Delivered by: Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State

Mr. Chair,

At the outset, I would like to thank you for convening the sixty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The UAE also thanks the Secretary-General of the United Nations for his report on this session’s priority topic, as well as Executive Director Sima Bahous and UN Women for the continued leadership of the Commission’s work, and women and girls around the world.

Mr. Chair,

With projections that by 2030, 575 million people will still live in extreme poverty, we are finding ourselves in a race against time to achieve sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda. We know all too well the detrimental impact this has had on the progress gained globally for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

To this end, we would like to focus on three recommendations to address poverty and strengthen institutions and financing with a gender perspective:

First, we must strengthen and develop national institutions, social protection systems, public services, and sustainable infrastructure to be inclusive and responsive to the needs of women and girls. This includes adopting targeted policy reforms that support women’s economic opportunities and work, as well as providing access to training and resources to women across all sectors in society.

This is a priority area for the UAE. Last year, the UAE launched the National Policy for Empowerment of Emirati Women for 2023-2031, which aims to facilitate the equitable and comprehensive participation of women in all sectors and enhance their quality of life in society. As a guiding framework for decision-makers in federal and local government entities, the private sector, and civil society, the Strategy’s directives facilitate the integration of women in the labour market and emerging sectors and develop their capacities and skills.

Second, we must guarantee that women and girls have safe and equal access to quality education. One of the main factors predominantly pushing women and girls into poverty is the lack of access to education, which is a baseline for future opportunities. In our commitment to achieve this, and under the continued leadership and patronage of the Mother of the Nation, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the UAE continues its work towards the empowerment of women and girls through digital educational and literacy programmes around the world.

Third, women and girls must be front and center in our efforts to finance climate action. Climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation amplify inequalities in general, with the grim prospect of pushing up to 158 million more women and girls into poverty by 2050. During COP28 Gender Equality Day, the UAE, as the COP28 Presidency, launched the Gender-Responsive Just Transitions & Climate Action Partnership, which was endorsed by some 80 states. Additionally, as part of our longstanding and strategic partnership with UN Women, this year the UAE will establish a flexible and rapid funding mechanism, the “Women’s Climate Fund”, which will support the work of women’s organisations for climate action and various ministries.

Finally, Mr. Chair,

I would be remiss to women and girls’ issues without explicitly mentioning the situation of women and girls in the Gaza Strip. Today’s frameworks to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment ring hollow in the face of the war on Gaza, which is killing Palestinian women and girls. Our commitment to the protection of women and girls must extend to them, too. We must all intensify our efforts to call for an immediate ceasefire and support them during this period.

Thank you.