Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Remaining committed to empowering women socially, economically, and politically – UK statement at UN Second Committee [November 2022]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 23 November 2022.

Thank you, Madam Chair,

The UK fully aligns with the statement delivered by Canada.

Let me start by commending the excellent efforts of our co-facilitators, El Salvador and Morocco, throughout this process, and for putting forward a text, that although not perfect, was the best path to consensus during a difficult negotiation process. We sincerely regret that silence was broken at the last minute by a small minority of Member States.

The UK has been at the vanguard of standing up for the rights of women and girls around the world. We remain committed to fulfil every girl’s right to quality education; to empower women socially, economically, and politically; to end violence against women and girls; and to champion sexual and reproductive health and rights.

It was with this intention that we worked to strengthen this resolution. Next year marks the half-way point in the journey to achieve the SDGs, the clock is ticking. This year’s discussion presented an opportunity to demonstrate our collective commitment to moving the dial forward on gender equality and achieving SDG5.

But we regret that efforts to strengthen the resolution and respond to the evidence detailed in the Secretary General’s report were not considered acceptable by some. Particularly on gender-responsive climate action, violence against women and girls, and women and girls’ access to health services, in particular universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.

We also sincerely regret the persistent backlash against women and girls’ rights from a small minority of Member States. Let me be clear, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination is agreed and important language: people do not live single-issue lives where they experience sexism, racism and ableism separately. We need to depoliticize this important issue if we are to truly tackle inequality.

Madam Chair, to finish, we welcome the approval of the amendments brought forward by the EU, allowing us to join consensus. However, we do question the merit in adopting a text every two years that does not move us forward in our work to achieve gender equality. We hope future Second Committee discussions on this important issue reflect the actual situation for women and girls around the world, and the urgency at which we need act to if we are to achieve SDG5 by 2030.