Remarks at UN Commission on Population and Development 56th Session

Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
April 12, 2023


Mr. Chairman, the United States is pleased to participate in this Fifty-sixth Session of the Commission on Population and Development. We welcome the Commission’s focus on equitable access to education and accelerated progress to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, and 5.

Quality education lifts up communities, grows economies, and empowers individuals everywhere to realize their dreams. That includes young people with disabilities, the indigenous child, LGBTQI+ youth, children in conflict settings, and beyond. We must continue to work together to increase access to quality education, ensure our students feel safe and supported, and dismantle barriers where they exist.

The United States values its collaboration with the global community across the humanitarian, development, and peace nexus. We support critical initiatives like “Education Cannot Wait,” which supports access to quality, safe, and inclusive education for conflict and disaster effected children. Such work is essential, given the increasing number, duration, and intensity of crises around the globe and their impact on our collective educational goals.

Education unlocks countless opportunities, yet a shocking 130 million girls around the world are not in school today.

Today, we stand in solidarity with the women and girls of Afghanistan who should be in school or engaging in fulfilling professional careers. Achieving sustainable and inclusive development demands the full and meaningful engagement of women and girls in all their diversity – not just as secondary actors, but as leaders, visionaries, and changemakers.

Investing in a girl’s education can fundamentally change the trajectory of her life and uplift her community with generational impact. We must continue to make progress on addressing tangible barriers, including the ability of all women to exercise their bodily autonomy, improved social and gender norms regarding menstrual health, access to essential information and products. We must also make progress on removing obstacles like school fees and lack of transportation.

We also know that ensuring girls access to secondary education directly addresses numerous protection needs, including reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS. In this regard, the United States is determined to realize an AIDS-free generation through PEPFAR investments in reaching adolescent girls and young women through the DREAMS program.

Engaging youth as critical agents of change also includes providing them with accurate information to make informed decisions to navigate a world where gender-based violence, gender inequality, early and unintended pregnancy, HIV and STIs continue to pose serious risks to their health and well-being. As similar challenges face communities around the world, we support the UN’s evidence-informed normative guidance on comprehensive sexuality education. This technical work serves as an important public health resource for member states scaling up their support to provide youth with essential tools to promote health and well-being.

From the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action to the 2030 Agenda, the global community has recognized that quality education is essential for our collective future. As we prepare for the 30th anniversary of the ICPD, inclusive and meaningful progress towards sustainable development depends on leaving no one behind, on solidarity with those who are vulnerable, and on championing human rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equality.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.