Speech

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, and wish to assure you of my delegation’s full support.

Jamaica aligns itself with the statements delivered by Bolivia on behalf of the G77 and China, Costa Rica on behalf of CELAC, and Guyana on behalf of CARICOM.

The Priority Theme for this session is of particular interest to Jamaica, as the MDG’s are in line with the goals set out in our own Vision 2030 National Development Plan.

This Plan aims to make Jamaica “the place where all our people will want to live, work, raise families and do business.”

As we assess our efforts, I am pleased to report that Jamaica has made significant gains, Yet we continue to face challenges that constrain our capacity to fully achieve the MDG’s.

I will speak to Goals 3, 4 and 5 today.

The Promotion of Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women has been bolstered in Jamaica by a number of legislative initiatives, gender mainstreaming and activities to eliminate gender based violence (GBV).

Work is now far advanced on the enactment of an Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation.

We are revising our National Strategic Action Plan on Gender Based Violence. This new plan will provide a road map of the strategies for eliminating violence against women and girls.

In May 2013, Jamaica approved the National Policy for the Reintegration of School Aged Mothers into the Formal School System. This means that teenaged mothers can return to school so that their education can remain relatively unaffected by the birth of a child.

Mr. Chairman, the women and girls of Jamaica continue to excel in education. More women than men are enrolled in and graduating from tertiary institutions.

While we celebrate these achievements, we recognize that the needs of men and boys must not be overlooked.

In governance and decision-making, women occupy numerous leadership roles throughout the public sector and while we are proud of having a female Prime Minister, women remain underrepresented in all areas of our political system.

Women are also under-represented as leaders within the private sector, particularly at the CEO level and in the board room. Further action is necessary to tackle negative gender stereotyping in order to give more women an equal stake at all levels of decision making.

Jamaica is also committed to ratifying the International Labour Organization Convention 189, which aims to promote decent work for domestic workers, the majority of whom are women.

On MDG 4, many of our initiatives have resulted in the decline of infant mortality rates.

There remains a real need for behaviour change interventions to sensitize young mothers of the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding for at least six months. We have upgraded hospitals so that we can enhance care for mother and child in the critical months after birth.

Antiretroviral drugs are provided free of cost to HIV positive pregnant mothers to reduce mother-to-child transmission.

Jamaica also continues its efforts to meet MDG 5.

Our Maternal Mortality Ratio has declined by 30% from 1990 to 2012.

98% of all births are now assisted by a skilled birth attendant.

Antenatal care coverage, as measured by at least one visit to a health facility during pregnancy is 98%.

Mr. Chairman, we now have fewer deaths due to infections. Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in complications and deaths due to non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

Jamaica is confident that with the continued support of our international partners, the reduction in the Maternal Mortality Rates will continue.

In a related matter, numerous interventions are being made by the Ministries of Health and Education to streamline our laws, policies and programmes in order to ensure that the sexual and reproductive health needs of girls below the age of consent are met.

Mr. Chairman, while we assess the MDGs, we must craft a Post-2015 Development Agenda that carries forward the unfinished business and is inclusive.

As we advance this dialogue, we reaffirm the Declaration made in Mexico City by countries of Latin America and the Caribbean prior to the 58th Session of the CSW.

Jamaica strongly supports the commitments in this Declaration, and in particular, the development of a stand-alone goal that is based on gender equality, women’s empowerment and the protection of women’s human rights.

Mr. Chairman, Jamaica remains committed to improving the status of women.

While recognizing the numerous and significant achievements globally, we acknowledge that there remains a great deal of work to be done.

As we strive to achieve international development goals let us  be mindful of the social and economic realities of each country and therefore what is possible.

Let us seize the unique opportunity presented in this 58th Session of the Commission.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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