Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Explanation of Vote: United Nations 2nd Committee: Resolution on Women in Development

New York, 27/11/2019 - 23:31, UNIQUE ID: 191202_18
Statements on behalf of the EU

27 November 2019, New York – European Union Explanation of Vote delivered by Helge Finland on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Second Committee, 26th meeting on the Resolution on Women in Development

Thank you Mr Chair,


I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

Equality between women and men is one of the EU’s founding values. The EU is a strong and steady supporter of the human rights of women and girls and the full realization of gender equality, as well as the empowerment of all women and girls. These values centrally informed our engagement with the Women in Development resolution this year.

As stated two years ago, the EU believes that the Women in Development resolution to properly reflect the central importance of Agenda 2030. It was with this intention that we worked closely with delegations on strengthening this text. We are particularly glad to see strengthened language on climate, biodiversity, social protection, violence against women, sexual harassment as well as participation. This is a step forward.

However, there is still a lot to be done to adequately address the challenges that millions and millions of women and girls face around the world every day. It is particularly disappointing that the 63rd session on the Commission on the Status of Women and its agreed conclusions has been left unacknowledged in this resolution as it brings great value to the discussions on women’s rights, especially on social security, universal access to social protection, eliminating violence against women and girls, and the crucial role of civil society. In addition, we believe that language on climate change and biodiversity loss should have been further strengthened as climate change and biodiversity loss have a detrimental impact on women and girls, especially those living in developing countries.

In addition, we would like to highlight that the difficulty of the process of negotiating this resolution this year reflects the stark differences that do exist in the position of delegations on issues related to women’s rights and gender equality. It is unfortunate that it is this topic that divides us so deeply, but we cannot shy away from our differences. Rather we should seek to face them, using the United Nations for the very purpose it was created – to bring together nations in an attempt to find common ground even on the issues where this is most difficult.

Mr Chair,

The EU remains committed to ensure the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights of all women and girls. This includes the the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the outcomes of their review conferences and to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), in this context.


We have traditionally joined consensus on the Women in Development resolution. This year the language related to health was weakened to the extent that a similar regression is unprecedented in its scale and severity in the normative work of the second committee. With the approval of the amendments introduced by the European Union, the text again meets what we consider to be the absolute minimum standard on this issue.  We thank all delegations who supported the amendments.


Mr Chair


Gender equality is an essential precondition for equitable and inclusive sustainable development, which will not take place if half of the world’s population is left behind. We hope that the second committee in future sessions can provide a forum for updating the text of the women in development resolution to reflect the fundamental rights and needs of women and girls who are most at risk of being left behind.  We also hope that the spirit of consensus will be restored to the negotiations also for this resolution and will work constructively with all delegations to make this happen.


Thank you.

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