UN General Assembly 60th session
third committee

Item 64: advancement of women

Statement by Ms Nicola Hill on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand

13 October 2005

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Canada, Australia and New Zealand have made statements on the rights of women and gender equality at the General Assembly every year since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action were agreed in 1995. Every year, we have stated that our collective focus must now be on implementation. At no time has this statement been more appropriate than today. Today is our first opportunity to address women’s rights and gender equality since the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Beijing. Canada, Australia and New Zealand welcomed the universal reaffirmation of Beijing on the occasion of its tenth anniversary earlier this year. Again we call on States to honour the commitments made and reaffirmed so recently.

Madame Chair, ratification of CEDAW is fundamental to the implementation of Beijing and to the promotion and protection of the rights of women around the world. There are now 180 States parties to this Convention. We welcome the recent ratifications of this core human rights treaty by the United Arab Emirates, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Swaziland, San Marino and Monaco. There is a clear and steady momentum towards universal ratification. We call on those States who have not yet done so to ratify it as a matter of the highest priority.

Support for CEDAW must, however, translate into support for the Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Madame Chair. Only a matter of weeks ago, our leaders committed themselves to improving the effectiveness of the treaty body system, including through more timely reporting. CANZ acknowledges the consequences of the ever-growing number of States parties to this Convention. It is simply not possible for reports from 180 States parties to be considered in the meeting time available. We support extra meeting time and extra resources for the Committee. We call on all States to honour the commitment made by our Leaders and to ensure that the CEDAW Committee is resourced to do the job required of it.

This month also marks the 5th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. This resolution was a ground-breaking achievement. It was the first time the Security Council addressed this important issue in its entirety. The resolution established a comprehensive agenda on women, peace and security. We continue to believe that the implementation of this resolution is of fundamental importance to achieving sustainable peace and development. Canada, Australia and New Zealand wish to again register our unwavering commitment and support for the full and urgent implementation of this resolution.

Madame Chair, CANZ is committed to enhancing consideration of the rights of women and gender equality in United Nations fora. All too many negotiations see us going over old ground. On many issues, the time for negotiation is over. Debate in some cases has become stale and repetitive, with no tangible benefits for women. We call on all States to consider whether initiatives add value to international debate before putting them forward for negotiation and to consider initiatives that promote implementation. For its part, CANZ biennialised our resolution on the advancement of women in the United Nations system at UNGA last year. We did so because the issue is well understood. The proper focus now must be on the work of the Fifth Committee in implementing the standards in that resolution in the context of its human resource management.

Thank you, Madame Chair.