“Women are essential to recovery and resilience-building” — Executive Director

Speech by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the CSW60 World Humanitarian Summit side event, 17 March 2016, New York.


[As delivered]

It is my pleasure to participate in today’s discussion, and I want to thank our co-hosts OCHA, Oxfam, ActionAid and the Governments of Australia and Mexico.

The first World Humanitarian Summit will be held in Istanbul on 23-24 May. It is the culmination of a multi-year process initiated by the UN Secretary-General to improve humanitarian action worldwide. This event comes at a critical time. Our world is seeing the increasing effects of climate change, violent extremism and an unprecedented number of displaced persons. Women and girls are affected disproportionately by these crises.

The risk of violence against women and girls increases after a disaster. In areas of conflict, women and girls are frequently targeted and denied access to education, reproductive services, healthcare, and participation in economic and political life. At the same time, women are essential to recovery and resilience-building.

The centrality of gender equality is reaffirmed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Goal 5 and its related targets. The critical role of women is also integrated in the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Global Review of Implementation of Security Council resolution 1325, resolution 2242, the Secretary-General’s Report on the World Humanitarian Summit and the Agenda for Humanity.

It has also clearly emerged in the consultations that have been held in preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit that gender equality and women’s empowerment are central. This resulted in four proposed commitments for Istanbul which will be covered in order to highlight the issues as they refer to women and girls. These are: the role of women’s organizations in crises situations; reproductive rights and the provision of care services; preventing gender-based violence; and enabling women’s participation and leadership.