I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this important gathering. I thank the Government of the Netherlands for hosting.
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development marked
a turning point in the global campaign to secure human rights for women, girls and marginalized groups.
In the nearly two decades since, more girls have been enrolled in primary education than ever before. More than 150 countries have enacted laws to end child marriage. Maternal mortality rates have been reduced by almost half and access to voluntary family planning has increased in developing countries. More women have been empowered to participate in their economies to create stronger, more sustainable communities.
This progress has been supported by a proliferation of national and international human rights institutions focused on addressing gender inequality, empowering women and holding governments to account.
I applaud these significant and hard-won achievements and I thank you for helping to make it happen.
Now we must accelerate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals as we craft a post-2015 vision for global development. It is essential to address remaining inequalities and fight back against all attempts to backtrack on existing human rights law and international agreements.
I am committed to making sure that the global post-2015 agenda lays the foundation for a world where every person can live in dignity and freedom, and where the benefits of development are universally shared.
I count on you to provide guidance to the international community and to engage with the United Nations as we advance toward the future we want.
In this spirit, please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.