Human Rights Council 41st Session
Item 8: General Debate
8 July 2019
Nordic-Baltic Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Andre Pung, Estonia
This statement is made on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Estonia.
The VDPA states that the promotion and protection of human rights is a matter of priority for the international community. With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all states expressed their determination to take the bold and transformative steps, which are urgently needed, to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies based on respect for human rights. To reach the 17 goals national human rights institutions play an important role in spreading awareness of human rights obligations and ensuring the participation of different stakeholders in realizing the human rights of all, achieving gender equality and women and girls’ right to decide freely over their own body, as envisioned in the 2030 agenda.
It is well-established that gender-based violence, inequalities concerning education, and legal and cultural barriers hinder women’s economic empowerment. Whether in the formal or informal economic sector, these inequalities impact the economic opportunities of women across the world.
When women work, productivity increases, diversification improves, and economies grow. Equality is a strength and states that have embraced gender equality in the workforce enjoy rising wealth and more competitive economies. Female innovation and leadership has fueled recent developments in industries ranging from organic produce to genomics and self-driving cars. Across industries, wealth gaps, and borders, women make significant contributions when given the chance, and communities and states thrive because of it.
In conclusion, it is our common responsibility to acknowledge and tackle the current inequalities in women’s and girls’ enjoyment of all human rights and do all we can to level the playing field. Achieving gender equality and realizing women and girls’ rights, including their sexual and reproductive right, are the key to reach the 2030 sustainable development goals.