Mr. President of the General Assembly,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Italy warmly welcomes the convening of this meeting and its focus on “The Contributions of Women, the Young and Civil Society to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.”
We fully align ourselves with the statement delivered by Greece on behalf of the European Union.
Italy believes that the Post-2015 Development Agenda must address the challenge of gender inequality and the need to advance gender equality across all relevant dimensions of the Agenda.
We therefore support an approach based on a “transformative standalone goal.” Such an approach is rooted in the promotion of women’s agency and the human-rights dimension, the prevention and combating of all forms of violence against women, inclusiveness, participation, and the empowerment of women in nutrition, food security and social protection.
Italy has enhanced local opportunities to empower women while at the same time shaping national policy and cross-national partnerships. This same experience could be tested in fragile States where local governance is a core pillar of conflict management, peace-building and post-conflict State building, and could thus play a key role in the economic and political empowerment of women through participatory arrangements.
Implementation of the Cairo and Beijing commitments could strengthen efforts to eliminate discrimination by ensuring universal access to health care for women, guaranteeing support for reproductive health and rights, and putting an end to harmful practices such as FGM and child, early and forced marriages.
Anchoring the Post-2015 framework to human rights standards will ensure that rights are treated as a means of promoting development. Inequalities based on gender, age, geographical location, socio-economic background, religion, ethnicity and disability intersect and compound each other.
Collectively the core international human rights instruments – including the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its Committee, the Cairo and Beijing Platforms for Action, UN Security Council Resolutions, and the ILO Conventions on the rights of working women – offer a road map for strengthening action, investments and accountability to advance gender equality and women’s rights throughout the world.
The post-2015 framework must be built on social inclusion, employment integration, and timely action for youth. Today there are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24, roughly one quarter of the world’s population. Italy fully supports initiatives to strengthen the empowerment of youth at all levels.
High unemployment rates, serious violations of the fundamental rights of boys and girls, and the wasting of their talents are some of the main drivers of poverty, instability and conflicts. Improving their living conditions will build democracy and sustainable development, especially in the poorest countries. This is why Italy cooperates with many developing countries to provide young people with all the tools they need to become key players in the development of their communities.
We must make the institutions and civil society more responsive to the social exclusion of youth, also by strengthening their capacity to implement youth-centered social policies, especially in the field of education and vocational training.
The Post-2015 Development Agenda cannot overlook the social and economic activities performed by civil society. Poverty eradication and prosperity depend on job creation and sustainable economic growth. Since the 2011 Busan Conference and the 2013 Rio +20 Conference the private sector has played an increasing role in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Enterprises are promoters of social development rather than mere suppliers of goods and services for the community.
Let us think about ways forward to overcome poverty, social exclusion, and corruption and to create more job opportunities, better social protection, and greater transparency. If people participate in the policy choices that affect them, the Agenda will be strengthened.
Transparency, accountability and progress reports are pillars of the future Post-2015 framework. The goal is to build a people-focused post-2015 era. Italy believes that these purposes cannot be achieved without assuring the participation of civil society and improving its operating space.
A “sustainable development” framework that integrates economic growth, social justice and environmental stewardship requires profound economic and societal transformations. The international community has the opportunity and the need to embrace a new paradigm that builds on the lessons of the Millennium Development Goals. Gender equality, youth and civil society are integral parts of this paradigm.
Thank you, Mr. President.