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"2013 ECOSOC High-Level Segment"
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Link to Official Document E/2013/NGO/19
Social Protection Floors, Gender Equality and Development

The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, an NGO present in more than 70 countries addresses the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) on behalf of girls and women living in extreme poverty.

The theme of the AMR segment brings to mind the Agreed Conclusion of Commission on the Status of Women 55th session, (2008) paragraph 9, outlining how access of girls and women to participation in science and technology is imperative for achieving gender equality and is an economic necessity leading to the full participation of girls and women in social, economic and political development. The same Commission noted and this continues to be the experience of our organization that dissemination of developments in science and technology has insufficiently responded to women's needs. The persistent feminization of poverty, gende- based violence and lack of access to health, education, training and employment reinforced by legal, economic, social and cultural barriers renders void the desires of the Commission.

Much has been reflected on, written up and recommended for implementation but the political will toward adapting innovative ways is lacking and thwarted by the demands of an economic model that prioritizes profit over development. Cultures carry meaning and unless challenged are the drivers of inequalities and violence - gender inequalities, poverty/wealth inequalities and gender based violence and their resultant consequences. Cultural mindsets reinforcing gender inequality and profits "at all cost" have perpetuated all sorts of human rights violations and exploitative actions against women and girls, sexually, economically, educationally and politically.

The AMR, achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the articulation of a post 2015 development agenda offer new possibilities. We are on the brink of moving to a new paradigm coupling a human rights based approach with equality. The Millennium Development Goals did not have a human rights framework nor a gender based violence prevention component. The dominant economic model has failed to eradicate poverty and has only facilitated growing inequalities. Poverty reduction, access to quality education, health, water and sanitation, equality between women and men, girls and boys and the elimination of gender-based violence must be addressed. Science, technology and innovation have much to offer. We are aware of how mobile technology boost health care in Bangladesh and in our programs mobile technology is used to combat violence against women and girls.

One very promising approach which has growing support among member states and non-governmental organization alike is the implementation of nationally tailored social protection floors in accordance with Recommendation 202 of the International Labour Organization. Our organization advocates for human rights-based social protection floors having a gender sensitive lens, and providing access to essential services and basic income financed from within national budgets. Human rights are a non negotiable element and more than principles and metrics. We urge member states to put science, technology and innovation at the service of girls' and women's dignity and empowerment through implementation of social protection floors towards sustainable development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

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