Minister Costello attends High Level UN Meeting on the future of International Development07 March 2014
Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD has attended a United Nations meeting in New York to discuss the contributions of women, young people and civil society to the Post 2015 Development Agenda. Minister Costello highlighted the importance of ensuring that the development agenda over the coming years will contribute to the realisation of all human rights –civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural.
Minister Costello said:
“Achieving gender equality is not only a fundamental human right – it is necessary if we are to eradicate hunger and poverty. Ireland is working to ensure that the framework which will guide the global community’s development efforts in the years after 2015 clearly addresses the rights of women and girls.
“We are also committed to ‘finishing the job’ of the MDGs, which expire at the end of 2015. Far too many mothers are dying in childbirth in many parts of the world, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa. The new post-2015 framework must address this and ensure access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for all women.”
Minister Costello also called for a strong role for civil society in the negotiation process and for the resulting goals and targets to contribute to greater civil society space.
“Empowerment, or participation, is about more than having a seat at the table. It is about having the capacity, information and space to advocate effectively for your rights. It is about putting in place structures and institutions that make real participation possible, and that respect, protect and fulfil basic rights.”
During his visit, Minister Costello met the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Babatunde Osotimehin and with the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, Mr John Hendra. At these meetings the Minister emphasised Ireland’s ongoing support to the two organisations. He announced that, in 2014, Ireland will provide €1.5 million in core funding to UN Women and €3.1 million to the UN Population Fund, UNFPA.
Minister Costello said:
“I am delighted to be able to announce a total of €4.6 million in funding to UN Women and UNFPA. The work of these UN agencies is critical to Ireland’s development priorities – achieving gender equality, empowering women empowerment, and reducing maternal mortality.”
7 March 2014
Note to editors:
- The Post 2015 Development agenda refers to the negotiations which are set to agree a new set ofglobal development goals to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
· The MDGs were agreed in 2000 and are due to expire in 2015. The goals set a number of targets, including to halve extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, reduce maternal mortality by 75% and reduce under-5 mortality by two thirds. It is hoped that the new goals will ‘finish the job of the MDGs’ and address new challenges. An important aspect will be increasing sustainable development and addressing challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation.
· The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals is the main intergovernmental forum where the substance of the goals is currently being discussed. Ireland serves on this working group, sharing a seat with Norway and Denmark.
· UNFPA is one of Ireland’s priority UN partners and Ireland has provided over €33 million in funding to the organization between 2007 and 2013. This is in line with Ireland’s commitment to support renewed efforts to achieve the targets under MDG 5 of reducing maternal mortality and ensuring universal access to reproductive health.
· UN Women is another important partner for Ireland. Ireland has contributed €4.85 million in core funding to UN Women to date, including €1.5 million in both 2013 and 2012. Ireland has also recently commenced support for a promising joint programme between UN Women and the UN Statistics Division to increase availability and use of gender quality statistics in relation to education, employment, and asset ownership. Ireland also supports the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, which is a grant-making mechanism supporting local and country level action to address violence against women and girls.