(As prepared for delivery)
Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of UNIDO, it is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to our joint celebration of International Women’s Day.
[As mentioned by Mr. Fedotov], the overall theme of this year’s international women’s day is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.
Think equal – build smart – innovate for change; each part of this message is at the core of how we can achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development, or ISID.
Think equal: Women’s equal participation and benefit from ISID allows economies to grow faster, lifts people out of poverty, opening the pathway further towards sustainable development.
Through our programmatic activities, UNIDO ensures that women have equal access to vocational training, skills upgrading and decent job opportunities. Gender is at the center of our work on capacity building and knowledge transfer. UNIDO’s commitment towards gender equality is entrenched in our Gender Parity Action Plan to achieve gender balance across our workforce.
Build smart: When women and men are equally engaged in meeting the challenges of development, we have more skills and knowledge to tap into. Study after study show that more diversity creates more innovation, brings greater profitability, and makes us smarter. Through capacity building efforts, UNIDO helps women enter traditionally male-dominated fields. We promote women’s leadership in industrial policy development, engaging them in the different sectors, including enabling them to create energy-efficient solutions and technologies.
Innovate for change: As UNIDO evolves to meet the challenges of the future, we will continue to support women innovators, entrepreneurs and industry leaders to find ways where technology and innovation can remove barriers and advance gender equality.
Our success in achieving this and realizing all sustainable development goals will depend on the strength of our cooperation. Partnerships with governments, civil and private sector, with our fellow UN agencies and between, each other, men and women are essential.
Today we are here to discuss how to build equal partnership between women and men for the benefit of all of us. In this context, I would say that men have an important but often less acknowledged role and responsibility. Let us be challenged by the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – I look forward to the discussions.
Thank you and Happy International Women’s Day!