Bagong Simula sa Bayan ni Juan

Breaking News

For other news and information, scroll the links found on the sidebar. Links to other relevant sites and media blogs are located on the lower right portion. - RAFS76

Thursday, March 06, 2008

UN calls on member states to 'invest in women and girls'

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 10:28pm (Mla time) 03/06/2008

-- Noting that "progress for women is progress for all," the United Nations is urging the world to invest in its women and girls.

In a statement released ahead of International Women's Day, celebrated Saturday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon lamented the gap too often seen between policy and practice regarding women's empowerment and gender equality.

"A lack of political will is reflected in the most telling way of all: lack of resources and insufficient budgetary allocations," Ban's statement said.

"That is why the theme of this International Women's Day is 'Investing in Women and Girls'," he said.

"This failure of funding undermines not only our endeavors for gender equality and women's empowerment as such; it also holds back our efforts to reach all the Millennium Development Goals," he said.

These eight objectives, approved by world leaders in 2000 to halve poverty by 2015, include combating HIV/AIDS and malaria, improving maternal health, reducing child mortality, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and promoting gender equality.

"As we know from long and indisputable experience, investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity and sustained economic growth," Ban wrote.

"No measure is more important in advancing education and health, including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as likely to improve nutrition, or reduce infant and maternal mortality," he said.

But he took note of some progress, including allocation of financial resources to increase women's employment, enhance use of microfinancing, and extend credit for women's businesses.

"More than 50 countries have launched gender-responsive budgeting initiatives. The private sector is scaling up efforts to finance women's economic empowerment, and women's funds and foundations are emerging as innovative sources of financing," he said.

"But we must do more," he added.

"All of us in the international community -- Governments, multilateral organizations, bilateral institutions and the private sector -- need to calculate the economic costs of persistent gender inequality, and the resources required to remedy it," he said.

2008 marks the mid-point in the effort to accomplish the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, Ban noted. That can only be done by investing in women and girls, he said.

"On this International Women's Day, let us resolve to unite in this mission."