UNITED NATIONS, March 8 (Xinhua) -- President of the UN General Assembly Miroslav Lajcak said Thursday that the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved if women's rights are denied.
"We cannot achieve the sustainable development goals, or peace, if half of our global population is denied both rights and opportunities," Lajcak told a large audience at a UN event marking the International Women's Day.
"This means that every effort, towards every sustainable development goal, must ensure women's participation and equality," he said.
The president noted the United Nations is observing the day at a time in which "inequalities are under serious threat," "power no longer guarantees impunity" and "silence is not as easily enforced."
While noting that "we are seeing more equality" thanks to efforts in this regard, he said "what we are doing is, still, not enough."
"One in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. More than 700 million women, living today, were married before their 18th birthday," he said.
"And, our world is still not led by as many women as men. Only 22 countries have women as their heads of state or government. And, women represent only 23 percent of all parliamentarians, worldwide," he added.
The president said that even at the United Nations, "when it came to appointing women, we had a small pool to draw from. Because, only 20 percent of the ambassadors sent to represent their countries at the UN are women."
"And we need to mainstream gender throughout everything else we do, from peacekeeping, to the promotion of human rights," he noted.
"There are too many women, particularly young women, and women in rural areas, who have innovative ideas and solutions. But they have not been given the platform to turn them into action," said the president.
Lajcak urged more action to be taken to reverse the trend. "We can no longer call for gender equality, without following our calls with action. We can no longer speak out for women's rights, without speaking out, even louder, when they are violated."
"I want to join other voices by saying: Time Is Now," the president concluded.