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Media Center > Speeches > Statement on behalf of The Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) delivered by H.E. Mr. Pete

Statement on behalf of The Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) delivered by H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson

Statement on behalf of The Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) delivered by H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson Ambassador/ Permanent Representative of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations to the Fifty-Eighth Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

13 March 2014, New York

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) namely, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and my own country, Fiji. This PSIDS statement is aligned with the statement delivered earlier in this session by Bolivia on behalf of G77 and China.

PSIDS welcome the various Secretary-General's Reports on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and the commitment by the UN Secretary-General to women’s empowerment. In taking stock of the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the priority theme for this year’s CSW is particularly pertinent as we discuss the Post-2015 development agenda.

The MDG scorecard of PSIDS is uneven and mixed; much work remains to be done, particularly on gender equality and empowerment of women. Gender violence remains unacceptably high in the region, where far too many of our women continue to suffer from gender-based violence. Many PSIDS are putting in place gender policies, legislation and other measures to address this grave problem, along with underlying causes and preventative measures.

PSIDS see partnership as critical in mobilising collective action to support and accelerate gender equality programmes, including for young women, women and girls with disabilities, and the elderly, in conformity with the thrust of the MDGs.

The post-2015 development framework must recognize the unfinished business of the MDGs and build on the lessons learnt. It must address gaps and challenges in the achievement of gender equality from implementation of the MDGs, towards the design of an inclusive and integrated gender landscape for the post-2015 development framework.

A critical issue for PSIDS is global warming, in particular, sea level rise, ocean acidification and the increasing frequency and severity of storms and natural disasters that have disproportionately high financial, economic, social and political costs. It is well known that the first to bear the negative impacts of climate change are women and children. It is therefore difficult to talk about development and the closing of the gender inequality gap in the Pacific, without addressing climate change. PSIDS therefore call for greater political will from global leaders to combat climate change, and we decry the postponement of action as we head towards a three to four degree Celsius increase in temperature over pre-industrial levels. Global and bilateral partnerships that help develop a low carbon economy through transfer of clean technology, finance and capacity-building would represent concrete action with impacts at the national level.

Mr. Chairman,

As we renew our commitments to the Commission, CEDAW, and BPfA, learning from the lessons of the MDGs, and efforts to eradicate poverty and inequality among women and girls, we cannot do so from a business as usual approach. We need to match commitments with action and inject a sense of urgency and responsibility to do the right thing. Multilateral agencies must dedicate more resources towards gender equality issues identified by countries as their priorities, rather than utilizing earmarked non-core funding which may not reflect the priorities of recipient countries.

Mr. Chairman,

PSIDS are located on the periphery of the international system, and we are challenged to make globalization work for us. PSIDS are among the countries with the highest dependence on ODA, and we must re-orient ODA to our region to embrace economic and technological empowerment of women and girls as we go forward to the post-2015 development agenda. The cycle of gender equality and empowerment needs to be transformed and reoriented to unlock the economic potential that exist within our countries to provide decent jobs and opportunities to women and girls. We see partnership and means of implementation as critical for progress in areas such as technology transfer, and capacity-building.

This all means that investment should be focused on the productive sectors of our economy, agriculture for small holder farmers, rural and small scale fisheries, rural infrastructure development to facilitate delivery of basics services to women, including young women and girls, people with disabilities, and the elderly. PSIDS have their National Sustainable Development Strategies, but we require genuine global partnership to give us the necessary push to transform our economies. We have global frameworks that provide for partnerships beside the Barbados Program of Action, Mauritius Strategy and Istanbul Program of Action for LDCs. Unfortunately the commitments made in many of these programmes still need to be delivered upon, and with a renewed sense of commitment, as reflected in the Secretary-General’s reports.

Mr. Chairman,

PSIDS are very concerned that, too often, the economic and social statistics of PSIDS are not reflected in UN reports, most recently in the UNDP Human Development Index Report, supposedly due to a lack of data. PSIDS call for greater UN attention to this reporting problem, including improving coordination with regional organizations already providing data support for our national statistic offices, and enhancing such support. This attention is required in order for the UN to properly assess our performance in dealing with gender equality and development programmes at the national level.

Mr. Chairman,

Many PSIDS will not achieve all the MDGs by next year. We are now looking to the post-2015 Development Agenda for a more inclusive and transformative approach. The unsustainable consumption, production patterns and over-exploitation of resources has pushed us to the planetary boundary of sustainability. The SDGs must be goals that guarantee the future of our societies upon this planet. The means of implementation will be critical for such action. On the gender landscape in the post-2015 development agenda, a twin approach on the elaboration of a standalone-goal on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, with measurable targets and indicators, must also be translated and mainstreamed into other sustainable development goals under the new development framework that will guide us in the 15 years ahead.

I thank you Mr. Chairman

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