Covid 19: Countries more at risk of derailing gender goal – UN Deputy Sec-Gen.
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WITH barely nine years to year 2030, the goal of achieving gender equality appears bleak in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic that now threatens to erase over 20 years of progress made towards ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls, an integral part to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development.
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed, in a chat with Aljazeera on Saturday, said countries were investing less in achieving Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and urged for more deliberate financing for the achievement of the gender goal.
“We are perhaps most at risk of losing traction on the gender goal because it is a goal that matters to all others and when we see the investments in the other goals, we don’t see the investments a little bit targeted towards women and girls. Every government needs to put in place an emergency response to gender-based violence in their countries,” Mohammed, who is Nigeria’s former Minister of Environment, said.
She further said that Covid-19 stimulus packages should be channeled to improve funding for the underfinanced SDGs, especially gender equality, stressing that “it is the responses that we have now that will determine the quality of that build back better.”
A recent study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) found that stimulus packages in 2020 were much larger but less channeled towards these key SDGs affecting basic human needs and underpinning societies’ ability to achieve sustainable development.
“Despite strong public commitment to SDG 5, we found few countries using stimuli to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in response to either crisis,” the report stated.
The UN chief said gender equality by 2030 required urgent action to eliminate the many root causes of discrimination curtailing women’s rights in private and public spheres. She said discriminatory laws were needed to proactively advance equality.
Responding to a question on what she would do differently to address the issue of kidnapping targeted at school girls in Nigeria, Mohammed said people would take to criminality when there were injustice, exclusion and loss of hope. She said targeting resources to ensure that young people have an alternative to conflict and violence would be key to curbing insurgency.
“On the other hand, we have to strengthen our security systems and leadership across security networks to make sure that they are also inclusive, that they also uphold the law and the rights of people in discharging their duties,” she added.
Debunking insinuation about nurturing any interest to vie for an elected office in the near future, the UN Deputy Secretary-General expressed optimism that a female president would make a difference in governance in Nigeria.