Looking at the way forward in implementing the expected outcomes of the Conference

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012

Remarks of Michelle Bachelet Executive Director of UN Women at the Rio+20 high-level roundtable on “Looking at the way forward in implementing the expected outcomes of the Conference 21 June 2012.

[ Check against delivery ]

Mr. Secretary-General,

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

I have just come from the Women Leader's Summit where we adopted a Call to Action on the Future Women Want. In this Call to Action, women leaders affirmed that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are fundamental and catalytic to the achievement of sustainable development in its economic, environmental and social dimensions. This Call to Action points the way forward in implementing the outcomes of this Conference.

A world in balance requires gender equality. By providing women farmers with the same access as men to seeds, tools and fertilizer, agriculture output would rise and there would be 100 to 150 million fewer hungry people. By strengthening women's economic role, economic recovery would be faster, deeper, and more sustainable. Women's leadership and participation are necessary to achieve the transformational change needed for sustainable development.

As outlined in the Call to Action, governments should take urgent measures, including temporary special measures, to accelerate women's full and equal participation in governance at all levels and women's leadership in all decision-making.

Governments should ensure that all policies, laws, budgets and investments pertaining to sustainable development are gender-responsive and integrate the social, economic and environmental dimensions.

Governments should eliminate all discriminatory barriers faced by women, including rural women and women in situation of vulnerability, and take proactive measures to address the factors preventing women from realizing equal access, ownership and management of productive resources and assets, such as land and finance.

We need to ensure that women contribute to and benefit from the opportunities provided by sustainable development policies and programmes, including employment opportunities.

And governments need to take urgent measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women, including the right to sexual and reproductive health, to eliminate gender-based violence and to provide universal access to essential services such as health, education, justice, energy, safe drinking water and basic sanitation, transportation, communication, security and social protection.

Finally, we call on governments to provide the necessary financial resources to implement the actions in this Call and advance gender equality and women's empowerment in sustainable development.

In moving forward, UN Women will continue to play a strong role in coordination and accountability for gender equality and promoting this Call to Action. For the UN to deliver as one, the United Nations System-wide Action Plan for gender equality and the empowerment of women will inform the support of the United Nations to member States for building inclusive green economies, and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals and the Call to Action on the Future Women Want.

I thank you.