Coverage: Executive Director visits Ethiopia

Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2017

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the African Union Commission Ministerial Gender Pre-Summit, and the Africa Ministerial Pre-Consultative Meeting on the sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61), which was held at the margins of the 29th Ordinary Sessions of the AU Heads of State and Government. The 2017 theme for the African Union Summit is “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in the Youth”.

25 January

On her first day in Ethiopia, the Executive Director attended the Ministerial Gender Pre-Summit and gave a closing statement on the theme of the AU Summit. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka also made a Commitment Statement to AU Gender Ministers.

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UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka giving her closing statement and Commitment Statement to African Union Gender Ministers at the closing ceremony of the African Union Commission Ministerial Gender Pre-Summit. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala 

The Executive Director also held a bilateral meeting with the Africa Union Commission Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop and with Ambassador Lazhar SOUALEM, Human Rights, Social Development, Cultural, Scientific and International technical Affairs Director / General Direction of Political Affairs and International security, Algeria.

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UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with the Africa Union Commission Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security Bineta Diop and the Founding Chair and Co-President of Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund Thelma Awori. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala

26 January

The Executive Director started her second day with an interview with Ethiopia Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), where the conversation focused on women’s economic empowerment, in particular, special measures needed to benefit the majority of women in sub-Saharan Africa in informal economy

The Executive Director then attended the Africa Ministerial Pre-Consultative Meeting on the sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61). Addressing the participants for the at Africa pre-CSW 61 consultations, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “Africa as a continent has much to gain from making effective changes in the world of work. Because our young economies, our challenged economies, also need to work, and work much better for women.” Outlining the key drivers of women’s economic empowerment, the Executive Director urged the African delegations to speak in one voice, for women and girls. Read her full speech»

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Following her address at the opening ceremony, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka speaks during the Africa Ministerial Pre-Consultative Meeting on CSW 61. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala

The second day of her mission closed with a meeting with young African women innovators, followed by a private dinner with African Ministers and members of the AU Specialized Technical Committees (STCs) on gender and the CSW61 Bureau

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UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka listens to a young innovator during her dialogue with young African Innovators. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala

27 January

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UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka poses for a group photo after a Breakfast meeting with Ministers of Foreign Affairs and selected Ministries of Gender. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala 

On her third day, the Executive Director met with a number of African Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Gender to garner high-level commitment from AU Member States to support a coherent and integrated approach in the official negotiations towards the outcome of CSW 61, taking place in UN Headquarters from 13 – 24 March. The meeting also presented the opportunity to reinvigorate UN Women’s partnership with and commitment to support AU Member States’ efforts for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in the continent.

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UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka addresses the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and selected Ministries of Gender at a breakfast meeting. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala 

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka attended the Pre-CSW61 Africa Consultations and closing sessions and made her closing remarks at the meeting whose objective was to develop key messages and strategies which would inform Africa’s position and advocacy for the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women under the CSW61 theme “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work”.

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Key speakers at the closing ceremony of the Africa Ministerial Pre-Consultative Meeting to prepare for CSW61. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala 

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka discussed gender equality priorities and emerging issues raised by youth, at the Africa Ministerial Pre-Consultative Meeting on CSW 61. In her remarks, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted the importance of working with youth: “All our discussions have told us that we are facing both challenges and opportunities when it comes to young people. In the next eight years—by 2025—65 per cent of all Africans will be below the age of 30; and currently one quarter of the world’s girls live in Africa. That is a lot of girls; resilient and determined to make a difference.” Read her full speech» 

Later that night, the Executive Director attended the Africa Women Changing the Narrative Initiative movie night. The events primary objective was to raise awareness that African women are not mere bystanders to Africa’s development; they are instrumental to Africa’s Agenda 2063 and to achieving Planet 50/50 by 2030 and are contributing in a multitude of ways that deserve recognition and space.

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UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka addressing the audience at the movie night. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala 

28 January

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka began her final day in Ethiopia with a Breakfast meeting with the new Ethiopia Minister of Gender, Demitu Hambisa Bonsa.

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UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with the new Ethiopia Minister of Gender Demitu Hambisa Bonsa. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala 

Later in the day, the Executive Director held an interactive dialogue with young female civil engineers, of the Ethiopian Civil Engineering Students Association, about their association and to hear from them why few women join science and technology fields. The meeting mainly looked at what the Ethiopian Government is doing to encourage females’ students to join the STEM field, as well as inspire them and learn about first-hand information on challenges faced by female students in higher learning institutes and the effort put in place by government and the association to address the related issues

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UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and the Ministers with the young engineering students. Photo: UN Women/Martha Wanjala 

The Executive Director ended her visit in Ethiopia by attending a high-level debate on advancing gender equality and women's rights on the African continent organized by UN Women and the Royal Danish Embassy in Ethiopia. The meeting expolored ways of mobilizing the necessary resources to match the commitments made by world leaders to advance gender equality and women’s rights, as exhibited through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and Goal 5 in particular.
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UN Women Executive Director, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka addressing participants at the donor meeting on advancing gender equality and women's rights on the African continent.  Photo: UN Women/ Brenda Bakwesegha