Speech Article from  Global Affairs Canada

Address by Minister Bibeau on girls' engagement in implementing the 2030 Agenda

March 15, 2016 - New York City, New York

Check against delivery. This speech has been translated in accordance with the official languages policy and edited for posting and distribution in accordance with the Government of Canada’s communications policy.

Thanks to all of you for participating in this event.

Girls and women are powerful agents of change. That is why we need to ensure they have the tools and opportunities to build the world they desire.

As we move forward, there is still much to be done. Women and girls need to be considered at all levels.

Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is a priority for Canada both at home and abroad. We recognize that you cannot achieve peace and prosperity if half of the world’s population is left behind.

Although work is being done to address the systemic barriers women and girls face, we must also ensure that gender equality is part of all our actions toward the Sustainable Development Goals.

Internationally, the Government of Canada is committed to eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls so that they can enjoy their full human rights, including in conflict, humanitarian and emergency situations.

We believe that educated girls today will become the empowered women of tomorrow.

And we will continue to work to overcome the barriers girls face in getting safe, high-quality education. It is important that young women, as well as young men, be equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to make effective decisions and succeed in life.

We tend to focus on women and girls when we talk about gender equality, but we also need to engage men and boys in the conversation so they become our allies.

That is why I talk to my teenage son about valuing equality, practising respect and speaking up when he sees discrimination. We all need to set an example not just for our daughters, but for our sons—no matter where we live.

I am fortunate that as the minister of international development, I have the opportunity to help advance gender equality through the work of my government.

Our government believes that women and adolescents should have access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services. They have sexual and reproductive rights. Without access to sexual and reproductive health services and without having these rights recognized, women and girls cannot plan their future, nor can they lift themselves out of poverty.

That is why our government is determined to support access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health care services that women and girls need.

Recently, we demonstrated our commitment by announcing our contribution to the UN Population Fund’s [UNFPA’s] 2016 budget. We also announced Canada’s renewed support for the UNFPA’s contraceptive supplies program.

We also announced a contribution to the UNFPA’s efforts to prevent teenage pregnancies in Honduras and to a project in South Sudan that will train midwives and other front-line health care providers.

And those are just the first steps of a broader Canadian plan to advance the rights and empowerment of women and girls in developing countries.

In addition, our government is playing a leadership role in ending child marriage, one of the targets for achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. Our efforts must now focus on making this a reality.

Here at the United Nations, we are co-leading a resolution with Zambia on ending child, early and forced marriage. This will help us generate support from other governments to take action.

Child, early and forced marriage is a complex and multidimensional issue that robs girls of their futures. Changing these practices will require the engagement of all sectors of society.

If we are to achieve peace, prosperity and sustainable development, women and girls must be at the table. All of our voices must be heard if we are to make child marriage history.

I applaud your vision for a better, more equal, sustainable world and your efforts to get us there.

I look forward to our discussion.

Thank you.


Bernard Boutin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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