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Statement by H. E. Mr. Margus Kolga, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations at the 8th Session of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals


Interactive exchange of views on

“Promoting equality, including social equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment”



Distinguished co - Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset I would like to congratulate the members of this working group and especially the co-chairs on the intensive and hard work you have endured until now. We have observed your work with great interest and look forward to the final outcome of the discussions.

I associate myself with the statement by the European Union and wish to add and emphasize few aspects, more precisely on the topics of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

We are all familiar with the major agreements and frameworks on women`s rights and gender equality such as for example CEDAW and Beijing Declaration and Programme of Action. We recently affirmed our commitment to these documents also in the frames of  Rio +20.

Despite a vast global normative framework and a number of legally binding commitments the gender inequalities and - discrimination persist. The next generation of development goals will not be complete if these great concerns are not addressed.

Therefore we add our voice to  the call by UN-Women and other stakeholders, who are calling for a stand-alone goal on gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment and for the mainstreaming of gender perspectives in all other goals and targets. Among the areas that the stand-alone goal needs to address we would like to stress in particular the following:

First, violence against women and girls must stop. In the light of the debates to be held here on Thursday afternoon and on Friday I’ll add, that the post-2015 development agenda should address also the need to end sexual violence as method of war.

Second, women and girls must have equal access to resources and opportunities. In this context Estonia would like to stress the need to improve the access and quality of education for girls and women on all levels, increase efforts to promote decent work as well as control over land and productive assets and women’s opportunities to engage in collective action. We also would like to emphasize access to ICT and the Internet as a mean and tool for all-inclusive society that enhances education, empowerment, freedom of expression, access to good governance etc

One of the shortages of the MDGs was also the fact that not enough attention was drawn to the important question of sexual and reproductive health and rights. SDGs should correct this mistake.

 Ladies and gentleman,

As the call for including above mentioned issues in the new development agenda is so strong and vast we are sure it will be reflected also in the final outcome of the work of the open working group. Investing in women and girls is a smart thing to do and one of the most secure ways how to ensure the sustainable development of different societies.

Last but not the least I must underline, that as with all other new sustainable development goals, also in the context of equality special attention must be paid on the governance issues. The gap between the plans, objectives and policies on the paper and the real life implementation should be prevented. The SDGs must be accompanied with means to support transparent, accountable, measurable and effective governance. We need grass-root level awareness raising and educational activities, for girls and boys, women and men, so that civil society would be able and empowered to hold the governments answerable and contribute also from their side to the struggle to achieve the sustainable development, which is human-centered and leaves no one behind.


Thank you


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