Nordic-Baltic Statement on the Integration of a Gender Perspective

Annual Discussion on Integration of a Gender Perspective. Nordic-Baltic statement on 15 September 2017.

As delivered by  Ambassaor Andre Pung, Permanenet Representative of Estonia.

Mr. President,

Distinguished panellists,

I have the honour of making this intervention on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and Estonia.

Women and girls are entitled to live with dignity, with full respect for their integrity, and free from fear and discrimination.

Discrimination against women and girls should not be accepted under any circumstances. There should be zero tolerance of harmful practices and we should not accept anything but ensuring women’s full and effective participation at all levels of decision-making in the political, economic and public life. It is also our belief that we cannot progress with equality unless we ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights to all women and girls.

The fulfilment of women’s and girls’ rights as well as ensuring gender equality are crucial elements in the fight against poverty and in ensuring sustainable development. Combating and eliminating all forms of violence against women is also a necessary precondition, as it has an enormous negative economic impact on entire societies. Therefore, raising awareness and collecting data about these costs gives a strong additional incentive to seek gender equality as a factor of global economic prosperity.  In our countries, we have experienced how important women’s empowerment is for inclusive social and economic development. While non-discrimination is first and foremost a human right, striving for gender equality further has positive spill-over effects that benefits the whole society. Research has also revealed that gender equality also benefits the well-being and health of individual men and women.

Through the 2030 agenda and its SDGs, in particular goal 3 and 5, States have committed to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, including women’s right to control their own bodies and sexuality. Here, the UPR can play an important part in helping to mainstream the human rights of women and girls.

The UPR is a unique tool in that it allows each state the opportunity to evaluate, first and foremost, our own progress and achievements, as well as shortcomings, to lead the way to better implementation, also by advancing national dialogue and engaging different stakeholders, including women and girls. A large number of UPR recommendations do relate to the rights of women and girls. We call upon states to use women’s rights as a lens in both policy-making and in implementing the recommendations.

Just as the UPR and the 2030 Agenda are universal tools, the enjoyment of all human rights by every woman and girl should be a universal reality!

Thank you.