Closing remarks to the 60th session of the UN Commission of the Status of Women, 24 March 2016

Date: 24 March 2016

UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

[As delivered.]

Excellencies,

Thank you very much for your hard work, dedication, and the clear direction that you have given us on the path to 2030, which you are going to travel, in a hurry.

Thank you Chair, for your leadership, your hard work and for creating the enabling environment that has allowed us all to work so hard.

Thank you Vice Chair and facilitator; you have given us a lot of support, enabled many delegations to compromise and helped us get back on track when it seemed that we were getting off track. Thank you so much for the manner in which you did that. We can all agree that the hard times did not feel as hard because of that.

I want to thank civil society, who also burned the midnight oil alongside the delegates and encouraged the delegates to keep on keeping on.

I want to thank the UN Women team for keeping their eyes on the ball and paying attention to details. I thank Mrs. Puri, and the team that she led, made up of many UN Women staff in headquarters, capitals and in regions and country offices who supported this work in different ways.

Today we have agreed to a gender-responsive approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I thank all the groups for their diligence in scrutinizing every word to make sure that the agreed conclusions really meant something for the women and girls of their nations and their regions. Thank you so much for ensuring that nothing escaped your scrutiny.

We thank you for affirming the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and highlighting the importance of gender mainstreaming. This is now entrenched in our efforts in the best interests of making Agenda 2030 work for women and girls. We also made significant progress in ensuring that the targets that have been adopted will ensure that we are able to evaluate the progress that we are making.

We welcome the recognition of the International Conference on Population and Development and its Programme of Action in relation to the rights and health needs of women and girls. We welcome the linkage made to and highlight of education, health, humanitarian and economic needs of women, and the extreme needs for finance, with all of these linked to Agenda 2030 and its importance for women and girls.

We are extremely appreciative of the reference to indigenous women, disabled women and rural women, and to youth, all of which highlights the importance of recognizing the intersecting challenges that millions of women and girls face. We also in particular appreciate the affirmation of feminist and women’s and community-based organizations, as well as the understanding of the challenges faced by women human rights defenders.

The empowerment of the women and girls of the world has become stronger and firmer because of what you have pledged to do tonight.

Provision of essential services such as sanitation and water also play a significant role in facilitating the empowerment of women and girls and making sure that those women and girls who live in the worst conditions are also put first so that we do not leave anyone behind.

This is a document that has involved a lot of compromise and a lot of accommodation. No one got everything they wanted, but everybody got something that is important to them. That is an art and a skill that demonstrates the leadership of those who facilitated our engagement.

UN Women, of course, also did not get everything that we wanted, but we are very happy with most of what is in the document. UN Women regrets the fact that we have not been able to agree on the need to recognize the violations that women and girls experience because of their sexual orientation.

UN Women will do everything in its power to ensure that this agreement will be implemented in such a way that we leave no one behind and that those who are last are put first.

We will ensure that the bold and ambitious vision of the Sustainable Development Goals is capitalized on through the implementation of the whole Agenda that has been captured in this agreement. This Agenda is indivisible and it is universal. It is critical for us to ensure that 2030 arrives with women and girls in a different place, in a world where there will be substantive equality. As we speak now, no country has achieved gender equality. But we hope that at the end of the implementation of this Agenda some countries in this room will have achieved gender equality by 2030.

I thank you.