Intervention by the Permanent Representative of El Salvador, H.E. Ruben Escalante Hasbun on behalf of the Santo Domingo Group, namely Anatigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú and Uruguay at the closing of 62 CSW.
On behalf of Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, and my own country El Salvador, we wish to express our deep appreciation to you and all the members of your team, as well as to the bureau and the Secretariat and the staff of UN Women and the facilitation team, for the tireless efforts and professional work done during the 62st session of the CSW.
We welcome the adoption by consensus of the Agreed Conclusions of the Commission, which will have a direct impact on the full achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all rural women and girls, as well as in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
We recognize how complex the task has been. However, the number and extent of the proposals brought forward by delegations is a recognition of the importance that the Member States of the United Nations attach to the priority theme of this year’s session. We congratulate Mauricio Carabali for his excellent work as Vice-Chair of the CSW62 Bureau, representing the Latin American and Caribbean region. But in particular we highlight the outstanding way in which he conducted the negotiations of these Agreed Conclusions. We wholeheartedly congratulate him for his truly tireless efforts.¡Felicidades Mauricio y gracias!
As many of our colleagues are well aware, our Latin-American and Caribbean delegations jointly proposed language from the Santo Domingo Declaration, adopted by the Ministers and High Authorities of the National Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women of Latin American and the Caribbean as part of the regional consultations held on February in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, prior to this CSW session. The proposals reflected the priorities and realities of our region, emphasizing the critical importance of addressing the structural barriers that impede the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all rural women and girls.
In this respect, we strongly advocated during the negotiations for the recognition of rural women and girls in all their diversity, since they do not represent a homogenous group. Rural women and girls everywhere are diverse because of their livelihoods, social organizations, the activities that they carry out, the climate and environment in which they live, and of course by ethnic, cultural and historical elements, and therefore each and every one of them should be beneficiaries of specific public policies and legislations that address their particular needs and challenges.
We firmly believe that the diverse rural women and girls of our region, such as peasants, rural workers, indigenous, Afro-descendants, migrant, displaced, refugee, continental and insular, with disabilities, and living with HIV/AIDS, must enjoy the full exercise of their civil, political, environmental, economic, social, and cultural rights and deserve to live a life free of any form of violence and discrimination.
In the text, we have strived to include and strengthen, where needed, provisions regarding the full enjoyment of human rights of rural women and girls; the multiple and intersecting forms of discriminations they face; the impact of climate change and the unique vulnerabilities of rural women, especially those living in SIDS; the impact of violence and armed conflict in rural areas and the role rural women play in conflict prevention, peace-building and post-conflict processes; the importance of birth registration in rural areas; the eradication of child marriage; the protection and provision of redress for rural women and girls victims of trafficking; ensuring access to education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and in ICTs and new technologies; the strengthening statistical systems; as well as the machineries for the advancement of women; the strengthening of comprehensive care policies; investment in social infrastructure, technology and basic services; promotion of intercultural, and multilingual, education; the removal of structural barriers that impede rural women of working age to access decent work; increase access to poverty eradication programmes and policies, to credit and social protection; the strengthening of sustainable production and recognition of traditional and ancestral knowledge and practices for sustainable production and consumption; the protection of family agriculture; the access to safe and drinking water and sustainable and affordable technology; the inclusion of rural woman in all phases of disaster risk management; the access of women's businesses to food procurement programmes; the contributions of rural women to food security and nutrition; the participation and leadership of women in the management of land and natural resources; the importance of increase women’s access to land, regardless of their family marital status; the protection of the rights of Afro-descendant rural women, and the recognition of the work as well as the protection of women human rights defenders.
These are the topics that our delegations considered to be intimately linked to the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all rural women and girls, which is why we strongly worked for their inclusion in this text.
However, we regret that many important issues were not addressed in the text, first and foremost we are deeply saddened by the absence of an operative reference to rural women migrants. We see its absence as completely unrelated the promotion and protection of the human rights all migrant women and girls, regardless of their migration status, a commitment expressed by member states innumerable times. Furthermore, we strongly believe that migrants undoubtedly make a contribution to sustainable development. We will continue to advocate for them in CSW and elsewhere and shall not cease in our efforts to protect, promote and respect their human rights and to make visible their positive contributions.
Other issues we regret not to see included in the text are related to fostering political parity; integrating an intercultural, intergenerational and interlingüistic focus in public policies; promoting health services and access to justice with a multicultural perspective, taking into account local languages; guaranteeing the participation and leadership of indigenous women; the link between access to clean water and food security; the prevention and eradication of child labor; the protection of aquifers and river sources; the use of clean technologies and renewable energies.
Furthermore, we regret that the language related to gender based violence was not strong enough, falling short in addressing a crucial issue for the empowerment of all rural women and girls.
Also we are deeply concerned that the Commission did not appropriately and sufficiently addressed the issue of preventing early and repeated pregnancies in girls and adolescents, taking into that this is a matter of extreme urgency that needs to be addressed, more importantly in rural areas, where the prevalence of teenage pregnancy is much higher than in urban areas. We are hopeful that the Commission, in the near future, will be able to take this matter as one of its main priorities.
And although we appreciate the reference to the protection, use and exchange of endemic seeds, we would have preferred that the Commission recognize the role of indigenous women in this regard.
In the same line, we would have preferred to have a stronger provision on the call for transnational corporations and other businesses to refrain from harming the wellbeing of women and girls in rural areas and to take additional measures with regard to their responsibility and accountability, including the prevention, mitigation and remediation of human rights abuses.
Our delegations would like to take this opportunity to thank UN-Women, particularly its regional office in Latin America and the Caribbean, for all the support and guidance that they provided throughout this process. We would also like thank civil society, feminist groups and women human rights defenders for their tireless work and for accompanying our delegations in the preparation and throughout the session.
To conclude, Madam Chair,
Our work during the last weeks has taught us that, even when reaching agreements seems impossible, the open, inclusive and transparent dialogue among all delegations, the constructive spirit throughout the negotiations, as well as the appropriate leadership, are the best guarantees to work towards finding consensus. We believe, Madam Chair that this time, we were able to find the necessary common ground, while respecting each other’s diversity, in order to come up with a strong, substantive and meaningful outcome, these Agreed Conclusions, with the assurance that it will benefit all rural women and girls, leaving no one behind.