The Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare, Hon. Fatou Kinteh has addressed the 66th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
The session, which began on 14th March in New York, United States, is scheduled to end on 25thMarch 2022.
“Achieving gender-equality and empowerment of women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programs”, is this year’s theme.
Below is the full address
Distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen.
It is an honour to address the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women on behalf of the Government of The Gambia. I wish to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election to steer the affairs of the Commission. We are confident that under your stewardship, we will register progress in addressing the challenges of this year’s theme entitled “Achieving gender-equality and empowerment of women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programs”.
My delegation wishes to align itself with the statement made by South Africa and Argentina on behalf of Africa and Group of 77 and China, respectively. We commend the Secretary General for the quality of his report. We are of course aware that in the spirit of significant progress made, many challenges still exist.
In 2019, The Gambia registered one of the highest commitment for addressing gender equality and women empowerment, thus the establishment of Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare culminated with the formulation and implementation of the Ministry’s Strategic and Investment Plan 2021-2025, Gender and Women Empowerment Policy 2021-2030, National Strategy and Policy on FGM/C 2021-2030, National Action Plan on United Nations Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security 2021-2025, National Disability Act 2020, and Women Enterprise Fund Act 2020.
The Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) is a flagship project of the National Development Plan 2018-2021 with the objective of strengthening capacities of 10,000 women and girls in Micro and Small Scale Enterprises (MSMEs). The loan provides access to low interest credit to women entrepreneurs with a group guarantee model of micro credit. Close to 20 Million Dalasi has been disbursed by the Government to more than 21,000 women across the country.
The Government continues to recognize climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction as a complex global phenomenon of which we should have a common solution. Climate Change poses a fundamental threat to countries, species and people’s livelihoods as exhibited by the COVID19 Pandemic. Climate Change continues to impact our country, affecting all productive sectors of the economy, impacting the country’s efforts in achieving national development and poverty reduction.
In recent times, the Government of The Gambia has advanced policies and programs to fight climate change in line with the Paris Agreement and Lima Framework of Action on Climate Change.
These includes the National Environment Policy, implementation of a large-scale Ecosystem-based adaptation project, advancing the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) on climate change activities, the Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (SPCR) under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) as well as the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).
The Gambia also has a Long-Term Climate Change Strategy (LTS) and greenhouse gas emission development strategies”. These are visionary plans for achieving low-carbon, and climate-resilient societies by 2050.
The Government of The Gambia continues to address Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) challenges ranging from the protection of groundwater resources; mitigating the effect of floods; sustainable management of solid and liquid wastes including composting and recycling; and, provision of climate smart infrastructure for fish processing and storage in the seven (7) fish landing sites mainly located along the coastal areas to protect the fragile marine ecosystem against climate change.
In addition, the Government has provided support to finance the establishment and operation of the Aquatic Resources Fund to provide seed capital for green growth-related small businesses among others.
Furthermore, appropriate entrepreneurship & financial management skills and Waste for Cash (W4C) training programs will be developed for community training in preparation for their eligibility to access the credit provided through the fund.
In the area of Environmental Disaster Risk Reduction, the Government recognized that natural disasters affect women, men, girls, and boys differently. To this end, the Government continues to build capacity of stakeholders to respond to disaster risk as anchored in the National Multi-hazard Contingency Plan 2021 to 2024 Disaster Risk Financing Strategy. These frameworks take into account gender issues especially as it relates to protection in emergencies, micro and macro insurance for farmers, provision of relief and data on vulnerabilities.
I wish to conclude by reiterating the importance that my delegation attaches to this 66th Session of the CSW and the work of the Commission. In this regard, it is our hope that the outcome of this year’s session engenders innovative strategies that will accelerate global and continental efforts in achieving gender equality, climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction.
I thank you.