ECOSOC to work to help women, encourage international development

11:56, June 26, 2010      

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The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said here Friday that it will focus on women's equality and empowerment as well as development cooperation in the coming weeks.

ECOSOC, under the auspices of its current president, Hamidon Ali, is the UN organization charged with coordinating a wide variety of UN agencies and commissions and serving as a forum for member states, civil society, and the private sector to discuss social and economic issues and make policy recommendations.

Ali spoke to the press on Friday about the high-level segment of the 2010 ECOSOC Substantive Session, which will run from June 28 to July 2 and tackle the issues of women's rights and development both separately as well as in relation to one another.

Ali's statements to the press focused on the connection between women's equality and meeting the UN's targets for international development progress, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He emphasized that women's empowerment "remains at the very heart" of reaching the MDGs targets by the 2015 deadline.

"Expanding women's economic activity is vital for the development of a country. Women are operators of change," he said. "They perform 66 percent of world's work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of income and own only one percent of property and continue to represent 60 percent of the world's poorest."

He also drew attention to the problem of violence against women, calling it "a global pandemic" that contributes to oppression and poverty, and ensuring that ECOSOC will make such violence a main topic of discussion at the high-level segment.

These gender issues will play a central role in the high-level meeting through the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), a session that will allow sharing of different points-of-view and best practices on women's equality and development, including those of the Secretary-General and several member states.

At the close of the session, members of ECOSOC will adopt a Ministerial Declaration to articulate how best to proceed in empowering women internationally.

Another notable element of the upcoming high-level segment will be the Development Cooperation Forum (DCF).

"The DCF will review progress in trans-international development cooperation with the main objective of promoting coherent, accountable, and effective development activities of all development sectors," said Ali.

The forum comes in the context of the lack of significant progress by many countries towards the MDGs and will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to share information about their development practices and help build more positive momentum.

According to Ali, ECOSOC believes that integrating governments, donor and recipient countries, as well as civil society is indispensable to assuring the effectiveness of aid and resulting success on the MDGs.

"Our discussion next week will make an important contribution to this event in September," he said, referring to the important General Assembly MDG Summit planned for September.

Source: Xinhua


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