Consolidating 25 Years of Achievements to Accelerate the Promise of Cairo

Bilde fra Kvinnedagen - Photo:Norwegian Mission
From the left: the Ambassador of Kenya, H.E. Dr. Cleopa Mailu, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and the Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway, H.E. Trine Heimerback.

On March 8th, Norway and UNFPA organized a side-event called “Consolidating 25 years of achievements to accelerate the promise of Cairo” to celebrate International Women’s Day and the 25th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development. The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, held opening remarks.

During a moderated inter-generational dialogue celebrating the contribution of the ICPD agenda to the realization of the rights of women and girls, H.E. Trine Heimerback delivered this statement (check against delivery):

“Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Congratulations to you all on International Women’s Day! This is the week for side events! But we think this is going to be a very good one!

On behalf of Norway, UNFPA and our co-sponsors Botswana, Kenya, Uruguay, Mexico, Portugal, Ethiopia and The Netherlands, IPPF and WYCA - it is a great pleasure to warmly welcome you today, as we mark the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development. The ICPD program still remains the gold standard to which we as States measure ourselves against.

The ICPD – 25 years on – is not a ‘document for the shelves’. It is as relevant as ever. It concerns life itself; it is about the health and rights of men and women and it is about ending violence and harmful practices.
Fundamentally, it is about how gender equality is the pathway for development, in all our countries, in all circumstances, and across generations.

Progress has been made to ensure that women and girls are able to fully enjoy all human rights. But the promise of the ICPD has not been fully kept. Even hard-fought gains are now under threat.

In particular we must work harder to promote, protect, and fulfil sexual and reproductive health and rights. Women and girls everywhere should have the right to make decisions regarding their own health, lives and bodies, free from coercion, harassment and violence.

Norway remains committed to increasing our funding on reproductive health. We know from experience that investment in women and girls is the best investment any government can make. We appreciate the groundwork that has been done and know that we stand on the shoulders of a brave generation of women (and some men!). And we want nothing more than to inspire the next.

Today I hope we will have a productive discussion on how to accelerate the promise made in Cairo 25 years ago. This moment is as much a time to celebrate achievements, as it is to roll up our sleeves!

To overcome challenges and roadblocks, we need shakers and movers, we need strong voices and we need ‘doers’. We need champions on all arenas of society. We need leaders who hold other leaders accountable. Our keynote speaker today, is precisely such a person.

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has been a role model for decades. She has held the highest office in her native Chile. But then you took the job to set up UNWomen as its first Executive Director – that speaks volumes about your priorities and we are so pleased to have you back in the UN.

You have spoken on the issues we will talk about today from the platform as president and a doctor and as a UN Head – but I know from experience that you have also shared your advice and stories and empowered young people in private settings as you have travelled the world in order to make sure that the many fights continue.

Thank you for being part of this inter-generational discussion today. Madame, you have the floor.»