My delegation is honoured to participate at the 63rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in all spheres of life remains a national priority of the government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. In this regard, Guyana reaffirms its commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and our support for the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
This global forum provides the opportunity to assess the progress made in keeping with our national priorities, international obligations, examine the challenges faced and seek measures in which we can overcome these challenges to achieve gender parity. Cognizant that social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure are at the heart of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Guyana has initiated numerous programmes and policies.
One pertinent example is the development of a National Gender and Social Inclusion Policy which will further strengthen the national machinery. This policy aims to mainstream gender issues into all sectors in order to eliminate all negative economic, social and cultural practices that impede equality and equity. It will strengthen links between Government, NGOs, and the private sector in mainstreaming of gender, and will develop, maintain and provide gender sensitive information and gender disaggregated data for use in planning and project implementation at all levels and in all sectors.
In addition, Guyana continues to ensure the provision of programmes and services to address and prevent all forms of violence against women and girls, through nationwide awareness programmes, essential services, shelters for victims of trafficking and domestic and sexual violence.
Women in Guyana can now easily access micro financing projects to start small income generating activities so that they can sufficiently sustain themselves and families. Social assistance in the form of monthly cash payments is given to women who are disabled, in need of health care and women and children living in extreme poverty. Implementation of the policy on the reintegration of teenage mother’s is a crucial area for us given the challenge of teen pregnancy. The policy has support measures that enables teenage mothers to continue their secondary education in schools and reduce school dropout rates.
The Government of Guyana continues to focus on the human side of development, with substantial resources dedicated to the provision of quality health and education, pure water supply and sanitation, implementing the decent housing agenda, green energy, improving the drainage and transport networks and youth development, among other areas.
Guyana wishes to report that initiatives in keeping with universal access to sexual and reproductive health remain a national priority in keeping with SDG 3. The national health sector strategy – the Health Vision 2020 – continues to guide investments and interventions, with the ultimate aim of achieving universal healthcare coverage.
Guyana continues to expand its Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) services including high risk clinics, and other OB/GYN consultations. Maternity waiting homes have been established to accommodate pregnant women and their families from rural locations during pre and post-delivery. Significant investments continue to be made in infrastructure nationwide with the objective of improving connectivity and bridging the divide between the hinterland and our coastal plain.
I wish to inform that the Government of Guyana has commenced its adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility Programme, which will see the construction of core houses for single family households and families living in uninhabitable homes; home improvement and consolidation of existing housing schemes.
In keeping with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, related to Goal 6 (“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”) major improvement have been made in access to potable water, particularly to Guyana’s indigenous population. Many rural regions now have access to potable water supply for the first time. The intervention has precluded them especially women and girls the arduous task of walking long distances to access potable water.
Guyana has made progress towards achieving universal primary education. In addition, Guyana has met its target of eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education and strives towards parity at the tertiary level. According to the 2015 Global Gender Gap Report Guyana is ranked 1 out of a total of 145 countries in Educational Attainment. This is a major achievement for a small developing country.
Guyana continues to address disparities in the education sector such as bridging the gap between coastal and hinterland education delivery; and monitoring sector achievements. Significant and inclusive investments will be made from nursery to university level: in analytical work, curriculum reform, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, the teaching of STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), and investing in facilities for our youths especially girls to be ready for the changing nature of work in an increasingly digital era.
In conclusion, I wish to reiterate the commitment of the Government of Guyana to greater coordination and policy coherence across our sectors to ensure that social protection, public services and infrastructure policies complement one another in their objectives, functions and financing, and harness synergies for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Guyana looks forward to continued international cooperation to enhance our social protection system for every woman and girl.
Minister of Social Protection, the Honorable Ms. Amna Ally, Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Michael Ten-Pow, Advisor to the Minister of Social Protection, Mrs. Alicia Jerome Reece and Ms. Trishala Persaud, Minister Counsellor.