New York, US (PANA) - The Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Ms. Michelle Bachelet, has said sustainable development will not be achieved without empowering women.
In a statement she made available to PANA in New York, Ms. Bachelet therefore said the importance of their (women) participation must be reflected in all aspects of the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
''We cannot afford to leave women marginalized. This is not sustainable. This social exclusion of women is not only hurting women, it is hurting all of us.
''The outcome document must highlight women’s roles throughout the entire text, as their participation permeates all aspects of sustainable development, including agriculture, education, environmental management and decision-making, among others.
''Women’s contribution should not just be as an isolated paragraph in the text but should be mainstreamed in all the aspects of it,'' she said.
The UN official also emphasized actions that world leaders must undertake to fully integrate women into societies so they could contribute and benefit from sustainable development.
''These include taking measures to ensure that women can access leadership roles, encouraging their participation in the economy, and stopping violence and discrimination, which is still endemic in many parts of the world''.
''The future women want is free from poverty and discrimination, with equal access to
opportunities and leadership, with wise stewardship of natural resources,” Bachelet
Also, the former Prime Minister of Norway and Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General
on Climate Change, Ms. Gro Harlem Brundtland, underscored the need to reaffirm and
strengthen the principle on women’s participation, which was put forward on Agenda 21,
the plan of action adopted at the first Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, 20 years ago.
''There was an amount of awareness then, but this needs to be strengthened. This is the time to put behind us the tendency to underestimate the role of women. It is an outrageous oversight.
''Now is the time to unleash the largest untapped potential for sustainable development so we do not lose out on half of the world’s intelligence,'' she said.
PANA learnt that UN Women will be hosting a series of event during the 20-22 June Rio conference, including a Leaders’ Forum on Tuesday and a Women Leaders’ Summit on Thursday.
The High-Level segment of the conference is expected to bring together over 100 heads of state and government, along with thousands of MPs, mayors, UN officials, chief executive officers and civil society leaders to shape new policies to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 19June2012