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Empowered Women driving Sustainable Development

2016 May 03

The United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] in Sri Lanka partnered with the Divisional Secretariat Vavuniya to highlight the important role of women in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] amongst youth, civil society and government partners at an event held recently. Nearly 40 institutions representing these sectors came together for the 3 day exhibition titled, ‘Empowered Women for Sustainable Development,’ which was open to the public from 8 – 10 April 2016 at the Vavuniya Town Hall, Urban Council Premises.

The inauguration ceremony of the exhibition, attended by nearly 200 people, was presided by the Assistant Government Agent Vavuniya, Mr. Thireshkumar, Divisional Secretary Vavuniya, Mr. K Uthayarajah and Country Director of UNDP Sri Lanka, Mr. Jorn Sorensen.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Thireshkumar stated that three decades of conflict in the country has resulted in a high number of women headed households in the region and therefore the role of women in achieving the SDGs cannot be ignored but instead there needs to be a more concerted effort. He also emphasized the Government’s commitment to provide safe and sustainable livelihoods for these women, recognizing their important role. Meanwhile, Mr. Uthayarajah highlighted the importance of creating awareness on the SDGs amongst the general public and other relevant stakeholders.

Mr. Jorn Sorensen, also addressing the gathering at the event stated that, “women have a critical role to play in all of the SDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution. Goal 5 is known as the stand-alone gender goal because it is dedicated to achieving these ends.” Further, Mr. Sorensen emphasized “that gender equality goes beyond the stand-alone goal and was a precondition to end poverty, build peaceful and resilient societies, and key to achieve sustainable human development.”

Under UNDP’s flagship Programme, ‘Governance for Local Economic Development’, the European Union funded ‘Support to District Development Programme’ plays a pivotal role in creating spaces for women to take leadership roles and be active citizens within their communities by enhancing their technical and entrepreneurial skills. With over 60% of women benefitting under this Programme, UNDP recognizes the importance of women’s role in achieving sustainable human development.  In light of this, UNDP is proud to have partnered with the Divisional Secretariat of Vavuniya to conduct this public exhibition.

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