Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director has commended global action to kick start Agenda 2030 immediately.
“From today onwards, for this Agenda to succeed, there can be no business as usual. We have to step it up. Today is really the start of the journey towards September 25, 2030.
“We have to make sure that we achieve some of these targets and goals before 2030. We therefore are also setting for ourselves the date of 2020 as a time for us to evaluate thoroughly that we are going in the right direction,” Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka stated.
Speaking at the end of the Global Leaders meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment at the UN headquarters, New York, the UN Women Executive Director called on global activists not to think about 2030, but about 2016, 2017, 2018, “because every year we will report on the progress that we are making”.
“Today we made sure that gender issues are part of the business of our leaders, of the heads of state and are fully mainstreamed.”
Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka lauded the commitment of global leaders for showing strong responsibility for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“Leaders must also be committed to meet the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals and to step it up for gender equality so that we have substantive equality by 2030,” she stated.
The UN Under-Secretary-General noted that among all our leaders, “we have heard a growing consensus across critical areas for gender equality and women’s empowerment. “
“We can clearly see common threads of concern among all those who spoke today, whether from developed countries, middle-income countries, or least developed countries.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking at the event, called on the world to end impunity.
She joined many other countries to commit to issues of women, peace and security, importantly dedicating efforts to support this all across the world because “we are not yet there.”
The German Chancellor said: “We need women for peace, we need women for development. This is what we emphasised at this year’s G7 Summit with our commitment to women’s empowerment and initiative to provide vocational training and entrepreneurial opportunities for women in developing countries.
“In Germany … we have expanded child care and we finally have a law on women in leadership positions… We all committed in 1995 to implement the Beijing Platform for Action.
“Now we are making a new commitment with Sustainable Development Goal 5. Commitments are good. Action is better. Let us take action!”
She said the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved without gender equality. If countries act immediately translate the goals into action, and close many remaining gaps in implementing the landmark 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, the world could reach gender equality by 2030.
Meanwhile in an interview with the Ghana News Agency from New York on the sidelines of the global meeting, Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, noted that government has rolled out national mechanism for ensuring gender equality and women empowerment.
She said Ghana shared its strategies for reducing poverty levels, social injustices among women and men, improving health standards and enhancing efficiency of public and private sector investments and domestic finance with the global leaders.
Nana Oye Lithur noted that Ghana’s mechanism, which received general acknowledgement, seeks to ensure that the country achieves gender equality for attainment of human rights and which serve as a pre-requisite for sustainable national development.
“Ghana’s goals towards achieving gender equality targets are guided by its commitment to international instruments, its constitution and national development frameworks,” she noted.
Nana Oye Lithur said Ghana’s efforts for gender equity are evident in the nation’s recent achievements as shown by international indices.
The Gender Minister observed that inequality in macro-economic issues including trade, industry structures and productive resources; stereotyping and persistent discrimination against women that manifest in negative gender relations, and value for gender roles and responsibilities with severe implication for maternal health and mortality.
In an attempt to address the challenges posed by these inequities, successive governments have made conscious efforts by promoting girl-child education, social development and protection initiative.
The initiatives include the distribution of free school uniforms, free exercise books, skilled training for young women, free ante-natal services for pregnant women, access to credit in the form of programmes such as the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty among others.
More than 80 world leaders converge at the United Nations to personally commit to ending discrimination against women by 2030 and announce concrete and measurable actions to kick-start rapid change in their countries.
The event marks a historic first, with pledges delivered by Heads of State and Government.
The People’s Republic of China, hosted the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, and UN Women are co-hosting the “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action.”
Commitments are expected to cover a range of issues addressing the most pressing barriers for women, such as increasing investment in gender equality, reaching parity for women at all levels of decision-making, eliminating discriminatory legislation, and addressing social norms that perpetuate discrimination and violence against women. GNA