Minister Faimalo leads Samoa’s delegation in New York

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By Mata'afa Keni Lesa, 15 March 2019

The Minister of Women, Community and Social Development, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers-Ah Kau, is in New York this week.

She is leading Samoa’s delegation to the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women where she presented the Samoa’s country statement on Thursday.

Supported by the Samoa’s New York mission staff, the Minister is accompanied by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Afamasaga Faaiuga Mulitalo and other senior officials from the Ministry.

The Minister and her delegation also took part in other events including the high-level round table meetings. 

The theme of this year is “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”.

Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that overall, the progress in terms of gender equality is slow.

“This picture indicates a worrying trend for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” she said in an address at the opening of the meeting.

“131 million girls worldwide are out of school, and latest data show a 6 per cent increase in the number of girls not in primary school. On average, globally, women still have only three-quarters of the legal rights of men, and more than one billion have no recourse against violence or are restricted in their education or employment—what is now being called ‘economic violence’. 

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“Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth; 99 per cent of them are women in developing countries. 

“Their deaths link inextricably to poverty and lack of services and infrastructure. And the gender digital divide persists even as opportunities for women to own digital assets increases.”

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka urged delegates to focus on change that lasts, and that can withstand the shocks of political climates that may be unconducive to human rights and women’s rights. 

“This means that we need big, bold steps not incremental steps. Well-coordinated and integrated infrastructure and social protection that reach large proportions of the population, especially the poorest, the young and old and most in need, can give us that leap ahead.

“The families and communities most likely to be left behind are those who lack access to adequate infrastructure, who have restricted mobility, and those who cannot afford private services, such as child care, water, education or telecommunications infrastructure. 

“These are the millions who rely on charity, and public service and social protection to meet their basic needs. These are the priorities of CSW 63, which is going to focus on closing these gaps.”

She also reminded that next year is UN Women’s 10th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. 

“Time is up! These anniversaries will be marked to accelerate and scale up progress in the delivery of the interventions much needed by society. We invite you to take part in these big moments.

“We need a strong response to the unprecedented population of young people so that it truly becomes a demographic dividend. We also need to deliver services in an era of longer life expectancy and ageing populations. Plans must be tailor-made for both the needs of the young and of the aging. Women and girls will be better served by using reliable data and innovative responses to public sector policies.

“CSW63 is a moment to reflect on how we deliver, integrate and coordinate policies on much- needed and lifechanging policies and infrastructure. I urge this Commission to seize this opportunity to make historic progress. It falls upon a generation to be great and make change, as Nelson Mandela said, and you are that generation.”

MK
By Mata'afa Keni Lesa, 15 March 2019

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