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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Next UN Secretary General should be woman – UNGA President

UN General Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid, has canvassed for the next Secretary General of the global body to be a woman, saying no woman has ever been chosen for the position.

Abdulla Shahid
President of the 76th session of UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid

Shahid said this at the ongoing session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which opened at the UN headquarters, New York on Monday, March 14, 2022.

The 66th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) began its two-week long gathering with an urgent call for commitment and action towards the full and meaningful inclusion of the world’s women and girls in climate solutions.

Shahid said that he would “personally” lead in calling for the next UN Secretary General to be a woman.

“Join me in this clarion call,” he invited the participants.

According to UNGA President, just four women have been elected Assembly President in the history of UN for 76 years.

“This needs to be corrected,” he asserted.

“The UN cannot call for implementation of gold standards throughout the world as far as gender equality and women’s empowerment is concerned but not implement these standards at home.”

UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President, Collen Vixen Kelapile, reminded the participants that as a subsidiary body, CSW would continue to provide oversight functions.

He said it would also monitor the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development goals, particularly Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Five on Gender Equality.

“In this connection, the Commission’s work will remain central to the ECOSOC system for guiding a people-centred and gender-sensitive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

He reminded the participants that the High-Level Political Forum in July would examine implementation progress on SDG Five, alongside other global goals.

CSW’s work remains “essential” in strengthening the global framework for gender equality, empowerment of women, and advising policymakers on “how to advance these important goals in an integrated and cross-cutting manner.”

In her remarks, the Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Bahous, drew attention to “all crises and conflicts,” reminding that they “exact their highest price from women and girls”

Bahous said from Myanmar to Afghanistan, the Sahel to Haiti, and Syria to Somalia to Yemen and Ethiopia, with “the horrifying war in Ukraine,” being the newest addition.

“We see with every passing day the damage done to the lives, hopes and futures of Ukrainian women and girls,” Bahous said.

She reiterated solidarity with Ukrainian women while paying tribute to “their courage and resilience”.

“And I pray that they – and all those who are experiencing conflict – will soon know peace”.

The Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Ms Inger Andersen, said the world had had “enough of male-dominated solutions”.

In reinvigorating environmental multilateralism, she said that it is “critical” that women be put “at the heart of decision-making.”

Commission Chair, Mathu Joyini, called young women “the drivers of change for climate action and awareness.”

“We need to ensure that their leadership and meaningful contributions in these areas are included in decision making processes.”

“Women and girls across the world are looking up to the commission as the leading body on gender equality and empowerment of women for guidance,” she said.

The 2022 session of the Commission on the Status of Women is taking place from 14-25 March, in a hybrid virtual and in-person format.

By Cecilia Ologunagba

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