General Assembly General Assembly

2020 Annual Session  of the Executive Board of UN-WOMEN

Statement by 

Ambassador T. S Tirumurti, 

Permanent Representative of India to the UN

22 June 2020

Thank you Mr. President. 

I thank Executive Director for her statement and for the 2019 report of UN-WOMEN. For an organisation, which is only a decade old, UN-WOMEN’s performance in meeting the annual output targets is truly significant. I commend the Executive Director and her team for the strong performance. As the pandemic threatens to reverse the gains of this decade, UN-WOMEN will have to continue to sharpen its focus and accelerate its efforts. 

Women have indeed been at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19. As doctors, nurses, mid-wives, caregivers and community leaders, women all over the world are working tirelessly to keep everyone safe from the pandemic. We salute them. 

2020 marks the 25th Anniversary of Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women. However, the first year of the ‘Decade of Action’ has thrown an unexpected challenge to the global community in achieving Agenda 2030. While COVID-19 has upended millions of lives and livelihoods, its impact on women and girls has been severe. This has been highlighted by the Executive Director. I am also happy to note that UN-WOMEN’s COVID response framework focuses on social protection and economic stimulus packages for women.

India has been sensitive to gender in its development focus. We have been at the forefront of empowerment of women, in the political and socio-economic context. Initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao – Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child – are making impact on the ground. In the context of COVID-19, recognising the immediate negative economic impact of the pandemic on women, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a monthly cash transfer to about 200 million poor women. An interest subvention of 2% for next 12 months has also been offered to small and medium enterprises run by women, who have availed loans under the MUDRA small loans scheme, as part of the national stimulus package. The underlying philosophy for this focus on women is simple: when women are economically empowered, they do not bring just income for their families, but they also bring prosperity. 

Let me also appreciate that UN-WOMEN has crossed half-a-billion mark in resource mobilisation. But the drop in core resources is a worrying sign. 

I appreciate the contribution of UN-WOMEN to enhance women’s participation in peacebuilding, including training of women to join peacekeeping operations. India is the largest UN Peacekeeping Troop Contributing Country and was the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia. This has inspired many women to join various walks of life, which were earlier seen as exclusive male preserve. 

India looks forward to greater cooperation and partnership with UN-Women and share good practices. 

We take note of the organisation’s efforts to fully align with the UN Development System reforms in support of gender equality and women empowerment. I would like to underline that during COVID times, there needs to be a strong development-based approach and also alignment with the national priorities of the countries concerned. 

Host to almost 10% of world’s female population, India has a vital interest in the success of UN-WOMEN. I assure you, Mr. President, and the Executive Director of our full co-operation in the smooth implementation of UN-WOMEN’s Strategic Plan and Agenda 2030.

Thank you.