Gender and Development Initiative for Africa (GADIA) Gender Sector Performance Review Meeting

The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Sylvia Lopez-Ekra has charged participants at a gender performance review meeting to find ways of closing the gender gaps.

It is a real pleasure and an honor for me to join you this morning for this Gender Sector Performance Review. And I don’t say that it is a pleasure as a matter of rhetoric, those of you who know me well, know that I used to be the Director for Gender Issues at the International Organization for Migration in Geneva for many years and the Gender Champion for the UN in Ghana for several years, so gender is extremely close to my heart and a top priority for me.

So let me start by congratulating the Office of the President, the Ministry Of Gender, Children And Social Protection, the Presidential Advisor for Gender and Development as well as all stakeholders including UN agencies, that have made this review possible. This is a critical milestone in our journey to gender equality.

It would be remiss of me to go any further without warmly congratulating His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, for the remarkable work that he is doing as Gender and Development Champion for the African Union. I don’t think we need to remind all of us of his passion for both the SDGs and Gender and there couldn’t be a better incentive for all of us to deliver at a level that matches his expectations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

2020 is a critical year for all of us in this room. For many reasons but let me highlight just two. First it marks a new decade. A new decade that will see us triumph on the SDGs or fail to realize the promise that we have made to the people in 2015. 10 years is what we have left to achieve the SDGs. 10 years at a time where it is clear that if we continue at this pace, we will not succeed with challenges such as poverty and deprivations that are becoming more entrenched, hunger that is on the rise again, gender equality and the empowerment of women that is too slow, environmental degradation, plastic pollution and climate change that are slowly killing our planet.

Last January, the UN Secretary General has therefore declared a Decade of Action to deliver the global goals and to transform our societies, especially when it comes to poverty, inequalities, gender and climate change. The UN SG is calling on everyone everywhere, asking us to raise our levels of ambitions, to act this a renewed sense of urgency and to supercharge what works so that we can scale up solutions and reach the furthest left behind first. This is the spirit that should carry us through from now until 2030 and this is the spirit that should influence our collective mind as we engage in this Gender sector performance review. This is officially the end of business as usual.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In 2020, the global community will also mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. 2020 is therefore a critical year for the accelerated realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere. The sixty-fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women is planned to take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in March 2020 and as usual we expect Ghana to be well represented and make great contributions.

Ladies and gentlemen, guess what will be the main focus of the session? The review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including an assessment of current challenges that affect the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and its contribution towards the full realization of the 2030 Agenda. Yes a review. We will simply not get where we want to be if we do not take the time to pause and reflect. If we do not take the time to celebrate our victories, but also if we do not take the time to identify where we are failing. 

And here I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Gender, Children And Social Protection for submitting Ghana’s national review on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration, last year, contributing to the African continental report. We are also very fortunate that Ghana submitted its voluntary national review to the High-Level Political Forum in NY last year.

With these two documents as a starting point, and the submissions that we will hear today, we will certainly be in a strong position to assess Ghana’s progress on SDG5, which in the spirit of the integrated nature of the SDGs and the cross-cutting nature of gender needs the focused efforts of all MDAs and all MMDAs to become a reality. Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but is also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. In short, all the SDGs depend on the achievement of Goal 5.

So where are we on the issue of discrimination and violence? On unpaid care and domestic work, on sexual and reproductive rights, on decent work, on political participation? Do we have the data to inform our ambitions and ensure we focus on the furthest left behind first?

Let us together identify where the unfinished agendas are, reflect on how the SDGs, the Beijing Declaration, and the National Gender Policy have together contributed to national development. Let us also use it as an opportunity to strategize on how the systemic shortfalls or gaps identified in their implementation can be addressed; and how we can secure continued political and institutional support for gender equality at all levels. Finally let us use the multisector and multi-partner perspectives offered here to understand how we work together with a stronger voice and impact.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me end by saying that across the globe, women’s movements, young women and men are getting increasingly impatient for systemic change. They are raising their voices and are demanding to be heard. They are challenging us to do more. Again, this is no longer the time for baby steps or pushing more paper. People want change, change that impact their lives, change that is felt at the district level, in communities, in households. Let us commit here that this review will be a vehicle for such change, not only here in Accra but in every corner of Ghana.

Thank you.




Speech by
Ms. Abibatou Wane-Fall
Chief of Mission, IOM Ghana (resident), Togo and Benin
Ms Wane-Fall
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund