The possibility of women taking the front row never seemed feasible or possible to cynics and critics 30 years ago. No thanks to cultures and religions, especially in the Third World. The very daring commitment of women to gender equality was demonstrated last November when the United Nations Deputy Secretary‑General, Amina J. Mohammed headed to war-torn territories in the horn of African — Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia, in a joint mission with the African Union. Her report to the UN Security Council after that outing reveals a determined voice to lead women globally from the back to the front row. UN records quote Deputy Secretary‑General Mohammed as follows: ‘’Thank you for the invitation to brief the Security Council on my recent joint mission with the African Union to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia. Ethiopia now has its first woman President and half its Government ministers are women. Together, they hold some of the most significant decision‑making portfolios in the country. ‘’The President is leading efforts at social cohesion, and women serve as Ministers of Peace, Labour and Infrastructure, and are at the helm of the National Election Commission and the Supreme Court. The programme of Government includes far‑reaching legal reforms for greater gender equality.’’
Amina Mohammed continued: ‘’All of this was cited by the Nobel Committee when they awarded Prime Minister Abiy [Ahmed] the Peace Prize last month (October, 2019) I also met with the Mothers for Peace Initiative who are working together across communities to repair the social fabric of the country, and with women who had served in United Nations peacekeeping, given Ethiopia’s role as our largest troop‑contributing country In Somalia, we met the Prime Minister and dynamic female ministers who are introducing reforms to address the challenges of women’s low representation in political life. We heard from women in civil society, on the front lines of preventing the spread of violent extremism. We also met with the head of the National Independent Electoral Commission, who has a challenging task ahead of her. Our efforts in Somalia must prioritize financial support to free, fair and inclusive elections next year, as well as to the national development priorities of the government including debt relief. There are islands of stability in a country that can be built upon. But this will require more central Government cooperation with federal member-states, as well as a road map for transitional justice and social reintegration.’’
BRINGING WOMEN TO THE FOREFRONT — “Women Rising for All” Next, Amina Muhammed ‘jumped’ into the pitch of global peace through some notable initiatives that support UN Secretary-General’s commitment to “Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity” by convening an activity tagged: ‘Women Rise for All’. Rise for All is a global advocacy effort to support the UN roadmap for social and economic recovery from COVID-19, and to fully fund the UN Response and Recovery Trust Fund. “Women Rising for All” was initiated to put women leaders at the forefront of the global community’s resolve to combat COVID-19. The focus reads in part: ‘’We are women leaders rising in solidarity to save lives and protect livelihoods. We call for all leaders in all countries and in all sectors to meet the human crisis of COVID-19. Stopping this pandemic and recovering from it is a shared responsibility requiring global solidarity. We must recover better. And we can, by building back better together.’’ The policy follows Secretary-General’s launch the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
CALL TO ACTION: Launching the initiative in April 2020, Amina Mohammed disclosed that: ‘’we have an amazing number of women who are coming forward today to support us in that call to action. I would like to welcome the leadership of President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia; Prime Minister [Erna] Solberg of Norway; our Sustainable Development Advocate and Founder of the Education Above All initiative, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, and the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley; Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and many more incredible leaders as we rise today to take our actions forward in ensuring that we come out – we conquer COVID-19 – and we come out the other side better. Now more than ever, we need to come together to overcome this global threat that affects us all. The United Nations is fully committed to supporting people and Governments as we go in this struggle together.
THEIR COMMITMENTS The Deputy Secretary-General added that: ‘’Like no other time in recent history, women are on the frontlines of COVID-19 and bearing the brunt of this human crisis. They are the first responders in hospitals and clinics, leading in science and research, and on the frontlines of politics and communities. I’ve been truly inspired, and I know others will be too. It is time for us to rise as women leaders taking action to conquer the pandemic and come out stronger. Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed has been able to assemble notable female leaders who could rightly be regarded as achievers in their various callings. Their statements of commitment to the noble cause speak volumes about the ability of these women to go beyond mere rhetoric.
- This is a global crisis. Delay in action means death. We all face the same enemy and we stand to gain by bringing the full force of humanity together to fight it. There cannot be victory over the virus in one, or some countries alone. … I stand in support of the United Nations Secretary General’s appeal for solidarity.– President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde
- I rise for all, because in this current pandemic of COVID-19, women are in many fields at the forefront of the fight against the disease. Without their dedication and competence, the impact of the pandemic would have been all the more dramatic. President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga
- Let us rebuild. Let us retool. Let us repurpose, because this is perhaps the most apt reminder of what we must fight for in the multilateral system, in the global community of nations on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. We can do it, working together, but we need to respect each other, to see each other, to hear each other and to work together. Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley
- We must address the gender impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our response and recovery packages. Make sure that women are represented in all COVID-19 planning and decision-making. Ensure that our recovery is inclusive and sustainable. The Sustainable Development Goals must be our compass. Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen
- Corona virus knows no borders. … This pandemic requires urgent efforts in the spirit of multilateralism: a united global response with the United Nations at its core. In our global village, solidarity is the only option … I strongly encourage other countries as well as the private sector and the foundations to step up and contribute to the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Prime Minister of Norway and Sustainable Development Goals Advocate of the Secretary-General, Erna Solberg
- If you don’t intervene, the effects of this crisis will have disastrous education and economic effects on our young people. It will be leading them down a dangerous path of hopelessness and possibly extremism.… Let’s be proactive and think long-term, and instead of working from fear, we must take this opportunity to narrow the digital gap and bring innovative solutions to our children and youth. Sustainable Development Goals Advocate of the Secretary-General, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar
- I call on governments, developing partners, civil society organizations to work together to remove barriers which prevent women, children, and people in rural areas to enjoy their full rights. Only then, solutions will be sustainable. Chair of the Graça Machel Trust, Graça Machel
- Working together to prioritize the needs of the poorest and the most vulnerable people around the world is essential to ending this pandemic once and for all. It’s been remarkable to see the speed with which people around the world have stepped up to do their part. …. Even on our darkest days, they give me hope. Hope that we can rise above this threat if we rise for all. Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates
- If we keep quiet, the effects of this pandemic will be even more disastrous than what we have already seen. We must all come together to overcome this crisis in order to break structural practices that have been in marginalizing women. Senior Vice-Chair of Standard Chartered Bank Africa and Vice-Chair UN Global Compact Board, Bola Adesola
- Women are the pillars of our societies in COVID-19. They are care givers, protectors and comforters, they feed our families and support our economies. I rise for all of women so they hear of our eternal gratitude and our unwavering commitment to them and all of humanity. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa
- The team of volunteers also includes top Executive Directors within the UN system
CALL TO ACTION The Deputy Secretary-General’s speech at the launch of the event is inspiring. The initiative itself is an action that could promote feelings of empathy in the growing ones, promote gender-friendliness and stimulate women all over the world to stand committed to the goal of creating interest in the global call for gender sensitivity. The development is also able to promote ROLE MODELLING which is why Terrific Headlines is according it the attention it deserves.
SPEECH BY DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL:
“It is time for us to rise as women leaders, taking action to conquer the pandemic and come out stronger so as to keep the world on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.” The first to join this cohort today are the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, the Prime Minister of Norway and Sustainable Development Goals Advocate of the Secretary-General, Erna Solberg, Sustainable Development Goals Advocate of the Secretary-General Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda Gates, Sustainable Development Goals Advocate of the Secretary-General Dia Mirza, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador of Pakistan Muniba Mazari, along with the Executive Directors of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore, of UN Women, Phumzile MlamboNgcuka, and of UNFPA, Natalia Kanem.
Together, the women are supporting the United Nations’ call for an extraordinary scale-up of international support and political commitment to “build back better” and ensure that people everywhere have access to essential services and social protection. This includes support for the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, an inter-agency mechanism designed to help those countries and people most exposed to the economic hardship and social disruption the pandemic has caused. The Fund aims to mobilize US$1 billion over the first nine months, and US$2 billion over two years, to support low- and middle-income countries, including Small Island Developing States and vulnerable groups such as women and children who are disproportionately bearing the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. The Netherlands today announced an initial contribution 15 million Euros (US$16.6 million) to the Fund, following in the footsteps of Norway and Denmark, who have thus far pledged 150 million Norwegian Krone (US$14.1 million) and 50 million Danish Krone (US$7.3 million), respectively. Over the coming weeks, more women leaders, including from the political, multilateral and business sectors, are expected to join Rise for All, adding their voices in support of the United Nations roadmap for social and economic recovery, and to advocate a fully funded COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.’’
THE DECADE OF ACTION – Sustainable Development Goals Ms. Amina J. Mohammed during her tour of November 2019 to troubled regions in Africa also spoke about the importance of making the Sustainable Development work. She recalled that the Secretary-General issued a global call for a Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs last September. The Decade of Action is an opportunity to unleash a new wave of implementation efforts that will deliver for the people and planet. Based on extensive consultations, we have identified three fronts to advance our work.
The first is mobilization. The Sustainable Development Goals transformation will not happen unless people across the world are aware of the Goals, see their own concerns in the Goals and know what they can do to implement the Goals. That is why I am pleased that, as part of the programme today, we have a dialogue with the youth where young people will share their thoughts and recommendations on how to step up the pace and scale of implementation. The second front for the Decade of Action is raising ambition. No Government can claim to be on track to meet the Goals by 2030, therefore, every Government and indeed every stakeholder must aim higher. We must support Governments to ensure their broader national development plans and financing frameworks correspond to the magnitude of the change needed to deliver by 2030. We must strengthen transparency, data and accountability efforts and use several important international meetings this year on gender equality, biodiversity, the oceans and sustainable transport to demonstrate renewed and strengthened commitment to the SDGs.
SILENCING THE GUNS: A third front for the Decade of Action is to supercharge ideas to solutions — drawing on the capacities of different stakeholders and effective international cooperation. Since 2015, we have seen a wave of initiatives to support the SDGs. But, too few of these have delivered concrete results at scale in the countries and communities that need it most. We know that certain policy changes or specific breakthroughs around key challenges have the potential to catalyse progress on several SDGs simultaneously, at speed and at scale. The Decade of Action must ensure that those changes and those breakthroughs are advanced as a matter of priority. There is no better example of a strong partnership around an SDG solution than the African Union initiative on “Silencing the Guns”. While there has been a significant reduction in inter-State conflicts in Africa over the past two decades, internal armed conflicts continue unabated on the continent. The most vulnerable groups, including women and children, bear the brunt. They suffer disproportionately from gender-based violence and other abuses and violations of their human rights, both during and after armed conflicts.
Terrific Headlines wishes the female gender well in the prosecution of the enormous task placed on their shoulders by posterity