75 UNGA: Intervention of Cuba at UN-Women Executive Board. First Regular Session 2021. New York, February 15, 2021

At the outset, I would like to reiterate our appreciation to UN-Women for the efforts throughout these challenging times. UN-Women has been a strong voice for addressing the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19 on the life of women and girls around the world, and the integration of a gender perspective in the response to and recovery from the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, we already lived in an unequal world, determined by an unjust international order that protects the wealth of the rich while reproduces the exclusion of the poor. COVID-19 has demonstrated these inequalities, suffered by millions of women and girls around the world, and has exacerbated them.

Women are overrepresented in frontline workers, health personnel and the informal sector. In many countries, women are still paid less than men for equal work, and hold less secure jobs. They are 39% of global employment, but account for 54% of job losses. These figures are eloquent enough.

If we want to change that reality and realize the moral imperative of gender equality and the empowerment of women, further commitment is needed. In that endeavor, UN-Women will be fundamental, and the strategic plan 2022-2025 should contribute to that goal.

The elaboration of the strategic plan should take into account the national realities and contexts of developing countries. Its implementation at country level should be pursued in full consultation with national authorities.

But UN-Women and its new strategic plan will not be enough. Further international cooperation and solidarity is a most, in particular towards developing countries, which will carry the heaviest burden of the pandemic.

Multilateralism is required, to foster an international enabling environment that is conducive to social and economic development. Unilateral coercive measures, with their severe toll on the human rights and well-being of women and girls, are contrary to that spirit. Countries under these measures, mine included, face additional obstacles to respond to and recover from the pandemic.

The United States economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba, strengthened without precedence in the midst of COVID-19, is the main obstacle to our socio-economic development, and constitutes a gross violation of the human rights of our people, including women and girls.

Nevertheless, we will continue advancing in the area of gender equality, despite the effects of the blockade, and we will continue supporting the efforts of UN-Women and the international community to respond to and recover from the pandemic in a manner that builds a just world for all, including women and girls. 

Thank you