“We urge you to place gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of the Financing for Development discussions and negotiations” – UN Women Executive Director

Opening remarks by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the joint-side event during the Second Drafting Session on the Outcome Document of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development: “Transformative financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment: Expectations from the Financing for Development process” held on 16 April, in New York.

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015

[As delivered]

Excellencies, delegates, UN colleagues, representatives from civil society and from the private sector, ladies and gentlemen.

This is a very important event.

This week, the countdown to Addis Ababa starts in earnest.

Success in Addis Ababa will pave the way for an ambitious agreement at the Post-2015 Summit in September as well as for an aspiring Climate Agreement in Paris in December.

Much is at stake this year and expectations are high.

Gender equality and women’s empowerment must be at the core of all three ongoing processes.

The Rio document “The Future We Want”, recognized gender equality and women’s empowerment as central to sustainable development. Gender equality is necessary for sustainable development.  Gender equality is also a principle in the Istanbul Programme of Action and the Samoa Pathway.

However, the recent review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action shows that progress in achieving gender equality has been slow and uneven, not least due to the persistent gender funding gap.

The ambitions of the post-2015 development agenda will only be met if we can achieve transformative financing, both in scale and scope, from all sources and at all levels.

Our call for transformative financing and investment in gender equality and women’s empowerment is based on a consensus of the international community that is reflected in the Political Declaration of the 59th Commission on the Status of Women that has just concluded.

Member States at the Commission pledged to take concrete actions to significantly increase investments to close the resource gaps that hinder the achievement of gender equality.

The  Financing for Development process is an opportunity to translate this consensus into concrete actions under each of the financing sources and modalities at national and global levels involving all stakeholders.

This determination must be reflected in a strong call to action that will galvanize support to finance new and existing gender equality commitments in all countries, at all levels of development and in all situations.

The zero draft affirms the centrality of gender equality to the achievement of sustainable growth and development.

This has now to go to the next step – and that is why it is so important that we together mobilize coherent support for investment in gender equality and women’s empowerment. These are basic human rights. It is also important that they are not instrumentalized -  or portrayed simply as a means of economic growth.

We know from experience that gender-responsive budgeting is an efficient and effective way to ensure the coherence of national planning and budgeting processes with gender equality objectives.

It can be done and we would be pleased to share our know-how.

It is essential that we act to enable women to participate fully and equally in the economy.

States must support the generation of decent work and equal pay; and recognize, reduce and redistribute care work as well as address the barriers that women and women-owned businesses face in accessing financial services, investment, and technology.

The private sector has an important role to play in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, at market and community level. Here we must also recognize the important work done by trade unions.

The private sector must take full account of the gender implications of its investments as well as its own internal operations – how it employs people and how it deals with those with whom it does business.

Lastly - and most importantly - women’s organizations play a key role in demanding the accountability of all stakeholders for the full implementation of international norms and standards on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

They must be adequately resourced to do this work.

In your deliberations this week and in the coming sessions leading up to the event in Addis Ababa, we urge you to place gender equality and women’s empowerment at the heart of the Financing for Development discussions and negotiations. The success of our new sustainable development agenda depends on it.

Let us turn the talk into action! This is now the time!

Thank you.