– As delivered –
Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
21 July 2020
Executive Director of UN-Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,
Viewers around the world,
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Multi-Stakeholder Hearing in preparation for the High-Level Meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, which will take place in the Fall.
I thank you all for taking the time to join this discussion, which offers each of us an opportunity to listen to, and learn from, voices of change. This is crucial in our efforts to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
After its adoption, 25 years ago, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains the most comprehensive and transformative global agenda for the achievement of gender equality. We have made some progress. There are more girls in school than ever before, and between the years 2000 – 2017 the global maternal fatality rate declined by 38%.
However, in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 schools have closed and essential resources for women’s health have been redirected towards the pandemic response. Moreover, women have been disproportionately burdened by a significant uptick in unpaid care work and the rates of gender-based violence have risen at an alarming rate.
We simply cannot allow the coronavirus to threaten the lives and future of women. The needs of women and girls must be central to both rapid-response and long-term recovery planning. Indeed, women should be included in every decision-making fora.
Gender equality is everybody’s responsibility: we need to amplify the voice of every girl and facilitate women’s leadership in all arenas.
Indeed, we cannot implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a whole if we do not achieve gender equality. As we begin the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the SDGs we must re-commit to the targets of SDG 5 to build a more equal, just, peaceful, and sustainable world for all.
After its adoption, 25 years ago, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action remains the most comprehensive and transformative global agenda for the achievement of gender equality. We have made some progress
Sisters and brothers,
I trust that you will interact with the panelists throughout the day utilizing the chat box. However, the conversation must move beyond this virtual platform. We need to engage as many people as possible in this discussion if we are to create tangible, lasting change for women and girls around the world. I encourage each of you to text your families, your friends, and your professional networks and invite them to tune into the event coverage on UN Web TV. They can also join the conversation on Twitter, using the hashtag ‘Generation Equality’.
In the words of Ms. Chimmamanda Ngozi Adichie,
“Gender is not an easy conversation to have…
Because thinking of changing the status quo is always uncomfortable.”
Well today is the day for that uncomfortable conversation, which will guide us in our quest to build a better world, for everyone, everywhere.
I thank you.