PCW welcomes UN Under-Secretary-General’s visit to the PH

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) warmly welcomes United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and her delegation on her first visit to the Philippines.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka embarks on a two-day visit to the country, from September 8 to 9, to share about the new Agenda for Sustainable Development which aims to fully close the gender equality gap by 2030, focusing on Agenda No. 5 or achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of All Women; to share the Progress of the World’s Women Report entitled “Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights; and to discuss ways on how to make economies work for women.

The PCW views her visit to the country as recognition of the Philippines being among the frontrunners in empowering all women and making them count in the process and results of development across all spheres of society. The Philippines maintains its position as the Asia’s best performing country in closing gender disparity, according to the Global Gender Gap 2014 report of the World Economic Forum.

PCW Executive Director Emmeline L. Verzosa noted that the Philippine Government led by the PCW works vigorously with the UN Women in pushing for gender equality and the empowerment of all women. She said that Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s visit not only deepens the relations of the PCW and the UN Women, it also paves the way for the Philippines to reaffirm its commitment to implement the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This visit also calls for a concerted effort of the Philippine government, civil society organizations, the private sector, and the academe in making rights real for women.

“We are honored to hear from the UN Women Executive Director, her insights on how we can move forward our agenda to empower women from all spheres of life. We look forward to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the UN General Assembly, noting the challenges that the Philippines will face to achieve Goal No. 5, and in ensuring that gender equality concerns in all the other goals will also be implemented,” Executive Director Verzosa said.

Meeting between UN Women and GPH

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka and her delegation met with officials of the Philippine Government composed of Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, PCW management, and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the morning of September 9, 2015 at the PCW Office in Malacanang Complex.

During the meeting, the UN Women head stressed that with Goal No. 5 and the gender mainstreaming approach in the SDGs, the demand expected of the UN Women and the national women’s machineries like the PCW is a challenge that have never been seen before. She advised the Philippine officials to study the gender equality goals in each of the SDGs and put the right agencies and people to task in order to achieve them. She also said that the Philippines may start looking into how the women’s legislations passed after the 1995 Beijing Conference where the BPfA was adopted, were able to benefit women, noting that poor implementation of women’s laws is another matter that the UN wants addressed through the SDGs. Towards the end of the meeting, she enjoined everyone on the table to make a pact on ending gender inequality by 2030.

“We took note of the Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s advice, and take on the challenge! We have been moving forward as a country and we are getting there. We need everyone in the government and stakeholders to act; we want to stir more collaboration among government and stakeholders to make development programs, especially of the government gender-responsive. We look forward to the high-level dialogue this afternoon on economies that work for women, so we can maximize the opportunity of learning from the UN Under-Secretary-General,” Executive Director Verzosa said in a statement after the meeting.

The high-level dialogue is co-hosted by the PCW and the UN Women to provide an opportunity to discuss the research and recommendations of UN Women’s Flagship Report, “Progress of the World’s Women 2015-2016: Transforming Economies, Realizing Rights.” Participants will include representatives from the public and private sectors, including civil society organizations who will consider the commitments needed to accelerate the attainment of women’s economic and social rights.