12.05.2011 - ODG

Investing in women and girls is the key to promoting sustainable social development in the Least Developed Countries, states Irina Bokova

© UNESCO/Clare Stark - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova speaking at the High-Level Thematic Debate of the 4th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, Turkey, on 12 May 2011

During the High-Level Thematic Debate on ‘Human and Social Development, Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women’, organized on 12 May 2011 at the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Istanbul, Turkey, the Director-General noted that "inequality in education cripples the lives of millions of girls and women, hindering sustainable social and economic development in the LDCs".

Irina Bokova urged the LDCs and development partners to invest in girls and women's education, and to leverage technical and vocational education and training to provide young people, particularly young women, with the skills and knowledge needed to access the labour market. 

She stressed the important role of providing support to the LDCs in developing and consolidating cultural industries, cultural tourism and culture-related micro-enterprises, where women play a pivotal role.

Mobilizing science, technology and innovation, and expanding access to safe drinking water and sanitation services for millions of women and girls were also mentioned by the Director-General as pivotal areas for promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction in the LDCs.

Speaking at the special event on ‘Harnessing Information and Communication Technologies for Development: Opportunities and Challenges for Least Developed Countries’, organized by the United Nations Group on the Information Society, the Director-General emphasized that more must be done to harness the enormous potential of information and communication technologies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Irina Bokova advocated for the systematic inclusion of information and communication technologies for development in national development policies and strategies. She cited the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which was launched last year with the International Telecommunication Union, as an excellent example of how partners from the international community are coming together to support broadband roll-out for the LDCs.

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