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UN chief announces first-ever High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment

At World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) announces creation of first ever UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment . Also pictured Justine Greening, Development Secretary, United Kingdom (centre) and Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank (right). UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

21 January 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the first-ever High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment to provide leadership and mobilize concrete actions aimed at closing economic gender gaps that persist around the world.

“The empowerment of the world’s women is a global imperative,” said Mr. Ban in a press release, issued while he attends dozens of events at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Yet despite important progress in promoting gender equality, there remains an urgent need to address structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment and full inclusion in economic activity,” he added. “If the world is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we need a quantum leap in women’s economic empowerment.”

According to UN Women, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the panel will provide recommendations for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve economic outcomes for women and promote women’s leadership in driving sustainable and inclusive, environmentally sensitive economic growth.

It is backed by the United Kingdom, the World Bank Group and UN Women, with the President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, and the CEO of IKEA Switzerland, Simona Scarpaleggia, as the panel co-chairs. They will be joined by a diverse range of eminent gender and equality actors, economics experts, academics, trade union leaders, business and government representatives from all regions.

“Investing in girls and women isn’t just about basic human rights, it’s about fully unlocking the potential of half the world’s population,” said UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening, a founding member of the panel. “Strong economies need the contribution of everyone – including women – and this panel will spearhead a movement to put women’s economic empowerment on the global agenda like never before.”

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, also a founding member of the panel, said “no society, community or economy can achieve its full potential – or meet the escalating challenges of the 21st century – until all its people can achieve theirs.”

The High-Level Panel will have its inaugural meeting during the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at UN Headquarters in New York next March.

Meanwhile, the UN chief also announced the first members of the High-level Advisory Group for Every Woman Every Child who will help provide leadership and inspire actions for women, children adolescents’ health.

The group will advise the Secretary-General and guide the transition of the Every Woman Every Childmovement and the newly launched Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

Co-chaired by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, the group aims to end all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents by 2030 and to support the achievement of the SDGs.

Also in Davos today, Mr. Ban and World Bank President Kim jointly announced their intention to form a new panel to mobilize urgent action towards the sustainable development goal for water and sanitation (SDG 6).

The announcement comes as countries experience water stress and water-related disasters that will grow worse due to climate change without better policy decisions, stressed a note issued by the UN Spokesperson.

“Water is a precious resource, crucial to realizing the SDGs, which at their heart aim to eradicate poverty,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The new panel can help motivate the action we need to turn ideas into reality.”

Co-chaired by the Presidents of Mauritius and Mexico, it will comprise a group of heads of State and Government from developed and developing countries.

“Achieving the water global goal would have multiple benefits, including laying the foundations for food and energy security, sustainable urbanization, and ultimately climate security,” said President Jim Yong Kim. “My hope is that this panel accelerates action in many countries so that we can make water more accessible to all.”

Cyprus: UN chief holds first joint meeting with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) attends a trilateral luncheon in Davos, Switzerland, with Nicos Anastasiades (left), President of the Republic of Cyprus and and Mustafa Akinci, Leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

21 January 2016 – In his first joint meeting with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged them to “capitalize on the current positive momentum” to reunite the island under a federal government.

“Significant progress has been made in this leader-led process over the past eight months, demonstrating that with political will, it is possible to reach compromises even on the most difficult issues,” he told journalists after meeting Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci in Davos, Switzerland, on the margins of the World Economic Forum.

“At the same time, it is also clear that a number of sensitive and difficult issues still remain. I encouraged the leaders to capitalize on the current positive momentum. It will be crucial as they move forward to tackle outstanding issues across the different chapters.”

The UN has been mediating talks between the two communities for eight years in an effort to reunite the Mediterranean island by establishing a federal government. The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, Espen Barth Eide, is facilitating intensive negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders.

The talks recently have focussed on such issues as property rights, compensation and crossing points among others.

The UN has deployed a peacekeeping force in Cyprus, known as UNFICYP, since 1964, when inter-communal fighting erupted.

“I encouraged Mr. Akinci and Mr. Anastasiades to continue working tirelessly towards finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue as soon as possible, for the benefit of all Cypriots.” Mr. Ban said today.

“I also call on all interested international players, especially the guarantor powers, to do their utmost to facilitate and support the leaders in their quest for overcoming the division of Cyprus.”

Special Adviser Eide, who attended today’s talks, said last year that both leaders have continued to make progress towards “their shared vision of a united, federal Cyprus.”

Ban welcomes three-party ministerial meeting on dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Gabon

Children collecting water at a public fountain in Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea. Photo: Rodrigo A. Nguema/IRIN

21 January 2016 – United Nations Secretary-General today welcomed the holding of a trilateral ministerial meeting on the dispute between Equatorial Guinea and the Gabonese Republic.

The meeting took place last Tuesday United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The longstanding dispute between the two nations regarding the Mbanié, Cocotiers and Congas islands, and common boundaries, dates back to the early 1970’s.

“He congratulates both parties for their demonstrated political will to instil new momentum in the process and to finalize a special agreement for submission to the International Court of Justice,” indicated a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s Spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General notes the progress made to date and the parties’ willingness to do their utmost to come to a mutually agreeable solution to this longstanding dispute before the end of his mandate,” it added.

The UN chief also reiterated his readiness “to provide good offices to help resolve this dispute.”

Source: United Nations


Karl William


United Nations Section

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Robert Williams

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