Remarks by Ambassador Masood Khan,Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the UNGA High Level Panel on “Contribution of Women, Young and Civil Society to the Post-2015 Development Agenda” on 6 March 2013 at ECOSOC Chamber

Mr. President,

Pakistan associates itself with the statement of the Group of 77 and China.

We commend the President of General Assembly for holding this timely debate, as we engage in different settings to shape a post-2015 development agenda.

Women, young, including children, and civil society will be at the heart of this agenda, not merely as beneficiaries but also as contributors. Together, these three groups will deliver the biggest dividends in economic growth and sustainable development. They will help the entire globe eradicate poverty, protect our environment, and reduce inequalities. Their participatory involvement in the design and implementation of the agenda will ensure that growth and development are inclusive.

We fully agree with the statement made by the Executive Director UN Women Mlambo-Ngcuka today: "Gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are essential drivers in expanding economies worldwide. When more women work, economies grow".

The focus on women, young and civil society, as it has already crystallized in the discussions in the Open Working Group on sustainable development goals, needs to be sharpened.

Mr. President,

With the help of the UN, in Pakistan during nation-wide consultations with women, young, and civil society, we have directly heard their voices on the lessons learnt form the MDGs and on how to craft the post-2015 development agenda.

Mr. President,

First, lessons learned. (i) the MDGs agenda was not broad and deep enough; the post-2015 agenda should be cross-cutting and universal; (ii) gender-based violence has not been addressed; it should now be fully addressed by the post-2015 development agenda; (iii) women are the main victims of conflicts and natural disasters; (iv) work place protection as well as safe and affordable public transport system are a crucial determinant in women's decision to join the labour force and finally; (v) there is a need for continuing affirmative action to enhance women's empowerment, including in the parliament.

Pakistani women have called for establishing a stand-alone SDG for gender parity and women empowerment. Their voice finds a strong resonance in the ongoing discussions here in the United Nations.

Mr. President,

Nearly 68% of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 30. In the next 15 years, we will focus on the health, education and livelihoods of young, especially children, because they are the leaders of Pakistan in future.

Youth bulges in the developing countries like Pakistan can only be turned into youth dividends if young men and women, boys and girl are healthy, educated and skilled.

UNSG’s Special Envoy on Youth Affairs, this morning, shared with us perspectives of youth from around the world. We propose association of youth representatives in the decision-making on the post-2015 development agenda in the General Assembly and ECOSOC. We should also hear from young businesspersons and entrepreneurs.

Mr. President,

Various actors of civil society play a key role in rights protection and the socio-economic development, because they are closest to the grass roots communities.

Pakistan's vibrant civil society, during the national consultations that I referred to, recommended that implementation of development goals should be localized for maximum impact; the post-2015 development framework must have in-built capacity to improve the collection and reliability of the statistical data; and civil society and academics should be associated with progress reporting and monitoring.

Our sense is that more closely we involve civil society, the more successful we will be in making the post-2015 development agenda an instrument for reducing inequalities.

Let's leverage the full potential of women, young and civil society to deliver on the emerging development agenda on anti-poverty, food security, education, health, water, energy, employment, climate change, infrastructure, and means of implementation.

I thank you Mr. President.