Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to thank the distinguished panelists for their comprehensive and important presentations and their clear passion and commitment for this topic. This year there have been significant developments on the advancement of gender equality, and the brave women and men around the world working to address this issue deserve our support. Though we know that intimate partner violence is endemic throughout the world, and violence against women and girls based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is also prevalent, both are under-discussed and under-reported. At the Commission on the Status of Women and the Human Rights Council, the United States highlighted the importance of addressing these problems. The Commission on the Status of Women’s Agreed Conclusions on preventing and eliminating violence against women are an important step toward elevating these issues, in an effort to ultimately end all forms of violence directed at women and girls. The document contains strong language on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, women and girls with disabilities, indigenous women and girls, harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage, as well as trafficking in persons, all U.S. priorities. The Secretary-General has recently appointed Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as UN Women’s new Executive Director. We welcome her appointment. At this moment, member states have a unique opportunity to build upon these accomplishments and push forward to advance the rights and status of women and girls globally.
We thank UN Women for its leadership on advancing the UN System-Wide Action Plan for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Both the SWAP and the UN General Assembly resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review admirably emphasize accountability on mainstreaming gender concerns across the UN system; strengthening operational development activities and country team performance in improving the status of women and girls; engaging men and boys; and improving technical expertise and data collection on gender. The Secretary-General’s gender mainstreaming report for ECOSOC also touches upon many of these themes. We welcome the initial 2013 reporting on SWAP implementation that will set the reporting baseline for the UN system and the subsequent reporting to the Chief Executive Board’s High Level Committees for Policy and Management in 2014. We encourage all members of the UN development system, as requested in the QCPR, to expand and strengthen the use of both the SWAP and the UN country team performance indicators for gender equality and the empowerment of women, or “the scorecard.” This will lead to better quality reporting and performance data for assessing gender mainstreaming in the country’s UN Development Assistance Framework. We understand UN Women is updating its Strategic Plan for presentation to the September 2013 session of the UN Women Executive Board, and we look forward to that session.
In closing, the United States congratulates UN Women on its work thus far, as well as the work of the UN system to mainstream gender equality and to fight all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls, and we welcome the opportunity to continue our productive collaboration. Thank you for your attention.
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