UN Women Executive Director: As we move forward, we will seek opportunities to win traction for, and achieve, the deep changes in the global financial architecture

Date: Thursday, July 23, 2015

Statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director, on the financing for development outcome document following the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13-16 July 2015.

This week, as we turn from the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, and move our sights to the negotiation of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, let us keep the end game in view.

The Action Agenda makes a strong political commitment to “ensure gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment” in the context of setting a global framework for financing of development post-2015. It reaffirms at the outset that the full realization of women's human rights, gender equality and women's empowerment are essential to achieving sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development. It includes as priorities for investment positive elements, including strengthened laws, policies and measures, and their implementation in relation to gender equality and women’s empowerment; the reiteration of the need for gender mainstreaming into all policies, and targeted transformative actions and investments for the promotion of gender equality at all levels. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda also importantly commits to realizing the equal rights of women in political and economic decision-making and leadership, and equal rights to economic resources.

In addition to the undertaking to bring resources — public and private, domestic and international, conventional and innovative — to aspects that are currently missing or insufficient — for example, the promotion of women’s access to science, technology, innovation and capacity building — there is also useful commitment to remove current barriers. For example, to remove constraints to women’s full participation in the economy, ensure equal access to financial services and financial literacy, to decent work, as well as to education and to infrastructure, including for water, sanitation or fuel, which frees up women’s time and energy.

None of these gains would have been possible without the relentless advocacy of women’s groups that have also given high visibility to gender equality issues at the conference itself while advocating for systemic changes in the financial and economic architecture.

The Action Agenda in many significant ways builds upon commitments made in the Political Declaration adopted by Member States at the 59th Commission on the Status of Women in March 2015 focusing on the 20-year review and appraisal of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. In the Declaration, Member States explicitly recognized the persistent gender funding gaps and pledged to take concrete action, including through “significantly increased investment to close the resource gaps”.  UN Women hopes that this commitment will be carried forward in the post-2015 development agenda.

We share the vision of the women’s movement and civil society of a global economic and financial architecture that is inclusive and generates enhanced resources in scale, scope and quality, for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Addressing structural issues that continue to have a significant long-term detrimental impact on women and girls should remain an important objective at the center of this vision.

As we move forward into the next stage of the continuum that leads to the Summit on sustainable development in September, we will seek opportunities to win traction for, and achieve, the deep changes in the global financial architecture that will ultimately result in true financing for development, and the realization of sustainable development goals. We will continue to work with civil society, our constant partners, whose strong contribution has been invaluable from the inception of the Addis process.

The Action Plan for Transformative Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, which was launched by UN Women and partners in Addis Ababa, is intended to support the process that began with commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and to generate new commitments in the context of the post-2015 development agenda and the climate change agreement later this year.

As Member States engage in the final negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda through the days ahead, we call on all stakeholders — governments, international financial institutions, regional development banks, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the private sector, and others in an accelerated way — to work in solidarity to support the transformative goals we need to achieve our joint vision of a planet that is equal for women, men, girls and boys by 2030.