Minister of State Lenihan launches "State of the World Population Report 2005"
Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights, today launched a report by the United Nations Population Fund on the state of the world's population.
The focus of this year's report is “the promise of equality” and it underlines the positive impact of investing in greater gender equality.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Lenihan said:
I want to congratulate the UN Population Fund for producing a comprehensive and valuable report.
The Fund's mandate is both essential and difficult. Touching as it does on issues of cultural and religious sensitivity, it is bound to be involved in controversy from time to time. But its work is essential and it is work which we support – this year alone we have provided nearly €3 million in core funding to the Fund.
The focus on education in this report is hugely important. It reminds us that every year of a mother's education corresponds to 5 to 10 per cent lower mortality rates in young children. If we could ensure that all girls continued their education up to the age of 14, we would have gone a long way in reducing child mortality.
This is just one of many examples throughout the Report showing the impact of existing gender inequalities and what we can achieve if we work together to address them.
Gender-based violence is also addressed in the Report. I am working with a number of Irish NGOs, such as Amnesty International Ireland, with a view to bringing forward recommendations for further action in this area and former President Mary Robinson is lending her support and her expertise to this work.
Gender equality is essential to development.
It is a human rights issue.
It is too often seen as an intangible issue - an area in which progress is difficult to measure. We must make it more tangible, not just to the specialists but to everyone working in this area.
It is one of four cross-cutting issues for Development Cooperation Ireland. This means that all of our funding decisions and our development interventions are informed by an awareness of the need to promote and enhance gender equality.
It is only by making the goal of gender equality central to our every action as an aid programme that we can make real and sustainable progress across the range of development challenges”.
12th October 2005