United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Women

Distinguished Co-chairs, delegates, Major Groups, CSOs and friends,
At this point and focused on specific input as requested by the Co-chairs, WMG
are raising just three key issues as discussed in open plenary this afternoon, with
fuller comments on state of the text tomorrow afternoon at the Closing.
As concerns para pre 35 and 35, on the issue of causality links between
disasters and climate change we call for the full retention of the pre-para, as
is, with no qualifiers.
The latest IPPC report does not say that there are NO causality links established
between disasters and climate change. It says that it is still early to scientifically
confirm DIRECT causality because these are complex systems and there is still
longterm work to be done for scientific certainty, as for many aspects of climate
change even while having full clarity on the major elements of anthropogenic
origins and causality. But this is nowhere near the position heard earlier today,
from one State.
Additionally, and more important than even direct causality being established,
this para affirms that SIDS, by virtue of their recognised complex and vulnerable
characteristics, and already long-observed and agreed current experience of
climate change impacts, thereby experience exacerbated disaster risks.
The EMDAT Disaster Database, for example, shows a clear increase in the
number of natural disasters occurring in the SIDS between 1970 and 2010. Over
110 and 187 disasters affected the Pacific and Caribbean regions, respectively,
between 2000 and 2011 (UNISDR 2013). The World Risk Index presented in the
2012 World Risk Report (UNU 2012) also identifies global disaster risk hotspots
where high exposure to natural hazards and climate change coincides with very
vulnerable societies. So among the 15 countries with the highest risk worldwide,
eight are small island states. Moreover, the impacts of these events are intensified
in SIDS, due to negative synergies between population increase, environmental
degradation, inappropriate environmental engineering and construction, climate
change and sea level rise (Thaman 2013).
So the Women’s Major Group urges States to agree to paragraph #pre 35
unchanged, and to ensure clear formulation of this section linking DRR and
climate change.
Secondly, on questions from the floor on definitions of ‘universal health
coverage’, this is defined by the World Health Organisation as ‘ensuring that all
people have access to needed promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative
health services, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that
people do not suffer financial hardship when paying for these services.’1
Further though, we clearly affirm that women’s health is critical for core
agency and all human rights, and overall community wellbeing. The condition
of subordination and inequality experienced by girls and women can place them
in situations where their overall ability to claim their rights to universal healthcare
systems and services, and their ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive
rights are drastically compromised. Despite some progress in SIDS, girls and
women still lack the information and means to realize our personal and bodily
For these reasons alone, the international community has, as a moral imperative,
to measure better the effectiveness, accessibility and quality of health programs,
1 http://www.who.int/healthsystems/universal_health_coverage/en/
with specific attention to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), with
no qualifications. This also necessitates participatory and social accountability
approaches, so that women are able to influence those areas that require
sustained political, social and financial investments. We therefore also see it as
critical to include UNFPA and UNWomen in the list of organisations in sub-para b
of para 56. And we thank Norway for raising this issue.
In closing, we acknowledge both G77 and EU for raising in this afternoon
session that it is important both to specifically make reference to gender
equality and human rights through a dedicated section, and mainstreamed
through the text. We therefore call for this to be clearly reflected in the
‘S.A.M.O.A Pathway’ Outcome document through the specific inclusion of
references to gender equality normative agreements of Beijing Platform for Action
and ICPD Programme of actions and follow-up agreements, including the ICPD
Plus Five Key Actions, Beijing Plus Five, ICPD Plus Ten, CPD and CSW resolutions,
etc - All this long agreed by States, including SIDS. As you know, this is important
for SIDS women in order to ensure non-regression, and we look forward to seeing
this reflected in the text.
In another important gender reference, we recall the suggestion to make
reference to unpaid care work, including from agreed language. So noting that
the most recent CSW58 agreed conclusion referred to the need to, “Recognize,
reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work through shared
responsibility between women and men in households and between households
and the state through the provision of social services and infrastructure.”
Thank you for your attention.
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