Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China on agenda item 28: Advancement of women. We would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his various reports.

2. On this occasion, we would also like to convey our sincere appreciation to UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet, and pay tribute to her for leading the entity with distinction since its launch in 2011 in such a way that it has secured its place at the forefront of efforts for gender equality and women's empowerment.

Mr. Chairman,

3. The Group of 77 and China would like to reaffirm its support for the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome document of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly as the guiding policy framework for the achievement of women's development and gender equality, the full realization of their rights and the socio-economic empowerment of women and girls.

4. Despite continued progress over the last few decades in advancing gender equality, many women and girls around the world are still falling victim to numerous forms of discrimination and do not have equal opportunities to fulfill their potential. We are still faced with a myriad of challenges and obstacles that need to be thoroughly addressed and effectively overcome in order to achieve the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Those obstacles include high incidences of poverty and gender based violence, high levels of HIV and AIDS, as well as widespread unemployment and the lack of access to social services such as social protection, health and education. With respect to health, in particular, the Group wishes to highlight the importance of addressing the effects of both communicable and non-communicable diseases which affect even further the ability of women to realize their rights and achieve their fullest potential.

5. The Group also remains concerned regarding the persistence of gender stereotypes, trafficking in women and girls, women's under-representation in decision-making positions and processes, the violation of fundamental women's rights and the effects of climate change and global warming which are identified among the main impediments to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women.

6. In the light of these persistent challenges, we recognize the need to expand efforts and coordinate all necessary actions to address these important issues at the national and international level, and we call upon international organizations and developed countries to support national programs for women, including women and girls with disabilities as well as migrants, rural and indigenous women and girls. In this respect, the role of UN Women is of utmost importance in promoting better coordination within the UN System in order to address all these multiple barriers that impede the advancement of women.

Mr. Chairman,

7. In addition to those persistent obstacles, new threats and challenges are emerging. In this context, the Group of 77 and China would like to stress the importance of adopting appropriate measures to identify and address the ongoing negative impacts of the global economic and financial crisis, the food crisis and continuing food insecurity, energy access, the distortions and impediments to international trade and the challenges posed by climate change on women and girls, including women and girls with disabilities, and the need to design stimulus packages taking into account the needs, priorities and contributions of women. The Group also underscores the importance of gender-responsive budgeting initiatives to address gender gaps in policies, plans and budgets in order to contribute to gender equality and the fulfillment of women's rights.

8. The G-77 and China is also deeply concerned about the suffering of women and girls living under foreign occupation, and underlines the urgency for collective actions to remove the obstacles to the full realization of their rights.

9. The Group is also firmly committed in the efforts to end violence against women in all its forms and manifestations and stresses the need to implement concrete actions at all levels to prevent and eradicate this scourge.

10. In line with the Beijing Declaration, the Group of 77 and China is convinced that women's empowerment and their full participation in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision making-process and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace. To this end, it is necessary to continue to promote and facilitate the increased political participation of women as well as their participation in other decision-making positions.

Mr. Chairman,

11. As Member States strive for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, we must recognize the contribution of progress in gender equality and the empowerment of women, to these goals. In doing so, Member States must further mainstream the gender perspective into the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies as a priority in the national and international agendas of Member states.

12. It is also important to enhance international cooperation and global partnership for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women, including the fulfillment of commitments on official development assistance, debt relief, market access, financial and technical support and capacity building, in particular in areas such as women's education, health and job creation in order to contribute to the elimination of gender disparities.

13. The Group also reaffirms the importance of promoting the economic empowerment of women and their ability to generate incomes, ensuring equal access for all women, including those in rural areas, as vital development agents, to productive resources, opportunities and public services.

Mr. Chairman,

14. In closing, the Group of 77 and China reaffirms its commitment to the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and looks forward to working together towards the further advancement and empowerment of women.

Thank you.