CHICAGO: One of the priorities of the new president of the 77th UN General Assembly, Csaba Korosi, and this year’s meetings is to increase the presence and involvement of women, his spokesperson Paulina Kubiak told Arab News on Wednesday.
The 77th Annual General Assembly of the United Nations opened on Tuesday, planning to address a wide range of issues and challenges facing the world, and identifying 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
In an interview on The Ray Hanania Radio Show, Kubiak said that Korosi, who was sworn into office on Monday, opening the 77th UNGA session with a call for “change,” will continue the efforts of his predecessor Abdulla Shahid to ensure women play a greater role in UN sessions and decisions.
Kubiak said that Korosi will participate in a meeting of the UNGA Platform of Women Leaders to be held on Tuesday Sept. 20, whose theme this year is “Transformative Solutions by Women Leaders to Today’s Interlinked Challenges.”
Women heads of state and government, she said, will be invited to share experiences, executing decisive and inclusive leadership and policies, with recommendations for building solutions to interrelated and complex crises that respond to society’s needs.
“It is going to be an opportunity for all the women heads of state and heads of government to come together and discuss issues such as climate change, such as the situation in Ukraine,” Kubiak said.
“And I think this will also highlight the fact that we actually don’t have that many women in those top leadership positions. I think at the UNGA last year there was only 13 that spoke. And according to UN Women, as of September last year there were only 24 women heads of state, heads of government. I think that event is going to be spotlighting on the need for us ... it’s 2022 and we really need more women represented in these positions.”
The meeting, hosted by Korosi’s office, is a continuation of efforts by Abdulla Shahid, who served as president of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.
“The platform that is going to be meeting this year actually comes out of a meeting that was held last year. It is something that the president of the General Assembly at the time, Abdulla Shahid . . . he has been very supportive of gender equality,” Kubiak said.
“He made sure his office here in the presidency was 50 percent men and women. It actually ended up being 54 percent. He said: Listen, I am not going to sit on any panel where women are not included, at least half. So, this has definitely been his issue. So last year he had a meeting with UN women and a couple of heads of state and he said this might be something we want to continue.”
Also scheduled to attend the platform will be Sima Bahous, the executive director of UN Women.
The platform is described in a Sept. 8 press release as a matter of urgency.
“As the world faces complex and interlinking challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian crises of unprecedented nature, a tipping point in climate change, as well as growing concerns about threats to our global economy, it is more crucial than ever to ensure women and men are equally represented in policy and decision-making,” the UN release stated.
Also appearing on The Ray Hanania Radio Show, Arab News UN correspondent, Ephrem Kossaify, called the issue of gender equality an urgent priority.
“There is another report that came out last week as part of the monitoring of the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals, the goal that has to do with women equality all over the world,” Kossaify said.
“We really saw shocking numbers. For example, at the current pace, we are going to need 300 years to achieve gender equality across the world. All the SDGs have suffered a setback this year.”
Kossaify said that while the world may be behind in pursuing gender equality, the UN is forging ahead to make it a reality.
Both agreed that the need to engage women and achieve gender equality is important for the world and a UN priority.
Kubiak said that UNGA 77 will address many important issues defined in the Sustainable Development Goals document, including gender equality.
The SDGS, Kubiak said, “are all designed to make the world a better place for people, for the environment, for animals, for everything, too.”
Kubiak said that attendance and presentations at this year’s session might be impacted by the funeral of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Sept. 8.
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