Madame Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

2. At the outset, allow me to extend our warm congratulations to you, as Chair of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, and through you, to the members of your Bureau. We express our full confidence in your successful stewardship of this session.

3. The Group would also like to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for his efforts in submitting the report under the priority theme identified for this session, namely: " Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls." The report will surely enrich our deliberations during the session.
4. This year's priority theme is of utmost importance to the Group of 77 and China. The Group concurs with the SG that social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure are integral to achieving the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. In addition, progress in these three areas is key to implementing the 2030 agenda, notably goal 5, on gender equality and gender empowerment, which is not only a fundamental human right, but one necessary for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The Group of 77 and China remains steadfast in its commitment to gender equality and empowerment of women as well as to the respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.

5. While there has been progress in women's and girls' access to social protection and public services, the Group remains concerned that progress has been slow, and that women and girls have been disproportionately left behind. The G77 and China firmly believes that the empowerment of women is fundamentally linked to sustainable development. Hence, the Group continues to be deeply concerned about the continued feminization of poverty, inequality, high wage gaps and the fact that women are overrepresented in the informal sector and among the poor.

6. The report of the SG underlines that while global poverty rates have declined, progress has been uneven throughout the regions. In fact, the SG report states "2015, 736 million people continued to live in extreme poverty, and there is evidence that the pace of poverty reduction is beginning to decelerate." In this regard, the Group notes that women and girls comprise the majority of those living in extreme poverty. Therefore, the Group emphasizes that the eradication of poverty, including extreme poverty, is an indispensable requirement for women's empowerment and sustainable development.

7. The Group recognizes that violence against women and girls continues to be a major obstacle to the achievement of gender equality. The Group emphasizes the need for measures to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, thus the need to improve the collection and analysis of data disaggregated by relevant factors. The Group recalls that the same obstacles to the achievement of gender equality are experienced by women and girls living in countries affected by armed conflict and living under foreign occupation or unilateral and coercive measures contrary to international law. Here, we would like to express our appreciation to the Secretary-General for the submission of his report on "The situation of, and assistance to, Palestinian Women".

8. Moreover, climate change poses a challenge to the achievement of sustainable development. The Group of 77 and China remains concerned that it is the world's poorest and those in vulnerable situations, especially women and girls, who bear the brunt of environmental, economic and social shocks. It is important to remember, however, that women are also active actors or agents of change in relation to both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Women possess a strong body of knowledge and expertise that can be used in disaster risk reduction and adaptation strategies.

9. The Group reaffirms its commitment to the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in particular the remaining implementation gaps in all 12 critical areas and the outcome of the twenty-third Special Session of the General Assembly and the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable development.

10. Furthermore, in order to achieve these objectives, all efforts should be geared towards the creation of an inclusive environment that ensure equal access to the labor market, quality education, health care services and employment for all without any discrimination.

11. The Group underlines the paramount importance of enhancing international cooperation, including the role of North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation, the latter being a complement to North-South cooperation, not a substitute, and global partnership to address challenges faced by women and girls and enhance their opportunities.

12. Lastly, the Group stresses that all States have the obligation, at all levels, to use all appropriate means of a legislative, political, economic, social and administrative nature in order to promote and protect all human rights, including the right to development, and fundamental freedoms of women and girls, leaving no one behind. We reaffirm the importance of State Parties complying fully with their international obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Thank you.