UNDP Resident Coordinator, Bruno Pouezat
International Men’s Day 2018
Monday, 19 November 2018
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS & SALUTATIONS
- Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Mr. Denzil Thorpe,
- Charge d’Affaires of The Embassy of the Republic of Colombia Mr. Jose David Palencia Osorio
- Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Panama Mr. Rolando E. Barrow,
- Other members of the Diplomatic Corps
- Programme Manager, Citizen Security and Justice Programme, Simeon Robinson
- Colleagues from the Bureau of Gender Affairs, other Government colleagues,
- UN colleagues,
- · Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
Good afternoon to all,
The United Nations Development Programme is pleased to join our partners, the Bureau of Gender Affairs and the Citizen Security and Justice Programme in celebrating the limitless potential of Jamaican men on International Men’s Day, today, 19 November.
We are particularly honoured by the company of four men from West Kingston communities served by UNDP’s Rejuvenating Communities project. These four men, these four Amazing Men, exemplify the ideals of selflessness, volunteerism and service to their fellow citizens. We call them Amazing Men because their work ethic and interpersonal interactions truly resonate in the lives of people, especially boys. I say especially boys, because boys need positive male role models if they are to achieve a healthy and wholesome transition into manhood – a manhood that elevates service above self, respects women and their contributions to development, and leaves no one behind.
This year’s International Men’s Day gives us a fitting occasion for the Amazing Men recognition awards. Worldwide, groups and governments are celebrating the positive contributions of men to the world, their families and their communities by highlighting positive role models and raising awareness of men’s well-being.
We are happy to join the party. It is important to signal to men who are doing the right thing that we see them, we appreciate them, and we need more of them. This is true all over the world but particularly here because, in Jamaica, the image of toxic masculinity is only too prevalent. At my first National Prayer Breakfast, shortly after I arrived in Jamaica, in front of all the good and the great of the country, the senior cleric delivering the keynote address commented that ‘Jamaican men and boys must realise that there is more to being a man than being a sperm donor’. As you can well imagine, in prim and proper Jamaica, in this elite audience, that caused quite a stir! I was shocked! Of course, since then, I have come to appreciate not only the frequency of absentee fatherhood but the high levels of violence perpetrated primarily by males, and often in a domestic setting. In my view, this is all the more reason not to allow negative stereotypes to overshadow those men making a positive difference. This event and its attendant awards aim to disprove these caricatures.
Amazing Men, this event is also an opportunity for you – an opportunity to join us in calling for women, girls and children to be treated equally, fairly and with respect; an opportunity to insist that it is not OK to raise your hand against a woman or a child, to violate them in any way or to prevent them from fulfilling their potential. We call on these four Amazing Men, and on all other amazing men across Jamaica to join us, ahead of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence starting 25 November, in pressing your peers to end violence against women and girls. Other men look up to you. Use the podium of honour and respect that you have earned in your communities to champion respect and true partnership, and to make lives better for all, especially our women and girls beset by violence.
Gender Equality is key because even as we celebrate men, we must acknowledge that national and global development demands the combined efforts of all members of society, men and women, equally. We need all hands on deck now to achieve the SDGs. If we limit the contributions of half of our population, how does that serve our best interests? The potential we limit today in others is the realised potential we deny ourselves tomorrow.
UNDP promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment as essential to sustainable development, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. In Jamaica, UNDP helps our partners advance gender equality across all the SDGs. In particular, we promote a gender-inclusive approach in the private sector through our Gender Equality Seal certification programme that seeks to ensure equal pay, equal treatment and equal benefits.
One major corporate benefit is Paternity Leave, the subject of this morning’s consultation. Paternity Leave is part of UNDP’s gender-inclusive practices. In our local office, men enjoy four weeks of paternity leave with full pay to support the mother and care and bond with the new-born child. We encourage Jamaica to implement paternity leave because UNDP staff, men and women, can testify that paternity leave improves family life and boosts male responsibility.
Let me again congratulate our four Amazing Men. It is privilege, for us at UNDP, to stand with all of Jamaica’s amazing people, men and women, in helping you become the best version of yourselves achieve your personal aspirations, in pursuit of Vision 2030 national development plan and the Sustainable Development Goals, empowering all, excluding none.