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Gender equality

Statement by Mr. Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Office,
to the UN Special Session on Beijing + 5

New York, 5 June 2000

Dear Mr. President,

On the occasion of the twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly, I wish to extend to you and, through you, to every participant to "Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century", my warmest congratulations on behalf of the International Labour Organization.

Beijing+5 gives us an opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to achieving gender equality everywhere. Reaching this strategic objective in the new global economy is a major challenge. It calls for a stronger political will, concerted efforts at all levels and partnerships based on equality between men and women. Empowering women and freeing men and women from the confines of gender stereotypes will liberate us all to transform the prevailing development agenda. The time has come for us to move beyond sectoral solutions to integrated problems: we must adopt holistic and harmonized approaches to gender equality at the national and international levels. It is also time to join forces and create an enabling environment in which men and women everywhere have access to decent work that provides security for them and for their families. We take a decisive step towards globalizing social progress when we champion gender equality as a matter of human rights, social justice, economic efficiency and sustainable development.

The ILO will continue to work with governments, employers' and workers' organizations, and other actors of civil society to speed up the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and to pursue new and creative initiatives for gender equality, development and peace which emerge from Beijing+5.

I wish Beijing+5 every success.

Juan Somavia
Director General
International Labour Organization

Updated by CCH. Approved by JZ. Last update: 5 June 2000.