Speech by Lakshmi Puri at the Intersessional Meeting of the Preparatory Process for the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States

Speech by UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri at the Intersessional Meeting of the Preparatory Process for the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States, New York, 23 April 2014.


Mr Co-chair, Distinguished Delegates,

I would like to thank the co-chairs for giving stakeholders, including the UN System entities the opportunity to provide inputs and our views to this preparatory process for the SIDS Conference.

We are heartened to hear various interventions calling for gender equality and women’s empowerment to be considered more centrally in the SIDS outcome document, and for gender equality perspectives to be better reflected throughout the document.

These calls must be heeded. Member States, the UN System, civil society, research institutions and other stakeholders provide the evidence that gender equality, women’s human rights and women’s empowerment are essential for the realization of sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.  This link has been reaffirmed most recently at the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women and at tenth session of the Open Working Group on the SDGs.

More specifically, there was unequivocal support for a stand-alone goal on gender equality in the post-2015 development agenda, and the incorporation of gender-sensitive targets and indicators across the entire future framework. The SIDS outcome document should add its weight to this commitment. Achieving gender equality, women’s human rights and women’s empowerment brings multiple positive impacts on the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. This, the Rio+20 outcome document has recognized.

As you further discuss and finalize the SIDS outcome document, UN Women would like to underline a number of key thematic areas where gender perspectives are key for achieving progress – food and nutrition; water; climate change and disaster risk reduction, health and NCDs, promoting peaceful societies and more importantly, on partnerships and means of implementation. In all of these areas, attention to gender equality issues should be further strengthened.

This can be done by reflecting commitments and actions to ensure women’s equal access to productive resources, and women’s leadership and participation in decision-making processes and management. Data and statistics should be disaggregated by sex and age; and targets and indicators should be gender-sensitive. On means of implementation, making finances, technology and capacity-building support available is one thing; ensuring that women and men are equal actors and beneficiaries of these is another thing.

This process should also more fully utilize the recent results of the Commission on the Status of Women. For example, with regard to ensuring women’s right to work and rights at work through gender-responsive policies and programmes that promote women’s economic empowerment, including decent work for all, promote equal pay for equal work or work of equal value, invest in and empower women in productive sectors of the economy, support women’s technical, managerial and entrepreneurial capacities, support the reconciliation of paid work with family and care responsibilities for both women and men .

UN Women stands ready to support you in your work as you develop an outcome that will ensure that women and men are equal partners and beneficiaries in sustainable development. We have provided detailed inputs on the zero draft circulated by the co-chairs. This is available on the conference website for your consideration.  Member States are at a crucial moment in negotiating a forward-looking, practical and concrete outcome document for the SIDS Conference that should address the aspirations, concerns and needs of ALL – women and men.  To this end, your outcome document must visibly and comprehensively reflect the commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

We reaffirm UN Women’s commitment to engage in preparation for and at the SIDS Conference, including at the highest level.  And we will continue in delivering on key partnerships to promote women’s empowerment in the SIDS, especially in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. I also encourage all Member States and especially the SIDS to take full advantage of the ongoing national, regional and global preparations for the Beijing+20 process, and to establish and reinforce synergies with the SIDS agenda.

I thank you.