Remarks at a UN Third Committee Meeting on Advancement of Women

Courtney R. Nemfroff
Acting U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 4, 2019


Thank you, madam Chair. The United States has a long tradition of supporting women’s empowerment. President Trump has continued this proud tradition, asserting in his administration’s National Security Strategy, “Governments that fail to treat women equally do not allow their societies to reach their potential [while] societies that empower women to participate fully in civil and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful.”

A particular focus of the Trump Administration is women’s economic empowerment, which the Administration is pursuing through the launch of the U.S. Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP). W-GDP is the first-ever, whole-of-government approach to advance global women’s economic empowerment. When women are empowered economically, they reinvest back into their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that spurs economic growth and promotes more peaceful societies. As Advisor Ivanka Trump said during the launch of W-GDP, “When women are free to thrive, they bring stability to nations, as well as more jobs and economic growth. The economic empowerment of women should not be viewed as a ‘woman’s issue.’ It’s smart development assistance that benefits whole families, communities, and entire nations.”

W-GDP seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025 through the work of the U.S. government and partners, including bilateral and multilateral institutions, non-governmental organizations, and private-sector partners. The effect is balanced across three main pillars: supporting workforce development and skills training; helping women entrepreneurs with access to markets, capital, and networks; and working to change laws, regulations, and norms that limit women’s ability to fully participate in the economy.

W-GDP includes the establishment of a new W-GDP Fund housed at the United States Agency for International Development, as well as a commitment by the Administration to attribute no less than $300 million per year to programs to support W-GDP’s objectives. The initiative has also already generated millions of dollars in private sector support. A little more than one month ago, Advisor Ivanka Trump and the head of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation announced alongside Citibank that it has surpassed initial targets to mobilize $500 million to women in Latin America through its 2X Americas initiative.

W-GDP is just one example of our government’s work on this issue. In 2018, Ivanka Trump and USAID Administrator Mark Green also launched The Women Connect Challenge – a global call for solutions designed to close the digital divide for women. In 2017, President Trump became the first global leader to sign bipartisan legislation focused on women, peace, and security. In June of this year, the Administration then released the United States Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security, which focuses both on increasing women’s participation in political, civic, and security endeavors to prevent and resolve conflicts and on creating conditions for long-term peace around the world.

Through these initiatives and many others, the United States is redoubling its efforts to ensure that all women are fully included and treated on an equal basis to their male counterparts in all aspects of society.

The United States thanks the Secretary-General for his report on the situation of women and girls in rural areas in the context of a changing climate. While the United States thinks the report provides helpful information in a number of areas, we note that we would not endorse all of its findings or recommendations. With respect to references to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the gender action plan adopted by its Parties, we note that there are no specific commitments or obligations under the UNFCCC on gender equality, and related actions by Parties in support of the gender action plan are voluntary.

With respect to the Paris Agreement and climate change language in this document, the United States reaffirms its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement at the earliest opportunity, consistent with the terms of the Agreement. Therefore, the Paris Agreement and climate-change language is without prejudice to U.S. positions.

Madam Chair, the United States will continue to champion the human rights of women and to promote their economic empowerment. We will do it concrete ways with measurable results. We call on other member states and the international community to join us in this effort. Thank you.