks at UNDG side event: “From global conversation to global action: making the SDGs work”

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda heralds a new era of global solidarity for promoting prosperity, equal opportunity, and environmental stewardship.

For the first time ever, we have a transformative set of global goals agreed by all countriesSGremarksonUNGA – and that applies to every nation.

Two years ago, along with UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, I had the pleasure to launch a report that called for a step change in global diplomacy.

‘A Million Voices: the World We Want’ – we reached out to the world – ‘What kind of a world do you want? – just let us know.’ We collected all the views from young people, women and business groups and civil society, philanthropists and some vulnerable groups of people. We have reflected and sent to the Member States for their consideration.

Some 8.5 million people have made their voice heard to the United Nations – in face-to-face meetings and in the MY World survey.

The message to policy-makers is clear: go beyond business as usual; work for true transformation; provide the conditions that allow us all to be agents of change.

This global conversation has set the tone for an agenda for the people.

Sustainable Development GoalsAgenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals are designed to resonate with people around the world, women and men, young and old, rich and poor.

They encapsulate a message of hope that the world can unite to eliminate poverty, protect the planet, and provide a life of dignity for all.

Last year, with the proposal for the Sustainable Development Goals on the table, thoughts began to turn to how to make them work.

Numerous global dialogues on implementation conveyed the world’s ideas and expectations.

Three key principles emerged: participation, inclusion, and partnerships.

Agenda 2030 embraces these principles.

The Preamble states: “All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan.”

Implementation is the litmus test of the new agenda.

Governments are encouraged to adapt the agenda to their national circumstances, bearing in mind its high ambitions.

Incorporating the agenda in national planning, policies, legislation and institutions will be critical.

This will require political leadership and integrated action.

The UN system is ready to support Member States to make the global goals a success.

Today, we can say to all the people around the world, to those experts from all walks of life who have contributed to this global conversation: we have listened to your views.

All your governments have heard you.

This 2030 Agenda is for you; it is for everyone, everywhere.

Claim it, demand that commitments are made and promises kept.

Be part of this global call to action.

Preparations across the United Nations system are in full swing to support you.

Together, we can build a better future for people and planet.

Thank you for your commitment and leadership.

Statement by the Secretary-General on International Day of Peace

peaceday2015This year’s International Day of Peace comes at a time of deadly violence and destabilizing conflicts around the world. Rather than succumbing to despair, we have a collective responsibility to demand an end to the brutality and impunity that prevail.

I call on all warring parties to lay down their weapons and observe a global ceasefire. To them I say: stop the killings and the destruction, and create space for lasting peace.

Although it may seem hopelessly distant, the dream of peace pulses in the lives of people everywhere.

There is no group more poised to help realize this dream than today’s young people. They are part of the largest generation of youth in history, more aware and connected than any before. I urge all governments to make greater investments in realizing the potentially massive contributions of the world’s young peacebuilders.

At the same time, we need to mobilize all partners who share the goal of peace. Non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups and corporations all have a role to play in fostering social progress, protecting the environment and creating a more just, stable and peaceful world. The value of this collaboration is our theme for the Day: “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All.”

We live at a moment of peril – but this is also an era of great promise. In a matter of days, leaders from across the globe will gather at the United Nations to adopt the 2030 agenda, our 15-year plan to achieve sustainable development. This is fundamental to ushering in a life of dignity for all, where poverty is history and peace is paramount.

On the International Day, as we mark the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, let us seize the opportunity achieve the Organization’s founding purpose: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.

Ban Ki-moon

UN rolls out 2016-2020 Development Assistance Framework programme for Uzbekistan

UNDAF-LAUNCH-2015Today the UN Office in Uzbekistan presented a new Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) programme for 2016-2020 for Uzbekistan. Signed by the Government of Uzbekistan and the UN Office in Uzbekistan on June 9, 2015, the programme is in line with the UN’s central development paradigms, in particular human development and human rights, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at the presentation, the Minister of Economy of Uzbekistan Galina Saidova noted that “it is very important that UNDAF fully complies with the priorities and strategy Uzbekistan has mapped out for 2016-2020.” She added that the development of the new UNDAF programme was fully negotiated with ministries and agencies, which allows for implementation of the programme without additional preparation for adaptation.

UNDAF_FINAL_ENGDelivering welcome remarks, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan Stefan Priesner spoke about UNDAF’s compliance with the primary aspects of SDGs that are set to be adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 25-27 this year. Mr. Priesner said the development of the framework programme included numerous consultations with partners and donors and spoke about ways it will be implemented and monitored as well as data collection it will entail.

UN Coordination Analyst Hurshid Rustamov did a presentation on a strategic approach that was applied in the development of the UNDAF, as well as on the expected results, differences between the current and the new programme, the financial package and mechanisms for practical implementation of the programme.

The making of the new UNDAF started with an independent assessment of the outcomes of the current programme and a country analysis. The strategy of the new UNDAF is based on the following principles:

–  addressing inequalities, with particular attention to low-income social and economic groups;
–  observance and promotion of human rights in accordance with international standards;
– conducting an analysis of development based on credible data and facts as well as improvement of indicators related to the amount, diseggregation and availability of these data;

The new UNDAF will focus on the following four thematic areas:

  • Inclusive economic development with a focus on employment and social protection;
  • Health and education to fully realize the human potential through enhanced access to quality health and education services;
  • Environmental protection to ensure sustainable development;
  • Effective Governance to enhance public service delivery and the protection of rights

At the end of the presentation, Ms. Saidova and Mr. Priesner thanked those gathered and wished them good luck in their efforts to implement the new UNDAF.

Secretary-General’s Message for International Day of Democracy

640845Civil society is the oxygen of democracy.

We see this clearly in the world’s most vibrant and stable democracies, where Government and civil society work together for common goals. Civil society acts as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth. It plays a critical role in keeping Government accountable, and helps represent the diverse interests of the population, including its most vulnerable groups.

The role of civil society has never been more important. Soon we will start to implement an inspiring new development agenda, agreed by all the world’s Governments.

Yet, for civil society, freedom to operate is diminishing — or even disappearing.

An alarming number of Governments have adopted restrictions that limit the ability of NGOs to work, or to receive funding, or both.

That is why the theme of this year’s International Day of Democracy is space for civil society.

On this Day, let us recall that progress and civic participation go hand in hand.

A confident nation gives citizens a say and a role in the development of their country.

As the United Nations continues to work towards a democratic, pluralistic future for all, the State and civil society can and should be partners in building the future people want.

Ban Ki-moon

UN Women to continue to work on women empowerment

Visit-of-Elaine-Conkievich-to-TashkentIn August, UN Women Multi-Country Representative for Central Asia Elaine Conkievich visited Uzbekistan. In an interview with the UN Information Office she spoke about the purpose of her visit and UN Women plans for the near future.

“I came this week to Tashkent for several purposes; one was yesterday we conducted stakeholder consultations with government officials, with civil society, and other partners we work with in this country,” she said. UN Women Multi-Country Office for Central Asia is in the process of preparing a new five-year strategic note. An essential part of this process, she said, is to hold consultations with stakeholders on the ground because “we would like to build our programme and our support in the country based on the national priorities”.

Conkievich said UN Women in Uzbekistan is working on women’s economic empowerment, adding that recently they put forward a programme for the development of women’s entrepreneurship in the country, and expressed hopes that it will be positively reviewed by the government so that they can proceed with the programme. She also said the UN agency is working on women’s participation in decision making in “all levels and all spheres”.

Some of the proposals presented for review, she said, relate to the adoption of the so-called Temporary Special Measures that are aimed at increasing the number of women in various positions and sectors of the society. The programmes have been proposed to the government and they are currently being reviewed, “and we have received initial positive feedback,” the UN official concluded, adding that they look forward to implementing those particular programmes in Uzbekistan.

As part of her visit, Conkievich also held individual meetings with the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan, various embassies and UN agencies to discuss plans and proposals related to UN Women’s further efforts in Uzbekistan.

Follow this link to watch the interview.