Remarks by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the Closing Ceremony of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, France

The world jumped and patriarchy shook


[As delivered]

I have seen the world jump together and shake the world of patriarchy. It has not all collapsed, but it is in bad shape, and I think that we can only get better from here.

I am most grateful for the support that we have received from everyone who has contributed to the USD 40 billion total. Our Member States and public institutions together committed to USD 21 billion. Private sector has given us USD 13 billion. The philanthropists have given us USD 4.5 billion and the UN along with international and regional organizations have given us USD 1.3 billion. And civil society, youth and adolescent girls have given us commitment and amazing passion and advocacy, which this process could not survive without, and for which I am thankful.

During the last few days a few people have called me aside wanting to know what’s going to happen to these resources. Let me tell you, first, UN Women is not rich but UN Women is much better than it was. The resources that have been put forward by the many commitment makers that were here today will go to grassroots organizations in communities. They will go to Member States, who need to implement programmes that will address women and girls that are facing trouble. They will also go to the UN agencies that have programmes that must be scaled up and taken to a much larger scale. The funds are not going to just UN Women because we do not have all the skills to implement what is needed. So, it is the whole UN family that is coming together and taking this forward. It is civil society, it is private sector, it is our bosses, the Member States, who will take it forward.

So, Mexico and France, I am eternally grateful to you. You had faith in us, and you gave us a chance. You opened your countries to us as hosts, and today look at what we have been able to do. So, I want to thank you, and thank you profusely.

And lastly, the pandemic. It could have derailed us, but you did not give up. As a result of the pandemic, we needed Generation Equality more. Because of the pandemic, you pushed even harder. And of course, you embraced young people. We have youth and adolescents who are leading from the front, who are doing wonderful things. They will stand on your shoulders and my shoulders. They will look much further than we can look, and they are a new generation. What was born in Beijing, these young people are going to take forward for us, who are older now. This is the new birth of a new generation and new leadership for women, and we thank them for everything that they have done in these last few days.

And, UN Women staff, thank you, thank you, thank you. Not even a single one of you was not touched by this event. You worked beautifully together with the staff of Mexico and the staff of France.

Thank you all.