Advisory for Economic and Social Affairs
New York, New York
March 18, 2023
Thank you, Madam Chair and Madam Executive Director.
The United States would like to thank Argentina’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Squeff, for your facilitation of the Agreed Conclusions, and a special thanks to your wonderful team and our wonderful and steadfast colleagues Pilar and Flor. Your gender and third committee colleagues are so grateful for you.
The United States is deeply concerned by the current working methods of the Commission. The United States would have been happy to adopt these conclusions several hours ago and would have like to have had the proper amount of time to review the text. Negotiations over this text broke-down over non-germane matters that are neither agreed nor – more importantly – advancing the status of women and girls.
We have sacrificed much including my delegation and many other delegations’ top priorities, including through last minute deletions of paragraphs with some of these important elements, including references to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and sexual and reproductive health.
To this end and for these unfortunate reasons, we are adopting these conclusions at one of the latest hours in many years. We owe the women and girls that we all represent to do better.
Regarding the content of the Agreed Conclusions, the United States is particularly pleased to secure strong language related to this year’s important theme, including on the gender digital divide, preventing and responding to technology-facilitated gender-based violence (TFGBV), the acknowledgment of the unique challenges women and girls face in the digital space, including indigenous women and girls, migrant women and girls, women and girls in remote, rural and island areas, and the additional accessibility and physical, environmental and attitudinal barriers women and girls with disabilities face including when accessing technology.
While we are deeply disappointed that the Agreed Conclusions did not include new language on comprehensive sexuality education, especially given its relevance to the priority theme, as well as references to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and could have included a direct reference on sexual orientation and gender identity, we acknowledge the importance of existing and new references to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and added references to diverse conditions and situations of women and girls.
We were pleased the text included language on the continuum of violence, as survivors experience multiple, recurring, and interrelated forms of GBV that take place both online and offline, and often simultaneously.
We regret that some Member States were unable to support the term “technology-facilitated gender-based violence” in the text, which is the most accurate and encompassing terminology for this form of GBV. We also regret that the text does not include language on the access to justice for survivors of gender-based violence, given the many barriers that survivors face.
We welcome the text on women leaders, politicians, activists, human rights defenders, and journalists who are disproportionately affected by TFGBV. Increasingly, this violence is wielded deliberately by illiberal actors around the world, including state-sponsored and extremist groups, who seek to halt democratic movements and shore up their own political power.
Around the world, women and girls, including adolescent girls, disproportionately lack digital resources, physical tools, and access to skills training, including accessible digital resources for women and girls with disabilities. We are pleased to see language recognizing these challenges and a call to identify and eliminate all prejudice, discrimination, and obstacles that limit the access of women and girls with disabilities to information and communications technologies.
The United States supports language reaffirming the need to ensure equal access to inclusive and equitable quality education, including digital literacy, to allow all women and girls to adapt and thrive.
The United States is committed to the leadership of young women and girls, and we were pleased to have Luna Abadia, a youth delegate, join the U.S. delegation this year.
We note that these Agreed Conclusions do not change the current state of conventional or customary international law and do not create new legal obligations. For further points of clarification with respect to U.S. legal positions on these Agreed Conclusions, we refer you to our unabridged Explanation of Position which will be posted on the USUN website, probably early next week.