Speech: agreement on action for a just, safe and sustainable planet
Closing remarks by United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Bahous to the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 25 March 2022
Let me begin by giving you all a big hand for all the energy, enthusiasm, optimism and resilience that you have shown in the last few days to get us to this point – the Agreed Conclusions of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. You kept your eyes on the prize, and you got it. True, it is late at night, but we got it. This is the power of the multilateral system and the strength of the intergovernmental space – so congratulations to you all.
This is a historic moment. Today, you made new commitments to advance women’s and girls’ rights. You confirmed their invaluable role in driving climate solutions, and you recognized their leadership in driving forward our shared Sustainable Development Goals that place all women and girls at the very centre of Agenda 2030.
Thank you, Ambassador Mathu of South Africa for your leadership as Chair of the Bureau and for the positive, enabling environment you created for the negotiations this week. And my very special thanks go to Ambassador Antje Leendertse of Germany for her outstanding skills in facilitating the Agreed Conclusions. Antje, my good friend, thank you very much. Thank you also to the Vice Chairs and the Facilitators for your unwavering support to the delegations.
I was energized by seeing so many of you in person, for the first time in three years, and for my first CSW.We were joined this year by two heads of state and government, three vice-presidents, and 111 ministers. This high level of participation is a testament to the priority placed by all your countries on both women´s empowerment and addressing climate change.
I also thank the women from all over the world, across generations, who joined us either in person or virtually to add their advocacy on behalf of their constituencies to that of the delegates.
I also salute and commend the courage of the women and girls of Ukraine, Afghanistan and all places of conflict. It is for all women and girls in crisis situations that we do this important work together.
I would like to add our recognition also to the vital role of civil society. Their contributions to the discussions were a forceful and necessary reminder of the lived realities of women and girls facing the impact of climate change and related disasters. I look forward to seeing more of you in person in 2023.
A special note of appreciation also goes to the youth forum, whose participation is a reminder to us all. What we do here today is not for ourselves, but for generations to come as well. We owe it to them to implement what has been agreed on. And thank you also for your work as delegates in the negotiation of the methods of work, which for the first time includes a call for an interactive youth dialogue on the priority theme in future sessions of CSW.
Let me thank also all those behind the scenes. My brilliant UN Women team, thank you. And the conference management team, thank you. Thank you for your hard work and invaluable contribution to the many events over the past two weeks. You were our engines throughout, from early mornings to late nights.
This Commission’s Agreed Conclusions today are the first ever to focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the context of climate, environment and disaster risk reduction.
This is vital, as you move forward to engage in the next global moments ahead: in Stockholm +50, COP 27 in Egypt and the High-level Political Forum. I urge you to capitalize on the work done here, to put these agreements into immediate practice and to move them further forward at each of these upcoming fora and beyond.
The Agreed Conclusions reflect the importance of ensuring the full, equal, effective and meaningful participation, leadership and representation of women and girls in all their diversity.
The Agreed Conclusions further recognize the key interlinkages with conflict, migration and increased violence, including sexual and gender-based violence during times of crises, during times of war. We must take every opportunity to prevent and respond to that violence, ending impunity and providing services to survivors.
The COVID-19 pandemic had laid bare existing inequalities, including on unpaid care work. The Agreed Conclusions elevate the importance of building women’s resilience and addressing the unequal sharing of caregiving.
Finally, the Commission at this session has committed to strengthening gender-responsive climate finance. This is critical to advance the global climate and environment action agenda, as well as to increase resources for the multitude of women’s organizations, enterprises and cooperatives that are protecting the planet.
Now our real work begins. UN Women stands ready to partner with Member States and all stakeholders to support implementation, and to create the spaces and platforms where the voice and leadership of women and girls can influence action for a just, safe and sustainable planet – for us all.
To conclude, I salute your efforts, your diligence and your diplomacy. I dare say that this Commission’s delegations are perhaps among the most youthful in the United Nations, and your energy reflects your own commitment, as well as your hopes for our future.
I thank you very much, and congratulations again.