CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
Statement delivered by
H.E. IRENE SUSAN B. NATIVIDAD
Deputy Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations
During the Third Committee Debate on
Agenda Item 27: Advancement of Women
69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Thank you, Madam Chair.
We express our sincere appreciation to His Excellency Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly, for his presence and remarks. Let me reiterate the Philippines’ full support for his presidency.
The Philippines aligns itself with the statements made by the Plurinational State of Bolivia on behalf of G77 and China and by Cambodia on behalf of ASEAN.
We also thank the Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women and the Deputy Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) for their introductory statements, as well as the Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for her very informative report.
We are at the threshold of a very important year in the advancement of women’s right’s: in 2015, we as a global community will assess and evaluate our progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and adopt a post-2015 development agenda. Equally important, 2015 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPFA).
The Philippine Progress Report shows that since the conclusion of the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995, the gender gap has narrowed in education, peace and political participation. Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women have also been developed and strengthened.
One landmark development is the leadership role of women in the Philippine peace process. The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is led by a woman and the chief negotiator for the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is a woman. Indeed, it will not be an overstatement to say that their being women is one of the critical factors that led to the successful conclusion of the peace talks, resulting in the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
Even as the Progress Report acknowledges that challenges remain in the area of reproductive health and the effects of poverty, it notes the landmark passage of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law after 13 years of contentious, emotional discourse, and whose constitutionality the Supreme Court affirmed only last April 2014. The Reproductive Health Law is a major legislative development that is intended to, among others, address high maternal deaths related to childbirth. It guarantees universal access to all methods of family planning, fertility management, sexuality education, and maternal care.
Our Progress Report also shows that there are new or emerging issues that require priority attention: these include new forms of violence in electronic media and those related to the impact of climate change.
The rapid development of information technology has given rise to new forms of violence against women and girls, particularly cyber prostitution and cyber pornography.
Climate change, on the other hand, has increased the number and intensified the severity of natural disasters faced by the Philippines. These have highlighted the need to develop the capacity of both national and local government units to provide gender-responsive interventions during situations of disaster and calamity.
The efficient coordination and harmonization of the work of UN Women, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is pivotal to the advancement of women.
The Philippines had the honor of chairing the 58th Session of the CSW, which focused on the theme “Challenges and Achievements in the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls.” This was the first time that the Commission had undertaken a detailed and careful goal-by-goal assessment of the MDGs for women and girls, and it produced passionate and spirited discussions that underlined the importance of the issue to all members.
Assessments indicated that progress on the MDGs for women and girls has been slow and uneven. As such, the Agreed Conclusions called for action in five (5) areas, namely: (1) realizing women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of all human rights; (2) strengthening the enabling environment for gender equality and the empowerment of women; (3) maximizing investments in gender equality and the empowerment of women; (4) strengthening the evidence-base for gender equality and the empowerment of women; and (5) ensuring women’s participation and leadership at all levels and strengthening accountability.
With preparations for the 59th Session underway, my delegation wishes to express at this point our full support to Thailand in its chairmanship of the Commission.
As we indicated during the discussion on Agenda Items 106 and 107 on Crime and Drugs, we will be presenting our biennial resolution on Trafficking in women and girls. The resolution will strengthen the gender aspect of trafficking and highlight the impact of humanitarian and natural disasters on trafficking in women and girls. It will also integrate the responses received from Member States and UN entities on efforts and measures undertaken to combat trafficking in women and girls.
We thank the Secretary General for his report on this matter. In this regard, we note again with concern the low number of responses received on the Secretary’s General’s request for information. Only 28 Member States and 10 UN entities provided inputs. We hope that more responses will be received and we look forward to the support of Member States to this resolution that addresses the issue in a comprehensive manner.
We also urge Member States to support the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
We commend UN Women for its achievements in mainstreaming a gender perspective into the work and processes of the UN system bodies. As the Secretary General’s report shows, progress remains uneven across the different bodies and we encourage UN Women to continue to raise awareness on this so that it may be systematically integrated into their work and processes.
Of particular importance are the upcoming Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which the consideration and integration of a gender perspective is extremely crucial, given their expected contributions to the post-2015 development agenda.
The inclusion of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls as a stand-alone goal in the sustainable development goals ensures that it is integrated into all targets and indicators. As a stand-alone goal, attention could be focused such important issues as violence against women and girls, women’s unpaid work and the wage gap, access to assets and productive resources, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women in conflict and disasters. We look forward to contributing to the discussion on and elaboration of these issues.
Thank you, Madam Chair.