The international community must work for a stronger world and a better future for all with equal rights for both men and women, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed today as he emphasized the need for swift global action on gender parity.
Delivering the closing remarks to a High-level Conference on 'Women in Power and Decision-making' co-hosted by Chile's Government and UN Women and held in Santiago, the Secretary-General urged Member States to expedite their efforts in bringing about gender equality “not next year, not tomorrow, right now.”
“Now is the time to take a stand, to close gaps, to remove obstacles, to invest in women and girls, to move from deed to action,” Mr. Ban declared. “We cannot fulfil 100 per cent of the world's potential by excluding 50 per cent of the world's people.”
The Secretary-General's remarks come ahead of the worldwide commemoration on 8 March of International Women's Day, which this year coincides with the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, considered to be the “international blueprint” for gender equality and women's empowerment.
Also this year, the international community is hard at work on establishing a new sustainable development agenda that builds on the landmark UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and that will help shape policies and social investments for the next generation.
Mr. Ban told those gathered that 2015 was, in fact, “a pivotal year” for people and the planet as the international community hurtles towards the end-of-year development, climate and gender targets.
“We can make it the year of sustainable development,” he added. “We can make it the year that transforms lives for a generation. For that to happen, women must be front and centre.”
Yesterday, on the side-lines of the conference's opening session, the Secretary-General met with Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, who in 2010, was the first to lead the then newly-created UN Women. He thanked the Chilean Government for co-hosting the conference on 'Women in power and decision-making' and also expressed appreciation for the different measures Chile has taken toward women's empowerment.
The Secretary-General and President Bachelet also exchanged views about the importance of gender equality in the framework of the post-2015 development agenda. They agreed on the importance of good preparatory work for the Financing for Development Conference in Addis-Ababa in July, stressing that private sector engagement would be key to its success.