Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.


New York, 8 November 2010

Madam Chair,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to be with you for the 10th Women Ambassadors’ Luncheon. I thank you, Madam Chair, for your kind invitation. I congratulate you, Ambassador Flores and Ambassador Mesquíta Borges, for your appointment as Heads of Mission in New York. I am looking forward to working with you in a constructive spirit during the 65th session of the General Assembly.

A significant development that has taken place since your last Annual Luncheon is the creation of UN Women. This is a very positive outcome. UN Women will become operational at the beginning of next year. This will do much to increase the visibility and the impact of the United Nations’ activities to accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide. I believe that the creation of this new entity, which brings together resources and mandates for a greater impact, is an example that could be followed in other areas.

Another important achievement for gender equality and the advancement of women is the establishment by the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, of a working group on discrimination against women in law and practice.

These are positive milestones for the promotion of women’s rights. Empowering women and expanding their opportunities is key for poverty reduction and development, as women are crucial economic and social actors. We know from experience that countries that have most progressed in promoting gender equality are at the same time the ones that have been the most successful in reducing poverty.

In this respect, I would like to highlight the strong signal that was sent by world leaders in September, during the Millennium Development Goals Summit. World leaders reaffirmed their willingness to eradicate extreme poverty and to achieve the MDGs by 2015.

We have the resources and we know how to do it. We now have to deliver. We will have to ensure that the political momentum translates into actions that will bring concrete results for the lives of the poor and the vulnerable.

Achieving the MDGs will make a significant difference for women. Suffice it to recall here that MDG3 is about promoting gender equality and empowering women, MDG5 is about improving maternal health, and MDG2 on universal primary education provides for education for children everywhere, boys and girls alike.

To succeed, our efforts have to be based on an authentic partnership. The commitment of both donor and developing countries is needed, but this partnership has to extend to the private sector and civil society.

I would also like to highlight the crucial role of women in promoting peace and security. This year is the 10th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 which has been a landmark decision of the Security Council.

Madam Chair,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am convinced that if the United Nations wants to play the central role it can legitimately play in today’s global governance, it has – among other requirements – to be inclusive, to listen and to interact with major actors outside of the walls of the Assembly Hall. Organizations, such as yours, are instrumental to convey the aspirations of the people for more respect, more equality and more justice. They have the power to make governments move beyond words. They have the power to make them act.

For governance to be truly inclusive and representative, women have to be given a voice, at all levels, in the public and the private sector, and in non governmental organizations.

In this respect, I particularly welcome the active participation of your organization in the work of the Commission on the Status of Women which will hold its 55th session next spring in New York. I thank you for your dedication to the advancement of women and for your support to the mission of the United Nations of promoting peace, security and prosperity worldwide.

* * *