Statement by UNFPA Representative at 74th UN Day Commemorations
Ms. Jacqueline Mahon
On behalf of UN System in Tanzania
On the occasion of the 74th Anniversary of the Establishment of the UN - 24 October, 2019
· Hon. Palamagamba Kabudi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation
· Hon. Ministers, Deputy Ministers
· Permanent Secretaries, Directors
· Excellences, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Heads of International Organizations
· UN Colleagues
· Chairpersons of the UN Association (UNA) and Youth of the United Nations Association (YUNA)
· Religious Leaders
· Civil Society Representatives
· Friends from the Media
· Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
Asalam Aleikhum and a very good morning!
Part I: Reaffirming Partnership with Tanzania
On behalf of the UN Tanzania family, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being here today to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations. I would especially like to thank Hon. Palamagamba Kabudi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, for being the guest of honour and for participating in today’s commemorations. We, as the UN, are very grateful, thank you. Thank you also to all of you who have, in one way or another, made this event possible under the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation.
On behalf of the UN in Tanzania, I feel honoured and privileged to be addressing all of you here today as we celebrate the 74th Anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations. Seventy-four years ago, at the end of the second world war, a small group of 51 members states came together to promote peace and development; that number has now grown to 193 member states. Since 1948, the 24th of October, which marks the birthday of our founding Charter – the landmark document that embodies the hopes, dreams and aspirations of “we the peoples”, has been celebrated as United Nations Day.
It is also an opportunity to thank the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for continuing to receive and host refugees from neighbouring countries. We understand the challenges this presents to the country and deeply appreciate this commitment to international humanitarian law.
Allow me to extend greetings from the Secretary-General to Tanzania and to read the Secretary-General’s message for this year’s UN Day.
AND I QUOTE
United Nations Day highlights the enduring ideals of the Charter, which entered into force on this date 74 years ago.
Amid stormy global seas, the Charter remains our shared moral anchor.
At this time of turbo-charged change, the United Nations remains focused on the real problems of real people.
We are working for a fair globalization and bold climate action.
We are pushing for human rights and gender equality -- and saying “no” to hatred of any kind.
And we are striving to maintain peace – while bringing life-saving aid to millions caught up in armed conflict.
The United Nations itself is becoming ever more agile and accountable as we enhance support to countries.
Next year marks the Organization’s 75th anniversary. This milestone is a critical moment to shape our future, together.
I invite you to join the conversation. Together, let us advance the well-being of “we the peoples”.
End of Quote
Part II – Global Drivers & UN work on Empowering Women & Girls
The national theme for this year’s UN Day commemorations is ‘Women and Girls at the Forefront of Achieving the SDGs’. It shines a spotlight on the integral link between women and girl’s empowerment and gender equality and the realization of the 2030 Agenda.
This year we also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the main piece of international law ratified by 196 countries that guarantees the rights of all children – both girls and boys – under the age of 18. It is also the 25th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development Kongamano la Kimataifa la Idadi ya Watu na Maendeleo (ICPD) in Cairo where 179 countries adopted a ground-breaking Programme of Action that put reproductive health and rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, at the centre of national and global development efforts.
Next year we will mark the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most visionary agenda to realize equal opportunities for women and girls everywhere.
The UN in Tanzania continues to work closely with the government and other partners to accelerate progress on SDG 5: Achieve gender quality and empower all women and girl – and to ensure that women and children are guaranteed healthy lives, free from violence, education and full social inclusion.
Eliminating violence against women and girls (VAWC) is a target of SDG 5 and a prerequisite for gender equality. Violence against women and girls causes long-lasting physical and psychological harm and is a major obstacle to the fulfilment of women's and girls' human rights.
UN agencies played an important role in supporting the development of the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children and we are currently working closely with the government and other stakeholders to implement it.
The UN has supported the establishment of more than 50 gender desks at police stations in over 40 districts across the country. These desks provide a safe space for women and girls to report cases of physical and sexual abuse and carve out an avenue to services and justice that did not exist before. The establishment of the gender desks have been complemented by campaigns at the community level, conducted in partnership with local government authorities and other partners, that advocate for the elimination of VAWCand encourage survivors to report incidents of violence.
The number of VAWC cases reported in UN-supported districts is increasing as women and girls have a better understanding of the services and support in place to help them. Over 20,000 cases were reported in 2017 and 2018 alone.
We, at the UN, will continue to support the government to implement the NPA-VAWC.
Women’s economic empowerment is also central to realizing women’s rights and gender equality and to sustained economic growth and shared prosperity.
Women in Tanzania constitute more than 50 per cent of the population and make huge contributions to Tanzania’s economy through entrepreneurship, agriculture and unpaid care work, among other activities. But compared to men, women’s employment is neither as secure nor as well-paid. Women also hold fewer senior positions at the workplace than men.
To address economic inequalities the UN is supporting government efforts to enable women entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods. By linking this group with predictable markets and affordable financial services, and introducing them to good agricultural practices and technology, they can move up the value chain and make their work less labour intensive.
This support has reached over 22,000 women entrepreneurs and over 20,000 women smallholder maize farmers.
A specific target of SDG 5 is to ensure that women in Tanzania have full participation in leadership and decision-making. The UN is supporting the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to promote gender equality and the political empowerment of womenand advance progress on this target through the Women’s Leadership and Political Participation Project (Wanawake Wanaweza). We are also supporting various initiatives to ensure that women, including those with disabilities, can lead and participate in decision-making at all levels– social, economic and political.
(Ensuring that girls have equitable access to quality education is an integral part of achieving gender equality and the global goals. Educating girls can help to make communities and societies healthier, wealthier and safer, and can also help to reduce child deaths and improve maternal health.
The UN is working with girls to build their life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem so that they can actively participate in their own development, their communities and Tanzania’s. As of 2018, more than 135,000 girls in over 1,500 schools across Tanzania have been empowered to participate in decisions that impact on their learning, health and protection.
We, the UN, is also working with government, development partners and others to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all people of Tanzania, a target of SGD 5, and in line with the ICPD Programme of Action. We are strengthening health systems to deliver quality and equitable family planning information and services and maternal and child health care to ensure that all women and girls in Tanzania have real choices and rights in all aspects of their lives.
I would like to thank all of our development partners and donors, without whom these and many other activities would not be possible. I would also like to thank heads and representatives of UN agencies and all UN staff that work tirelessly to provide humanitarian and development support to Tanzania. Ninasema Asanteni Sana!
Part III – call to action
Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls for achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030. Although it is an individual SDG, gender equality is central to the achievement of each of the 17 goals as well as supporting the success of the 2030 Agenda. Only by providing women and girls with equal voices, choices and opportunities, by addressing the inequalities that exist between men and women at home, at work, in public and in private will we be able to achieve sustained and inclusive development.
The UN in Tanzania calls on all stakeholders across the country to ensure that women and girls have the tools and capacity to take informed decisions to shape their futures. The private sector, academia, civil society, youth, the international community and all groups should ensure that women and girls are treated equally and are given a fair and equitable chance to participate and be included in all aspects of society.
Not only is this the right thing to do – it’s also the best thing for Tanzania to do, economically, politically and socially – to ensure that no one is left behind.
We have seen that when women's voices are heard, when they participate in decision making and when they exercises leadership, the contributions they make are unique, of high value and key to decisions that impact all of our lives.
Many incredible women and girls are playing in the pursuit of the SDGs and Tanzania’s national development priorities. And I would like to share with you the words of a young leader advocating for girls’ rights in Tanzania: “The women and girls I work with are what inspire me to fight for women’s rights. I have seen women and girls living through the worst, the best, and the hardest conditions. Their courage to work, their confidence to speak out and their willingness to fight – keeps me going.”
To all Tanzanian women and girls: pursue your dreams, do not be afraid or shy to show your skills. Take control of your life and your future. Leadership can mean being the Vice President, the CEO of a company or the head of a youth group. But it also means making sure your voice is heard in the classroom, at home and in the community.
Finally, we, the United Nations in Tanzania reaffirm our commitment and continued support to the government, and partner with all stakeholders, to ensure that women and girls are at the forefront of achieving the SDGs.
We’ve chosen, we’ve planned, let’s continue implementing!
Happy UN Day to you all!