Commission on the Status of Women: Statement by Ambassador Thoms on “Review of the implementation of the Beijing Programme of Action and the outcome of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly"

Mar 17, 2014

"Madam Chair,

I congratulate you on your appointment as chair of the Commission on the Status of Women. 

2015 – the final year of the Millennium Development Goals – is approaching quickly. This is both an incentive and a challenge! We can demonstrate and build on remarkable progress - for example significantly lower poverty rates. But we have less than two years left to fulfill our commitments and several goals, especially for women and girls, will not be achieved in time. 

Madam Chair, 

Germanyis strongly committed to the promotion, protection and fulfillment of human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, to poverty reduction and to inclusive and sustainable development. 

We believe that gender equality, women's empowerment and the promotion of the rights of all women and girls are a universal priority and should therefore be integral to all our efforts. 

Madam Chair, 

"Equal rights, equal opportunities and equal power for women and men" is a key principle of our policies. 

Let me assure you that we still have a lot of work to do, as gender equality is not yet a reality in Germany! Gender-based discrimination and inequality also occur in my country. 

The first report on gender equality in Germany 2011 shows clearly that women still have limited economic opportunities and less decision-making power in public and private spheres than men. The gender pay gap is another example. 

The Federal Government of Germany will therefore remain highly committed to ensure equal rights and equal opportunities for women and men, as well as for girls and boys. Domestically we will introduce a quota to improve the representation of women on  executive boards of companies. We will also enhance our policies and services which facilitate the compatibility of women’s professional and private lives. We know that the freedom of our society depends on how equally men and women work and live. 

At the international level, German development cooperation will continue to support the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in partnership with governments, civil society, the private sector and international organizations. 

We will put a special focus on the enforcement of women’s and girls’ human rights. We will also continue to address gender-specific discrimination which has been overlooked by the current MDG framework including the role of women as active agents in the prevention and resolution of armed conflicts and conflict management, violence against women and girls, access to and control over productive resources, as well as gender-specific challenges of climate change. 

Madam Chair, 

Germany is convinced that ending gender-based discrimination and inequality is not only an important development goal in itself, but it will also significantly contribute to poverty reduction, improved livelihoods, food security and a more inclusive and sustainable development. 

Therefore, Germany would like to underline the importance of sending strong signals which emphasize our commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals in general and for the empowerment of women and girls in particular. We hope that we are united in striving to first and foremost achieve the Millennium Development Goals, before focusing our attention on designing a new development framework. 

Nonetheless, we all know that consultations and actions are well under way to define a new development agenda. Germany fully agrees with the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, of which Germany’s former Federal President Horst Köhler was a member, that business-as-usual is not an option anymore. We cannot leave anyone behind! 

We are strongly committed to designing an ambitious and transformative, human rights-based, as well as impact-oriented post-2015 agenda. 

We will therefore support UN Women in advocating a process which reflects gender equality, the empowerment of women, and the enforcement of women’s and girl’s rights as a goal in itself. 

In addition, we will stand up for systematic and comprehensive gender mainstreaming across all other goals, both through specific targets and by applying indicators, which are disaggregated by gender. 

We will support a post-2015 agenda which focuses on:

-  the promotion of women’s voice, leadership, and participation at all levels

-  the promotion of women’s economic opportunities and their equal access to services and resources,

- the prevention and eradication of violence against women and girls and

- the strengthening of women’s and girl’s human rights through laws, regulations and policies. 

Madam Chair,

Germany is convinced that achieving gender equality and women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of all human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, is more than just a slogan. It requires political will, resources, as well as specific and concrete actions not only for women and girls but especially withthem. With all their potential, knowledge, and experience, women are drivers of social and economic development! 

Therefore, Germany remains committed to ensuring that their voices, especially the voices of those facing multiple forms of discrimination and exclusion, are heard, that their participation and leadership is acknowledged, and that their opportunities are increased. 

I thank you."

© GermanyUN