August 29, 2014

Promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment

Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, 3-7 February

Cyprus-Singapore-UAE

Mr Co-Chairs,

1                              I have the pleasure to deliver these remarks on behalf of Cyprus, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.  We would like to thank the UN Technical Support Team (TST) for putting together comprehensive issues briefs on promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment.

2                              Inequalities come in all shapes and sizes, such as income, gender, ethnicity and location.  The troika believes that inequalities, in all their forms and manifestations, should be tackled, as they pose social, economic and environmental threats to sustainable development.  These threats, which are aptly laid out in the TST brief, demonstrate that inequalities are multidimensional and intersecting in nature, driven and sustained by structural factors, and generally linked to poverty.  

3                              However, the focus on promoting equality, including social equity, in order to advance sustainable development should be practical and balanced by what member states can achieve at the implementation level, taking the political, economic, social and cultural sensitivities into account.  As such, rather than a dedicated sustainable development goal (SDG) on inequalities, the troika is of the view that we could consider streamlining it into the possible SDGs, targets and indicators, given the cross-cutting nature of equality. 

4                              On gender equality and women’s empowerment, the troika is of the view that it is an essential and powerful driver to foster sustainable development.  However, gender discrimination remains pervasive across all regions, whether developing or developed, regardless of cultural norms, traditions or values.  To make strides towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, equal opportunities and equal access to fundamental resources should be provided for all, regardless of gender. To achieve full and equal participation and leadership of women in all areas of sustainable development, gender equality should be mainstreamed into various SDGs and targets.   

5                              I thank you.