ED statement at noon briefing on 25 November

Remarks by the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the Noon briefing at UN Headquarters, New York, 25 November 2014.

Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

[Check against delivery]

I’m very pleased today to announce that UN Women and the City of New York have signed an agreement to enhance the safety and empowerment of women and girls. This is the first time the City has entered into such an agreement with a UN entity.

This morning, I joined Chirlane McCray, the City’s First Lady, in signing a Memorandum of Understanding during the official UN commemoration of the International Day to End Violence against Women.

Under the agreement, the City will back public education and advocacy efforts organized by UN Women to mark the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the visionary roadmap for gender equality adopted by 189 governments in 1995.

The City will also join the Safe Cities Global Initiative. Through this worldwide partnership, UN Women works with municipalities in all regions of the world to make public spaces free from sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence.

We at UN Women greatly look forward to seeing the new policies and practices that New York will develop as part of this global drive. New York is already well known for its leadership on gender equality. We are pleased as well by the City’s willingness to call on other cities to join Safe Cities through the US Conference of Mayors.

Violence against women is an issue that cannot wait. One in three women around the world will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in her life. We all need to be involved in stopping this blatant violation—from the local to the global level.

Last night and today, New York’s iconic Empire State Building, UN Headquarters and screens in Times Square lit up in orange—responding to the call of the 2014 International Day to End Violence against Women to “Orange Your Neighbourhood.” The UN Secretary-General’s campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women designated the colour to symbolize hope for a future free from violence.

Today, New York City has taken a big step towards that future. We at UN Women deeply appreciate its commitment and welcome the many opportunities that will arise from this important partnership.