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Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security

2022-03-08 13:37

Madam President, 

I welcome you presiding over today's meeting. I thank Executive Director Sima  Bahous, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, and Ms. Moussokoro Coulibaly for their briefings. 

China applauds the UAE’s initiative to focus today's meeting on women's economic inclusion and participation. Women's economic empowerment is an important part of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, an essential requirement for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and fundamental guarantee for the steady and sustained advancement of the women, peace and security agenda. Women's economic empowerment requires not only political commitment, but also concrete actions 

In war torn South Sudan, the burden of supporting family falls disproportionately on women. In the Wau region of Western Bahr el Ghazal, traditional weaving skills for making handicrafts have been passed down from generation to generation, but many local women are hampered by the lack of sewing equipment. Last month, the Chinese Embassy in South Sudan donated 100 sewing machines to the local community. Now, better equipped women in Wau are sewing tirelessly, hoping that their hard work will bring food to the table, pay for their children's tuition, and earn a bright future for the country. 

In 2017, Niyibaho Berthilde, a woman from Rwanda, receive training in China on juncao technology, a method of circular production involving plants, animals and mushrooms. After returning to Rwanda, she started her own juncao business, and created more than 30 jobs. In addition, she also organized juncao training courses for the farmers, many of them women, including single mothers, helping lift more people of the local community out of poverty. 

In Kenya, a young woman named Concilia Owire is one of the first female locomotive drivers of the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, with a safe solo driving record of more than 140,000 kilometers under her belt. Concilia enjoys celebrity status among the Kenyans. She bears witness to how this China-build railway has given young people like her not only jobs, but also opportunities to learn skills, and she is proud of doing her part in modernizing Kenya's transportation sector. 

The stories of Concilia, Niyibaho and women in Wau have shown us the wisdom and potential of women, as well as the transformative impact of economic empowerment on women, their families, as well as their communities. They have also demonstrated the enormous prospects of women's participation in the peace and development of all countries. 

At the same time, we must recognize that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and increased regional turbulence threaten to setback existing commitment and investment in development issues. The gains of women's economic empowerment are at risk of being reversed. And women in conflict areas are facing greater challenges. The international community should step up efforts and act in coordination in order to inject new impetus into the global cause of women's development. 

First, we should invest more in development. The international community should actively assist the reconstruction of conflict areas, especially important infrastructure that are vital for national economy and people's livelihoods such as roads, bridges, water and electricity, so as to bolster the physical foundation for women's development. More earmarked investment is needed in women’s and girls’ health, education and training, with a view to enabling women's economic participation, increase their employment, and lifting them out of poverty. We should also help women cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, increase the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in conflict zones, and safeguard women's rights to life and health. 

Second, we need to build partnerships. Women's economic empowerment should be incorporated into the overall framework of international development cooperation through enhanced North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation. We should promote the flow of talents, funds and technology to developing countries and to areas contributing to women's development. The private sector should play a bigger role in order to create more opportunities for women's economic participation. The International Monetary Fund and other relevant organizations should, where appropriate, inject liquidity into developing countries, including post-conflict states, and encourage member countries to voluntarily channel a share of their allocated SDRs to vulnerable countries, in order to help stabilize the economies of the recipients, and improve the livelihoods of priority groups such as women. 

In September last year, during the General Debate of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, President Xi Jinping proposed a Global Development Initiative, which aims to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and achieve stronger, greener and healthier global development. We are confident that this initiative will be a major boost to the achievement of gender equality and women's economic empowerment. 

Third, we should maximize the role of the United Nations. Development should remain a priority area of the UN. We must bridge the development gap faced by women in conflict zones, and make women-related goals and targets an early harvest of the 2030 Agenda. UNDP, UN Women, and other agencies should focus on supporting women's economic empowerment, invest more in long-standing areas such as poverty eradication for women, and make a difference in addressing new challenges such as the gender digital divide. The Security Council, when discussing WPS issues, should balance the four areas of prevention protection, participation, as well as relief and recovery, and address the under-investment in reconstruction and recovery. 

Just then, some colleagues mentioned the current situation of Ukrainian women. We support the UN in accelerating and coordinating humanitarian operations to effectively ensure the security of life and property of civilians in Ukraine, including women and children, and meet their basic needs. We also call for further stepping up diplomatic efforts so as to keep humanitarian corridors safely open, and to put an early end to the fight.

Madam President, 

Today is International Women's Day. It is of special significance for the Council to hold an open debate on women, peace and security on this day. Allow me to extend my best wishes to all women in China and the UN family. Happy Holiday! 

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