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Women’s Full and Effective Participation and Decision Making in Public Life, as well as the Elimination of Violence, for Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls.”


MONDAY: MARCH 15, 2021

Mr. Chair


Distinguished Delegates,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the African Group. At the outset, allow me, to commend you for the excellent manner in which you are conducting the work of this Commission.

2. The African Group thanks the Secretary-General for his reports submitted under this agenda item and takes note of the recommendations contained therein.

3. This year’s Session comes at a time when the world is dealing with the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have witnessed a reversal of some of the gains that were attained, and the threat to global efforts to achieve women empowerment and gender equality has become even greater. The pandemic has had a negative impact on the livelihood of women and girls, and has increased the vulnerability of women to violence. We need to ensure that Covid-19 does not reverse the gender equality progress achieved in recent decades, including women’s participation in public life. Therefore, as we build back better, we need to amongst other things, ensure that decision-making bodies are gender-balanced.

Mr. Chair,

4. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is the most progressive blueprint for Action and roadmap for the advancement of women’s rights. In this regard, we reaffirm our commitments to full implementations of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

5. We recognize that legislation provides the foundation for a holistic and effective approach in addressing the root causes of gender inequality and in eliminating barriers to women full and equal participation in public and private life. In the same vein, the international legal framework obligates and guides States in the adoption of their own laws to address violence against women and girls. Member States adhere to a range of international instruments, such as, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and members of their Families and the relevant conventions of the International Labour Organization among others.

6. The Group recognizes that governments have the responsibility of developing national policies and priorities in accordance with their international obligations and commitments to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and that the United Nations system entities should assist governments in accordance with national laws and taking into account priorities, realities and capacities.

Mr. Chair,

7. The African Group believes that several factors including poverty and lack of empowerment as well as marginalization of women resulting from their exclusion from social, economic and political policies, place women at risk of violence. The Group is also of the view that violence against women impedes the socio-economic development of communities and states, as well as the achievement of the sustainable development goals. It is therefore necessary, to strengthen access to educational opportunities and that provision of quality education, training and skill development opportunities for all women and girls are fundamental prerequisites to women’s full participation in public life.

8. There is no question that women’s agency voice and capacities are critical to local dialogues, better policies and sustainable development. Representation and participation of women at all decision-making levels is a critical goal for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Increasing the quantity, prominence and authority of women in decision-making positions will entail more adequate training in leadership skills as well as ongoing training and support for women leaders.

Mr. Chair,

9. While the marginalization of African women is rooted in historical, political, socio-economic and cultural context, their fundamental rights have however, been a priority in Africa. The Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union has demonstrated its commitment to Gender Equality and women’s empowerment through the adoption of landmark provisions and statutes. This is reflected in relevant provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Solemn Declaration and Gender Equality in Africa and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). These instruments provide the basis for holding African governments accountable for advancing the status and fundamental rights of women in their respective countries.

10. The Group applauds the ADF VI held in Addis Ababa in 2008 that called for a three-year Africa-Wide Campaign to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls. The campaign focused on fostering universal responsibility to protect women and girls, as well as preventing and punishing all forms of violence against women and girls. It also addressed underlying factors, such as, the socio-economic causes of vulnerability including women’s weak legal rights to land; housing and property; and the social code of silence surrounding Violence against Women. Indeed, the AU Agenda 2063 advocates for full gender equality in all spheres of life. In this regard, the Group believes that it is important to ensure women’s full, equal and effective participation at all levels in conflict prevention, management and resolution, peace negotiations and peacebuilding and to develop strategies to eliminate negative gender stereotypes in all spheres of life, including in the media, and foster the positive portrayal of women and girls as leaders and decision makers at all levels and in all areas.

11. The African Group recognizes that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and we call on the international community to treat human rights, including the right to development, globally in a fair and equal manner. We also believe that it is the duty of states to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, bearing in mind the significance of national and regional peculiarities, and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds.

Mr. Chair,

12. In order to realize the effective implementation of preventive measures to violence and to open opportunities for participation of all women and girls in politics and public life, the African group believes that there is the need to among other things, create employment opportunities for women as well as ensure their access to positions of decision-making and leadership. And for victims of violence, it is important toexpand referral mechanisms between multi sectoral services and implement information sharing protocols to ensure the safety of the victims and to establish protection and support services for survivors and victims’.

13. The Group therefore calls for the implementation of the comprehensive commitments made by the international community on development including transfer of Official Development Assistance, transfer of technology, access to markets and on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. These will ensure women’s equal access to economic resources, enhance their participation in decision making, and advance the empowerment of women and girls by uplifting their capabilities which would enable them to enjoy access to these resources through international co-operation.

14. In conclusion, the African Group reaffirms its support to end violence against women and girls and recognizes the role of family in this regard. We believe that more than ever, there is the need to enhance the capacity of the family to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Furthermore, the Group encourages formal and informal education programmes that will moderate the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women of all ages in order to eliminate all negative stereotypes, prejudices, harmful practices and all other practices based on sexes. This will no doubt further contribute to our efforts of eliminating harmful practices and all forms of violence against women and girls in all its manifestations. It is necessary to fund and support public information campaigns with positive messages and images of women’s role in public life to help change stereotypes and further promote the contribution of women in the creation of media activities and priorities.

I thank you.

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