UNITED NATIONS, New York — UNFPA, The United Nations Population Fund, welcomes the agreement by the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that clearly reaffirms the international community’s commitments to gender equality and the empowerment and human rights of women and girls. We also welcome the Commission’s reaffirmation of the importance of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.
I commend the Commission’s strong recognition of the vital role of women and girls in achieving sustainable development. Yet, I strongly believe that women must be considered not merely as drivers, agents and equal beneficiaries of development, but, rather, as full-fledged decision-makers in all issues affecting their own well-being, including their sexual and reproductive health, as well as the well-being of their families, communities and countries.
UNFPA particularly welcomes the Commission’s emphasis that promoting, protecting and respecting women’s freedoms and human rights should be mainstreamed into all poverty eradication policies. We also welcome their call for the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.
UNFPA also strongly agrees with the Commission that progress towards achieving Millennium Development Goal 5, on improving maternal health, and its two targets, to reduce maternal death and achieve universal access to reproductive health, has been slow and uneven. There is an urgent need to fully achieve this goal, which is still far from being realized. There is also a need to ensure that maternal health and universal access to sexual and reproductive health are central to any future development agenda.
The CSW conclusions reflect the sincere determination of United Nations Member States to further promote, protect and fulfill the human rights of women and girls. However, in accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and laying the ground for effectively achieving gender equality and the realization of the human rights of women and girls in the post-2015 development agenda, it is essential to redouble our efforts to ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and adolescent girls, including through the development and enforcement of policies and legal frameworks and strengthening of legal systems that make universally accessible and available quality, comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health care services, commodities, information, and education, including comprehensive sexuality education for all young people, in and out of school, with particular attention to adolescent girls.