Address by the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, H. E. Stevo Pendarovski

3 July 2021 | Speeches

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to address this Generation Equality Forum, as an important global gathering to promote gender equality between men and women, and a turning point for the states to commit thereto.

The promotion of human rights, including women’s rights, is a precondition for the development of every society based on democratic principles. My country is a supporter of progressive gender justice policies and therefore the commitments and responsibilities regarding “Bodily Autonomy, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights” were unanimously accepted.

First, North Macedonia is committed to increase the delivery of comprehensive sexuality education by 2026, aligned with the United Nations international standards, and, in that direction, a three-year Action Plan with pilot projects and a curriculum for students aged 13 to 15 have been prepared.

Second, our commitment is to increase the scope of contraception from 14% to 20%, by improving girls’ and women’s access to family planning counseling services, and access to abortion as a fundamental women’s right.

Third, we are committed to reducing the number of child marriages by 2026 by empowering girls, adolescents and women to make autonomous decisions about their bodies and to adopt the necessary legal changes and specific policies.

Fourth, increased support for autonomous feminist and women’s organizations.

In parallel with the institutional solutions, no less important is the change of citizens’ mentality, change of collective awareness of gender justice, by eliminating the taboos related to these sensitive issues. It is our obligation to show political will and through continuous, joint activities to provide conditions for empowerment of women and girls on a global level.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

These issues must not be compromised and any kind of discrimination allowed. Women and girls must be in a position to make decisions about their bodies, based on knowledge and information.

Let me point out that North Macedonia is one of the first countries to adopt the commitments made at the International Conference on Population and Development presented at the Nairobi Summit. We strive in national programs and budgets for sexual and reproductive health to take into account the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups, including LGBTI people, Roma, people with disabilities, the poor, sex workers.

Our country since November 2020 is a partner in the Action Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and through representatives of the line ministries in the government actively participates in the activities of this Coalition.

In the spirit of the national motto of the French Republic – Liberté, égalité, fraternité, I wish and believe that these declared commitments of ours will be successfully met, and thus will be a civilization benefit for future generations.

Thank you.

 

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