30 Member States in Europe and Central Asia commit to Gender Equality


30 countries in Europe and Central Asia - News

At a high-level event co-organized by UN Women and the Chinese Government, over 80 world leaders have convened at the United Nations to personally commit to ending discrimination against women by 2030 and announce concrete and measurable actions to kick-start rapid change in their countries. The event marks a historic first, with pledges delivered by Heads of State and Government. No other single issue is to receive this level of political attention at the UN Summit held from 25-27 September to adopt Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals. Here are the 30 governments in Europe and Central Asia region that have made concrete commitments to ensure women and girls can reach their full potential by 2030.

Albania: Prime Minister Edi Rama

“The Government that I lead has placed gender equality at the centre of its agenda … I’ll outline very briefly three aspects of this challenge facing Albanian society by promising at the same time an effective engagement of all institutions responsible for the implementation. First: economic empowerment of women through increasing and improving access to credits, as well as promotion and expansion of employment programmes for women and girls, narrowing the gap in employment and increasing the participation of women in labour markets. Second: prevention and reduction of violence against women and domestic violence, elimination of gender discrimination in education, health, media, strengthening the legal and institutional mechanisms, as well as improvement of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. And third: increased … decision-making, as well as central and local representation of women in managerial and professional positions in all public administration … including representation of women in police and armed forces.”

Austria: President Heinz Fischer

"Austria commits to further tackling gender stereotypes...Gender-sensitive vocational orientation and educational guidance will be expanded, and gender-theory-based competence of teachers and educators will be strengthened. Austria also commits to the continuation of its National Action Plan on Gender Equality in the Labour Market and will also continue to tackle the high gender-pay-gap and to strengthen income transparency. We will continue comprehensive action to reconcile family work, both for women and men. Extending the provision of childcare facilities and including men in childcare and care responsibilities remains a focus of our efforts. We shall continue to intensify mentoring and training programmes to encourage women to stand for elections on all political levels…as well as awareness-raising and trainings in gender competence for university bodies and decision-makers. Promoting women’s share in management and board positions in our companies remains a priority. Creating efficient measures to prevent and to protect women and girls from all forms of violence in domestic and social contexts will remain a central concern. Austria is committed to the work of UN Women and will continue on a voluntary basis to support activities in the fields of women, peace and security, violence against women and access to justice. Our development cooperation will continue its efforts to promote gender equality by supporting our partners to ensure equal access to economic opportunities, social and financial services, and to overcome gender-related barriers in society and legal systems." [Speech]

Azerbaijan steps it up: Gender mainstreaming in all State programmes and legislation to help working women

The Government of Azerbaijan actively undertakes measures to distribute opportunities equitably and to support the equal and balanced participation of women and men in public and social life. Specific budgetary allocations have been made to ensure a steady increase in the gender mainstreaming process and all State programmes and services committed to ensure gender equality at all levels and all spheres. The country is working to ensure more girls pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It pledges to introduce new legislation to help working women – including flexible working and accessible childcare. The country will actively support the development and implementation of specific programmes, projects and activities aimed at improving the enjoyment by women and girls of their fundamental human rights. Azerbaijan is prioritizing re-integration of refugee women into society, promoting their participation in political, economic and public life and addressing the causes of, and impunity for, sexual violence in conflict as a central element of all discussions on the peace and security agenda. Calling for the implementation and reinforcement of international initiatives and conventions on women rights, Azerbaijan also commits to do everything it can to ensure a safe future for women. [Commitment statement]

Belgium: Prime Minister Charles Michel

"We commit to take into account the multiple forms of discrimination against women, notably by developing action plans and campaigns."

Belgium steps it up for gender equality and women’s empowerment with 25 commitments to act, covering both its external and internal policies. While continuing its strategic partnership with UN Women, Belgium will adopt a new gender strategy for its development cooperation. Domestically, all government levels will adopt, implement and evaluate gender mainstreaming legislation or methods. Furthermore, a sixth national action plan on the fight against gender-based violence is being developed in line with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. This Convention will be ratified by Belgium as soon as possible and without formulating any reservations. Finally, the legislation on gender discrimination will be evaluated and adapted and awareness-raising campaigns on gender discrimination and stereotypes and their consequences will be launched. [ Speech (in French) | commitment ]

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Chairman of the Presidency Dragan Čović

“For Bosnia and Herzegovina, gender equality and empowerment of women remain priorities, on both [the] national and international level. We make efforts to reconcile our unfortunate past with our future. Focus on women is a form of healing. This is our obligation. We have created a solid legal and institutional framework for the advancement of gender equality, requiring affirmative measures aimed at achieving gender equality from the State. Furthermore, both [the] Gender Action Plan 2013-2017 and 1325 Action Plan 2014-2017 define priority measures for improvements and advancement in line with the Beijing Action Plan. In line with that, today I pledge…greater inclusion of women and reduction of labour market segregation; prevention of …domestic violence; and finally, support for the women victims of sexual violence in conflict. [I] pledge to [the] Istanbul Convention; greater inclusion of women; reduction of labour market segregation; [reduction of] domestic violence; [and to] reduce sexual violence." [Speech]

Bulgaria: President Rossen Plevneliev

"We will make an effort to achieve full gender equality in the next 15 years. [We] will adopt a new specialized law on gender equality [and] will ensure that [a] gender perspective is mainstreamed into all policies. The Government has committed to updating the national strategy on gender equality. [We are] determined to end the gender wage gap, [and are] committed to combatting violence against women." [Speech]

Croatia: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

“The Beijing Platform for Action remains as relevant today as it was [on the] historic day of its adoption. We still have a long way to go to full implementation. No country has achieved full gender equality yet. The overarching theme of the Beijing conference – [that] women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are women’s rights – should be a driving force and inexhaustible inspiration in implementing our national policies for gender equality and equal opportunities. The notion that women’s progress represents human progress lies at the core of our national policy for gender equality. … We will continue to further support women’s empowerment both domestically and internationally. This is and will remain one of our main policy priorities, with a focus on conflict and post-conflict societies. Activities to eliminate all forms of violence against women will remain a priority. Further work is needed in Croatia and globally to combat gender stereotypes more vigorously and to raise the level of public knowledge and awareness on gender equality. It is essential to enable women to balance public and private responsibilities, including [through] increasing provision of child care services. Croatia will…continue to work with other members of the Equal Futures Partnership and take an active role as a member of UN Women’s Executive Board.”

Cyprus: President Nicos Anastasiades

“Cyprus … has come a long way in the promotion of gender equality, the empowerment and the realization of the human rights for women and child[ren] and girls through a number of concrete measures and policies. However, a lot remains to be done and we reaffirm our commitment to this end. My Government adopted the new national action plan on equality between women and men for 2014-2017 which is the [flagship] of our national policies for gender equality. We also reaffirm our commitment to the relevant legal action plans and directives, and all relevant international instruments combatting all forms of violence against women. Promoting economic empowerment and eliminating deeply rooted stereotypes among gender roles are among our priorities. Another area of concern in my Government is combatting trafficking in human beings, with the core of our policies being the protection of victims, mostly women and children. I would like also to announce that we are ready to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence. The role of women in the promotion of reconciliation and peace is invaluable. …A technical committee on gender equality has [already been established]. Concluding, I wish to express the strong willingness of my country to contribute to the full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.” [Commitment:en | es | fr]

See previous commitment

Denmark: Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen

"The 2030 agenda for sustainable development sets out new goals for our continued struggle, and I warmly welcome these new and ambitious goals. Denmark will continue its longstanding acts of support for gender equality. We remain committed to intensifying our efforts to ensure that all women and girls have equal opportunities to pursue the education and career they want and have free and equal access to the labour market. The Danish Government is further determined to combat domestic violence. We are proud to organize the next Women Deliver conference in May 2016 in Copenhagen."

Estonia: PresidentToomas Hendrik Ilves

“Estonia is committed to promoting women’s rights and gender equality on a national as well as on a global level. As one of the founders, Estonia has supported the UN Women financially since its creation and we are committed to continue to do so. In order to contribute to the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration, Estonia commits to work actively towards reducing the gender pay gap In Estonia, preventing and reducing violence against women in the world, and continuing to promote women’s rights and gender equality at the global level. More specifically, Estonia is preparing its first action plan for gender equality policies with the aim to promote equal economic independence, balanced participation at all levels of decision-making and management, and to tackle the negative impact of gender stereotypes. The action plan will contribute to reducing the gender pay gap, to make necessary resources available for gender mainstreaming, to guarantee efficient legal protection against gender-based discrimination, and to support institutional capacity to reduce gender inequality. Estonia will put even more effort into improving services for victims of violence, including gender-based violence... Estonia has taken upon itself to concentrate on women’s human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women also in its development cooperation.” [Speech]

Finland: President Sauli Niinistö

"The Finnish Government, as one of the largest donors to UN Women, has initiated the preparation of a new National Action Plan for Gender Equality, with gender mainstreaming at its core. Gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and the full realization of their rights are key priorities in our foreign and development policy. Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. We have the national goal of decreasing substantially the number of cases of violence against women and girls perpetrated by young men. For example, we start educating, teaching all conscripts in this matter. ...We emphasize increasing the number of women mediators, ensuring the gender training of all peace operations personnel, and succeeding in the fight against impunity. ... I particularly call all men and boys together with women and girls to build equal and sustainable societies. Our goal this year is to have the gender aspect included in the new climate agreement reached in Paris." [Speech]

France: President François Hollande

“The first [goal] is to promote women's [position]. …The goal is to enable all girls in the world to freely go to school, to have access to work, to also be able to found their own businesses, and to be able to be autonomous and independent in their lives... The second goal is to promote the place of women for peace... We must mobilize and that's what we're going to do during this General Assembly, to strengthen the means of the High Commission for Refugees, to find a solution to what is happening in Syria, ... combat terrorism, because stopping the war is bringing an end to the suffering of women... In Paris, we will be holding the Climate Conference, and we have been able to note that climate injustices strengthen even further inequalities. …We've also been able to note that it is the women who can be the most capable of playing a role in finding solutions to global warming and preserving the environment. It's for this reason I would ask that ...in the Paris Conference, financing for women will be a priority. The final objective is to promote the [position] of women because this is to act for dignity. I therefore call for the universal ratification of the Convention on all Forms of Discrimination against Women. … If we want these goals to become truly the global order, if we want these to be achieved, there’s only one way to do it: To give many more women responsibility in countries that make up the international community, to ensure equality at all levels of the administration and politics. If I can give an example, in France, the Government that I chose and created has more women than men.”

Georgia: Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili

"2015 is the year of women in Georgia. …[We are] committed to fully improve our gender equality and women’s empowerment policy framework. On November 9 and 10 we will host the international high-level conference on achieving gender equality in the European neighbourhood region. Today I am here to make concrete commitments. First, Georgia will continue to update, enhance and develop next phases of gender equality, domestic violence, and women, peace and security national action plans... [We] will enhance our institutional mechanisms on gender by setting up and resourcing an interministerial commission on gender under my leadership. Thirdly, we will continue to update and reform our legal system. [We plan] to amend the labour code [with] protection of women’s employment rights, and we will revise the gender equality law to …address cases of gender discrimination with the newly adopted non-discrimination law. And we will also ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention. Fourthly, we will work with development partners, the UN family and civil society to jointly address the practice of early marriages. An intersectoral taskforce with this purpose will be established in my office…. Dedicated awareness raising-campaigns [will take place] on combating violence against women and girls, and prevention of early marriages. The final commitment I can make is that my country, Georgia, will continue to adhere to human rights standards and implement Georgia’s international commitments to women’s rights, such as CEDAW and [the] Beijing Platform for Action." [Speech]

Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel

"Women have to play a more prominent role in politics, in the economy, and in society. [We commit] ourselves to…launching an initiative to improve [women’s] professional qualifications in developing countries and…promote the entrepreneurial empowerment of women. In Germany too there is still room for improvement. … We've greatly enhanced the possibilities for child care and we finally have a law on women in leadership positions. We all committed ourselves in 1995 to implement the Beijing Platform for Action. Now we are making a new commitment with Sustainable Development Goal 5. Commitments are good. Action is better. Let us take action!" [Previous commitment]


“Iceland is committed to closing the gender pay gap by 2022…. Iceland has a proven track record on advancing gender equality and this has been instrumental in the progressive development of our society. It therefore gives me great pleasure that our new session of Parliament…has the highest number of women parliamentarians yet, with about 45 per cent of parliamentarians being women…. I am proud to stand before you here as one of the 10 heads of government or state that are HeforShe champions in the impact 10-10-10 initiative of UN Women. I am joined by close to 6 per cent of Icelandic men who have taken the pledge. We are determined to get more of our fellow countrymen to sign up, and will also encourage males around the world to sign up…and engage…in achieving gender equality…. Parliament has confirmed a huge increase for funding issues of equality. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s rights to vote and stand in parliamentary elections, we have set up a…five-year equality fund. Over half of the grants will be awarded to international equality efforts.”

Ireland: President Michael Higgins

“Ireland has made gender equality a priority area of our foreign policy. Our strategies at home and abroad will be more robust because of our new universal commitment. Since its election to the UNHRC in 2013, Ireland has taken every opportunity to highlight the right of all girls in every country to quality education, we’ve emphasized the centrality of promoting women’s participation in decision-making at all levels, and the importance of eradicating harmful practices, especially female genital mutilation. Ireland is firmly dedicated to the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 recognizing as it does the negative impact of conflict on women and girls and the particular contribution of women to peacebuilding. And we’ve recently published the second national action plan on Women, Peace and Security; our particular priority is attached to the prevention of and response to gender-based violence including institutional violence, which undermines the health, well-being and livelihoods of millions of women around the world. We should not have to wait 15 years to end violence against women and girls; any paradigm of gender equality is not the gift of men, either generously or reluctantly given. Gender equality is a right achieved, not a gift; and during visits to Africa [one] could see that gender equality cuts across all areas and arrangements… Impact the achievement of gender equality in a positive direction; they must assist its achievement [and] never obstruct it; let us be clear we cannot achieve the new SDGs if we do not achieve gender equality; if we do not enable the true empowerment of women and girls worldwide our declarations will be shown to be empty rhetoric. We must… gather momentum in our change so this does not happen.”

Italy: Prime Minister Matteo Renzi

"When we adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we pledge to leave no one behind. Despite progress, much remains to be done. The Beijing Platform for Action remains our blueprint for advancing women’s rights and a more sustainable future for everyone. Italy is here to confirm we remain fully committed to implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action. We support fully the commitment taken collectively at the European level. In addition…, I’m very pleased to announce…that Italy will continue to support multilateral initiatives to eliminate harmful practices, especially female genital mutilation, and child, early and forced marriage. We’re going to devote new resources of up to 50 million Euros in the next two years for maintaining gender equality and full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls…. In particular we continue to strongly support UN Women and UNFPA by maintaining high levels of national contributions to resources and programmes."

Kazakhstan: Senator Byrganym Aitimova

“My country will go beyond ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment at the national level to providing regional leadership. Hosting UN Women’s multi-country office and the proposed UN Regional Hub in Almaty, Kazakhstan will strive, together with other Members States, to achieve the goals of the Beijing Declaration in the region of Central Asia and beyond.” [Kazakhstan] “sees the need.. to manage the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to SDGs, carrying forward lessons learned and galvanizing them into transformative change, even for the most marginalized and disadvantaged women and girls facing multiple intersecting forms of discrimination and abuse. … Our declarations must be translated into adequate financing with strong transparent and open accountability governmental mechanisms, utilizing high-level comparable gender data with statistics in all aspects of gender equality. ... A sum of US $56 million is allocated for developing programmes for women’s entrepreneurship, representing presently 40% of the entire medium- and small[-sized] business sector in the country. ... The Government’s “Kazakhstan Strategy 2050” [is] an exemplary national model, accompanied by its road map “Nyrly Zhol”, meaning the bright future. We have enacted national legislation, made long-term financial commitments with unquestioned political support for the Beijing Declaration. In addition, we uphold all international instruments, including CEDAW, that have a bearing on women." [Commitment]

Kyrgyzstan steps it up: Announces new commitments in its National Action Plan for Gender Equality

The Government of Kyrgyzstan holds gender equality as a priority and has several measures outlined in the National Strategy for the Achievement of Gender Equality by 2020 for the advancement of women in the economy; education for girls and women; access to justice; and gender parity in decision-making and women’s political participation. To support the implementation of this long-term strategy and to help close gender equality gaps, Kyrgyzstan joins Step It Up by committing to strengthen its 2015–2017 National Action Plan for Gender Equality by adding the following new measures: integrating gender-sensitive principles into human resources policy at a State and municipal level; providing informational support for promoting women’s political participation and leadership; and implementing a social order mechanism for supporting women’s political leadership at all levels and promoting female leaders’ potential. [Commitment: en | Русский ]

Latvia: President Raimonds Vējonis

“We will continue to strengthen our legal framework, acceding to [the Istanbul] Convention by 2018. Latvia supports other partner countries. We will support local authorities and civil society in Central Asia to fight all forms of violence against women.”

Liechtenstein: Prime Minister Adrian Hasler

“We remain committed to the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and are happy to endorse the political declaration adopted by the Commission on the Status of Women earlier this year. … Our commitment to international criminal justice also has a strong focus on gender issues, as illustrated through our work with justice rapid response and the ICC trust fund for victims. … Additional efforts will be needed to reach our goals with respect to political participation and to ensure equal pay for equal work. We note in this regard the call to action by the UN Global Compact and others. … Liechtenstein furthermore pays special attention to ending violence against women. To this end we have strengthened national legislation and run a successful government campaign to raise awareness.”

Luxembourg: Prime Minister Xavier Bettel

“To achieve a world where gender equality is a reality, my government is pursuing four main priorities in our government plan and also in our gender equality plan for 2015-2018. First we want to eliminate inequalities in decision-making and especially in the political and economic spheres. Luxembourg expects to implement a very robust policy in this area in order to achieve, by 2019, a minimum quota of 40 per cent of women on all executive boards in public establishments in Luxembourg. We will have 40 per cent also in the large enterprises and private businesses where women can be stakeholders and shareholders. We expect to have 40 per cent of women on candidacy lists for parties in political elections. … Men should be involved in having professional equality for men and women. Family life and professional life should not be incompatible. …It is up to us in politics to make sure that the two are compatible…so that women can do both. …[My government] is committed to ratifying the Istanbul Convention as soon as possible. …Women and girls must have access to the same [education] as men do, especially in sciences and maths. We are continuing to work to deconstruct stereotypes in the educational sphere with awareness-raising campaigns. …We must end all forms of discrimination, especially sexism. We are working [on this] at the national and international level. We are maintaining our contribution to gender equality mainstreaming [at] the UN [and]...to UN Women.” [Speech]

Montenegro: President Filip Vujanović

“The Government of Montenegro is committed to ensure that women and girls have equal rights and opportunities in all spheres of life and live free of violence. Our National Plan for Achieving Gender Equality was based on the Beijing Platform for Action. We commit to the implementation of the plan to improve the role of women in all areas of the society. The law on gender equality has been amended, and Montenegro pledges to fully implement the amended law to ensure women’s full participation in decision-making. Montenegro was a strong advocate for the stand-alone goal on gender equality and all gender-related targets and indicators in the other goals. Thus, Montenegro commits to implement all national and international standards [to achieve gender equality]. Additionally, it will undertake awareness-raising campaigns on ending violence against women and engage men and boys in this effort.” [Speech]

Netherlands: Prime Minister Mark Rutte

"Netherlands government is committed to increasing women’s economic independence and financial self-sufficiency. Equality between women and men is also a guiding principle of our foreign and development efforts because gender equality provides a basis for stability and economic prosperity. We work closely with governments, businesses and civil society organizations … around the world to achieve this goal. In January 2016, my Government is launching a programme called Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women. Its aim is to support women’s economic and political participation, and combat violence against women and girls in low-income and lower-middle-income countries. It will be the largest fund of its kind in the whole world. An important part of our international efforts is advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights. For women worldwide to have a voice and economic opportunities, they need to be able to make their own choices about sexuality and family planning. So in 2016 the Netherlands is launching another major fund to advance these rights around the world."

Norway: Prime Minister Erna Solberg

"In two weeks time, my Government will present a white paper to the Norwegian Parliament on gender equality. This will lay the foundation for long-term targeted efforts for equality between women and men. The focus will be on education, work and the business world, as well as health, violence and abuse. These are universal issues when it comes to gender equality. No country is perfect. We all have to do our job. A strong legal framework is essential for combatting discrimination, including gender discrimination. In 2016, my Government will present a renewed comprehensive equality act and discrimination bill to the Norwegian Parliament. Yesterday, UN Member States formally agreed on the [Sustainable Development Goals], which sets 2030 as an expiration date for gender inequality. Some say that this is too ambitious. I say, “Let’s speed it up.” Because this is a question of human rights. We need to accelerate the implementation of the [Beijing Platform for Action] that we adopted 20 years ago. …Let us therefore commit ourselves to doubling our efforts…." [Speech]

Romania: President Klaus Werner Iohannis

“Romania stands for gender equality and will continue to be fully committed to the protection and promotion of all the rights of women, as well as to the implementation of legal international instruments, such as the Beijing Platform for Action, Istanbul Convention or UN Security Council resolution 1325 … I’m personally committed … to launch a new integrated system to track, report and prevent all forms of violence; to create the new profession [of] gender equality expert across Romania; as well as to develop and implement programmes to engage girls and boys in political, social and economic life, to create the next generation of leaders.”

Slovenia: Prime Minister Miroslav Cerar

“Slovenia is fully committed to…the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. We reaffirm the 2030 Agenda…where the implementation of each and every [Sustainable Development Goal] must include equal participation and equal enjoyment of rights for women and girls… Inequalities between women and men still exist, and no country is immune to this. We pledge and call on others to…further challenge traditional notions of masculinities, and traditional norms, laws, and practices that support them. We also believe that gender equality…requires active involvement of men and boys. This is why…ministers of my government and I joined the HeForShe campaign. Slovenia will continue to support and promote the role and responsibility of men and boys as allies and agents of change in the promotion of women’s and girls’ rights. For several years, Slovenia [has kept] the issue of violence against women and girls high on the political agenda, [making] significant progress in preventing and combatting violence. Recently we became party to the…Istanbul Convention. Slovenia has affirmed its commitment to foster…gender equality…by adopting the national programme for equality between women and men by 2020.”

Spain steps it up: Investments in equal opportunities, awareness campaigns

Emphasizing that the fight against gender violence is a "national priority” that deserves special attention, Spain vows to continue working for a comprehensive response to all forms of violence, such as trafficking for sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and sexual assault. Investing in gender equality, Spain's Strategic Plan for Equal Opportunities 2014-2016 is allocated a budget of EUR 3.1 million. To promote the participation and leadership of women in political, economic, social and cultural life, the country commits to strengthen the initiative "More Women, Better Business", aimed at moving towards balanced participation in management positions in companies. A Code of Good Governance of Listed Companies, adopted in February 2015, urges companies to increase the number of directors representing at least 30 per cent of the total by 2020. Spain also commits to conduct awareness campaigns to fight against stereotypes, promote equal opportunities and combat violence against women, primarily directed at youth and adolescents. In October, under the Spanish presidency of the Security Council, the High-level Review on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 will be held to assess progress, renew commitments and address obstacles in the implementation of the resolution, as the country celebrates the 15th anniversary of its adoption. As a symbol of its importance, the Prime Minister of Spain will host a high-level debate on 13 October. [Commitment: es]

Sweden: Prime Minister Stefan Löfven

“We will ensure that our national policies and our national budget allocations contribute to gender equality. And we will ensure that our development and humanitarian aid is gender-sensitive across all areas of cooperation and support. Fellow feminists, the Beijing Platform for Action and our new 2030 Agenda are powerful action plans for equality, for development and peace. In this spirit, Sweden is taking action to strengthen women’s contribution to peace and security. We will develop a network of women mediators, which within two years, will be ready to assist peace efforts wherever they occur. The aim of this initiative is, however, not only to develop our own capabilities, but more importantly also to cooperate with female mediation networks from the global south. We know that women’s participation at all levels is vital to the success and sustainability of peace processes and peacebuilding efforts. So proactive leadership is needed to promote and include women. " [Commitment, speech]

Switzerland: President Simonetta Sommaruga

“True to its commitment to the protection of those who defend women’s rights, Switzerland will pursue the promotion of their freedom of action and of expression, without fear of reprisal. As a Government, we also have the political duty to connect the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and Agenda 2030, in order to move forward their goals, which are complementary, at the national level. The translation of these efforts into internal policies remains a priority. We [will make] efforts, in particular, to combat wage discrimination, to achieve a better work-family balance and to fight against domestic violence. Switzerland has the firm intention to continue to support the action of UN Women and to increase its contribution to almost US $50 million for the period 2015 to 2017. It is also important to Switzerland that all other United Nations entities whose mandates it supports mainstream a gender perspective into their respective activities. Finally, Switzerland considers it fundamental that the international commitments made be accompanied by strong follow-up procedures. The Commission on the Status of Women, due to its responsibility in the follow-up and the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, must play a central role in this." [Speech: en | fr]