|Statement by Mr. CHU Guang at the High-level Thematic Debate on Advancing Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in the Post-2015 Development Agenda|
I wish to begin by thanking you for convening this high-level thematic debate. This year is a crucial year for the formulation by the international community of the post-2015 development agenda. It also marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. As such, it offers us an important opportunity to further advance the global cause of gender equality and empowerment of women. China supports incorporating the issue of women in the post-2015 development agenda and wishes to make the following observations.
First, economic empowerment is always the foundation on which to address issues related to women. At present, women still constitute the majority of the global population living in poverty. Therefore, the post-2015 development agenda should stick to the theme of development and set as priorities for the work related to women poverty reduction and ensuring the equal rights of women in education, health and employment so that economic and social development can better and more equally benefit women.
Secondly, full participation of women in decision making is an important guarantee for women’s empowerment. Countries should make efforts to ensure the full and effective participation of women in decision making at all levels in political and economic areas as well as in public life. Full participation does not only refer to the number of female politicians, but more importantly, it means that women’s voice is fully heeded in the formulation of national policies, that women are allowed to play they unique role and that the level of women’s participation in decision making and management is improved.
Thirdly, education is an effective way to advance gender equality. Education is both a useful instrument to enhance the level of women’s development and participation in social activities, and an important hallmark of women’s social and economic status. The new development agenda should commit itself to eliminating sexual discrimination in education, safeguarding the right of girls to primary education, increasing the ratio of women receiving vocational education and high education, and advocating the idea of lifetime learning.
Fourthly, in formulating the post-2015 development agenda, we should give full consideration to the national circumstances and levels of development of different countries, uphold the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, and keep a proper balance between protecting women’s rights and interests and realizing women’s development. The report of the working group on sustainable development should be the main basis for the inter-governmental negotiations. The implementation of relevant goals should be carried out by countries on a voluntary basis and a prudent approach is needed in considering any monitoring mechanism.
Fifthly, international cooperation for development on issues related to women should be further strengthened. The imbalance in development between women of the North and those of the South is severely hampering the overall progress of women of the whole world. The developing countries are facing challenges such as shortage of capital, lack of technology and weak infrastructure. The international community should strengthen North-South cooperation on issues related to women with the focus on economic empowerment of women. The developed countries should effectively honor their aid commitments and increase financial and technical assistance to the developing countries.
Women are a great force for human development. As the host country of the Fourth World Women’s Conference, China always attaches great importance to gender equality and women’s development and has incorporated gender equality in its Constitution and the Law on Safeguarding Women’s Rights and Interests as a basic national policy. Over the past 20 years, China has worked hard to ensure that women enjoy equal rights in political, economic, cultural and social areas as well as in family life, and has realized ahead of schedule the MDG objectives related to women. China is ready to continue to enhance cooperation with all parties to push for greater achievements in the global cause of women’s development.
Thank you, Mr. President.