With Goals Defined, Time Ripe for Implementation, Says Deputy Secretary-General in Closing Remarks to Meeting of Regional Coordination Mechanism

22 November 2011

With Goals Defined, Time Ripe for Implementation, Says Deputy Secretary-General in Closing Remarks to Meeting of Regional Coordination Mechanism

22 November 2011
Deputy Secretary-General
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

With Goals Defined, Time Ripe for Implementation, Says Deputy Secretary-General

In Closing Remarks to Meeting of Regional Coordination Mechanism

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s closing remarks to the Regional Coordination Mechanism in Addis Ababa on 22 November:

Thanks you for your kind words.  We would have not succeeded in our efforts to support the African Union had it not been for your commitment and hard work to ensure that we strengthen cooperation between our two organizations in meeting our shared objectives.  A special thank you to those of you who came from afar.

I am very pleased with this year’s meeting, and I thank you all for your participation and contributions.  The Regional Coordination Mechanism is clear in its objective to further strengthen United Nations system-wide support for the African Union and its New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) programme.  We have made progress on our common understanding of capacity-building, and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

As I wrap up my visit, I want to leave you with these thoughts.  I have had the honour to chair this meeting for five years.  In that time, we have come a long way in defining our goals and establishing the necessary processes to meet them.  Now, however, is the time for implementation.

First and foremost, this means that the Regional Coordination Mechanism needs to prioritize the areas for its intervention.  It is clear from your contributions that cross-cutting issues are those where results are most needed, for example, gender, climate change, infrastructure, agriculture and rural development.  As we set off to prepare for next year’s work, I urge everyone to pursue these issues concretely and deliver much needed results.

What is clear is that we must sustain our efforts to achieve maximum coherence and coordination.  This is what Member States want from the United Nations.  We see this already in action under the “Delivering as One” initiative, and not just with the pilot countries, but also with the self-starters.  And I know Ethiopia is one of those.  Indeed, earlier this year, the United Nations here was able to come together with respect to responding to the crisis in the Horn of Africa.  Then, when it mattered most, we proved how indeed we can deliver as one.  But, this should not be an isolated example, and we should strive to replicate such opportunities in our work plans.

I am pleased that at this Regional Coordination Mechanism meeting, we are joined for the first time by colleagues from UN-Women, the newest member of the United Nations family.  With this new entity, we have enormous potential to show how the United Nations can deliver as one on gender issues.  And I know that since UN-Women’s establishment, we have already seen strengthened coherence on these issues here in Ethiopia and across the rest of the continent.

In that respect, allow me to close with a few words about our collective efforts to end violence against women.

This morning, I had a very moving visit to the Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development, an organization which manages the only two safe houses or shelters for women in Ethiopia.  Current and former residents shared their stories with me.  They were full of pain.  These women have endured more than any individual should ever have to suffer.  But they are not looking back with regret; they are looking forward with hope.

They showed tremendous dignity and grace.  I hope we can be inspired by their example and reinvigorate the efforts of both the African Union and the United Nations to end violence against women, and to provide services for survivors.  This is part of our “UNiTE” campaign, led by the Secretary-General.  Last year, he jointly launched the Africa component of the UNiTE campaign with the Chairperson of the African Union.

I want to thank the African Union’s Deputy Chairperson for his leadership and participation on the Regional Steering Committee of the campaign.  I also commend the work of the United Nations organizations that support the campaign here in Africa.  These contributions are welcome, but we have a long way to go to provide protection, care and justice to every survivor — and to make sure that no more women or girls experience violence simply because of their gender.

In three days, on 25 November, the world will mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.  I call on all participants in this Regional Coordination Mechanism to make this a meaningful commemoration by recommitting to the UNiTE campaign.

Ending violence against women is critical to reaching all of our development goals.  When women live in fear and subjugation, they are crippled.  But, when their power is unleashed, they can drive economic progress, care for families and help lead their societies.  Let us work hard in the months ahead to support women and girls, for their sake and for our common future.

Thank you once again for this very productive session.  Thank you to all the moderators and presenters and, in particular, sincere thanks to the Regional Coordination Mechanism Secretariat for their hard work under, of course, the able leadership of my friend and brother, Executive Secretary [Abdoulie] Janneh.

I wish each of you all the best with your work and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.