Statement at the Commission on the Status of Women Interactive Dialogue Focus Area/Emerging Issue Getting Back on Track

Aiste Ray
Commission on the Status of Women Delegate
New York, New York
March 16, 2023


Thank you Chair for convening us for this discussion. I also want to express gratitude to the speakers for presenting a sobering picture of the challenges we face and the collective responsibility we share to get back on track.

As we approach the midpoint of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, this discussion is more important than ever.

The overlapping impacts of COVID-19, the climate crisis, rising economic instability, conflict and increasing food insecurity are only exacerbating gender inequalities.

We are especially concerned about women and girls who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, such as women and girls with disabilities, LGBTQI+ persons, women and girls from marginalized racial, ethnic, or religious backgrounds, and indigenous women and girls.

We know that rates of gender-based violence increase during conflict and crisis, including during the COVID-19 pandemic and in climate disasters.

We know that armed groups use sexual violence as a tactic of war to advance military or political aims. And we know that displaced women and girls fleeing violence are particularly vulnerable to targeting by traffickers and other opportunists.

Because of these risks, it is essential to incorporate GBV prevention and response as a fundamental part of our humanitarian assistance, as well as our efforts to promote peace and security.

However, GBV is consistently underfunded in humanitarian crises. According to OCHA’s Financial Tracking System, in 2022, more than $965 million was requested for GBV programming and only $190 million was received. This striking gap means that survivors in most humanitarian contexts cannot get the lifesaving services and support they need.

Women-led organizations are frontline humanitarian responders, arriving first and staying last to support to their communities, including GBV survivors.

Despite their effectiveness, such organizations usually cannot access humanitarian funding or meaningfully participate in humanitarian decision-making.

We must do better and support innovative mechanisms that transfer power and resources to women-led organizations — and we must track the progress of these efforts.

The U.S. government recently launched its initiative Safe from the Start – ReVisioned to further promote women’s leadership, prioritize gender-based violence programming, and — importantly — to shift funding, influence, and decision-making to women and girls.

United States’ efforts to combat GBV and promote gender equality are a particular point of pride. They are grounded in the belief that we cannot protect human rights, maintain peace and security, [and advance sustainable development unless the human rights of all women and girls in all their diversity are respected.]