Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (61)

Nicky McFadden


61. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which we can ensure that the Commission on the Status of Women taking place in March affirms Ireland's and the EU's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12129/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal UN global policy-making body on gender equality and the advancement of women. Ireland attaches great importance to the 57th session of the CSW, which is taking place from Monday 4 to Friday 15 March, as a centrepiece of our activities at the United Nations during our Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Ireland is being represented at the CSW by Ms Kathleen Lynch T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and the Department of Justice, Equality and Defence with responsibility for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People. Extensive preparatory and outreach work has been undertaken by Ireland’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. This focuses both on ensuring coherence in EU positions and on the building of cross-regional coalitions so as to maximise the possibility of a strong outcome to this year’s session.

The 57th session has as its priority theme the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. The outcome being aimed for in this regard is a set of agreed conclusions, which are negotiated by all States and which must be adopted by consensus. The review theme of this session is the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV and AIDS, based on the agreed conclusions of the 53rd session in 2009. The emerging issue of this session is an exploration of how key gender equality issues can be reflected in the UN post-2015 development framework.

An EU strategy paper to which Ireland has contributed sets out the objective of achieving strong agreed conclusions which preserve and strengthen the international agreements and commitments on gender equality and the empowerment of women, pursuing a rights-based approach to gender equality and the empowerment of women and countering attempts to undermine international human rights obligations.

Ireland’s focus is firmly on practical measures and we hope to see a number of concrete actions and best practices reflected in the agreed conclusions. The EU is represented in the negotiations on these conclusions by the EU Delegation, supported by the Irish Presidency. Ireland is also co-sponsoring a number of side events. We are closely involved in the organization of an event entitled “Mobilising communities to prevent and respond to violence against women – lessons learnt from Uganda”. The Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence is the main organiser of an event entitled “Addressing Gender Based Violence in fragile states in post conflict and fragile states – a case study of Sierra Leone”. Ireland will also support Amnesty International’s side event entitled “Women Human Rights Defenders” and a “Raising Voices” side event entitled “Exploring the evidence in preventing violence against women”. We hope that these side events will contribute to raising awareness around these issues among officials and civil society actors attending the CSW.