Prime Minister Batbold Sukhbaatar's speech at CoD event 23 September, 2010 in New York

I would like to begin by congratulating Lithuania on her outstanding chairmanship of the Community of Democracies. Lithuania’s success in building a thriving democracy has been a source of inspiration for many.

I wish to also congratulate the Council of Women World Leaders, whose members are present here. In your many roles, you have made tremendous efforts to better the lives of millions of women and girls around the world – through your dedicated work aimed at promoting democracy, protecting human rights, expanding opportunities for all, and ending violence against women. It is indeed fitting that the theme of the event you are partnering on is Women as a Critical Force in Democratic Governance because you have proved that they are.

Mongolia is a young democracy, which, in a span of two decades, has undergone fundamental transformation in all spheres of societal life. Looking back we, Mongols, are proud of peaceful twin transition we have made to a pluralistic democracy and market economy. We have laid solid political and legal foundations for a functional democracy.

Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, enshrined in the new democratic Constitution of 1992, freedom of the press, thriving civil society, free and fair elections are all guarantees of our democracy. This time as we have all gathered in New York to assess the last 10 years’ implementation of MDGs, I wish to single out that in Mongolia we have added a 9th MDG on promoting human rights and democratic governance, and creating zero-tolerance to corruption as a vivid demonstration of our commitment to these values.

But as we learn from our experience, the road to democracy is neither short nor easy one. It is a process, an ardious work in the making. Here, I wish to emphasize the singular importance of learning and sharing among the members of the Community of Democracies as we all work towards advancing the values, culture and quality of democracy in our own societies.

As to the gender equality, we are rightfully proud of our progress in achieving greater equality for women in education and in workforce, in reducing maternal mortality rates, and improving health services for women and girls. In our schools – almost at all levels - we have more girls than boys; women constitute 51 percent of the workforce.

As a follow-up to the Beijing Conference on Women we have been implementing national programs on women’s empowerment and gender equality which were critical in awareness raising of gender issues, capacity-building and empowering women. The MDGs-based National Development Strategy of Mongolia has specific goals on gender equality.

Gender inequality, however, still remains a fact of life in Mongolia. More women are employed in lower-paying jobs than men; women’s access to productive assets such as land and loans needs to be further expanded; the number of women at the decision-making level leaves much to be desired. In order to redress this situation we are re-committing ourselves to the MDG Three on ensuring gender equality. We fully realize that without attaining this particular goal other MDGs, especially poverty eradication, will be out of our reach. And we cannot afford this.
It is my firm belief that women’s political inclusion and civic engagement are especially important at this point in time when Mongolia looks forward to a potential revenues surge from the mining, unprecedented in its history.
The failure to distribute wealth in an equitable manner erodes public trust in democratic institutions and weakens popular support for democracy. My government believes that reducing poverty and expanding opportunity, especially for women, and ensuring broad-based economic growth and equitable wealth distribution are essential for democratic consolidation. To this end, my Government has recently set up a Human Development Fund where revenues and royalties from the mining industry will be collected and used for investment into health and education and social services for every Mongol, especially the vulnerable, women and the youth. It is our duty to ensure that the Fund develop into an important tool for resource mobilization to combat poverty and make it possible for the entire people to benefit from economic development.

Let me conclude by saying that as a next Chair of the Community of Democracies, Mongolia will promote gender equality and empower women. We also will continue the good work that Lithuania and other CoD members have done to enhance women’s role in democratic governance.

Source:Press service of Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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