“The fact that we can now measure the level of equality that women have achieved in the socio-economic and political spheres is a testament to documented progress,” he said; however, cautioning that there’s still a lot to be done to significantly address the persistent incidences of injustice, lack of access to justice and violence against women; citing cultural restriction and its related stigmas that further compound the challenging conditions which women have to confront daily around the globe.
According to a dispatch from New York, Ambassador Lewis Garseedah Brown, II, made the assertion when he addressed the Third Committee of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, Agenda Item 27 with regards to the Advancement of Women at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Speaking also on the observance of the International Day of the Girl Child, he urged all to celebrate girls around the world in keeping with the 2016 theme of Liberia: “Making it Count: Advancing an Integrated Movement for Girls Empowerment.”
Ambassador Brown disclosed that 12 young ladies from Liberia have been given the privilege to celebrate the day participating in an educational exchange here in the United States through the U.S first lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn Initiative”.
Emphasizing Liberia’s 2030 Agenda which calls for a commitment to “leave no one behind,” the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations urged governments to intensify efforts to achieve equitable and sustainable development for all persons, especially the marginalized.
On processes currently underway in Liberia, Ambassador Brown highlighted the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the decentralization initiative, the ongoing implementation of the Ebola recovery plans as well as the UNMIL drawdown, as opportunities to the Liberian Government to create the conditions to meet its commitment to its entire people.
“Since the launch of the SDGs on January 2016, buttressed by government’s earlier commitments to Security Council Resolution 1325 during the review and to Goal 5 during the Leaders’ Summit in October and November 2015, respectively, Liberia is on a trajectory towards meeting its obligations,” he indicated.
Another fulfillment of the commitment of the Liberian Government, he underlined, is the endorsement of the constitutional review process by the National Legislature which saw 85 percent of propositions proffered by a multi-faceted coalition of women, being accepted; noting, that a further affirmation of the Legislature’s commitment to promoting gender equality in Liberia is the endorsement of the United Nations He-For-She Campaign.
He used the opportunity to praise development partners including UN Women for their very supportive roles in the country’s efforts to enhance the lives of all women and girls through the numerous economic, education, health, political and justice programs and initiatives currently being undertaken, cognizant of the impact of development cooperation and partnership in achieving its development objectives.
“We would like to recognize and commend UN Women, other donor Member States, organizations, regional organizations and international financial institutions in Liberia for convening a Gender Donor Forum in May 2016 with the objective of promoting better coordination amongst themselves and increasing support in the area of gender equality,” Ambassador Brown said.
He noted that as Liberia is at a critical junction in its development and democracy, transitioning into the UNMIL drawdown and a political shift with impending 2017 presidential and legislative elections, the active participation of women is crucial in both of these processes. “Women must be mobilized and encouraged to register and vote, partaking in the decision on the direction of their country and their future,” he indicated.
Ambassador Brown welcomed the Peace Building Commission’s Gender Strategy which underscores the importance of women’s leadership and participation in conflict prevention, resolution and peace-building, considering that women in Liberia are pivotal in contributing to the attainment of the peace the country enjoys.
“Our families are better, our communities are better, our societies are better, the world is better when women are empowered,” he said.