UN gets serious about gender equity

News Release

UNIFEM Welcomes Recommendation for Stronger Gender Equality Entity by High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence

Statement by Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director, UNIFEM

For immediate release
Date: 9 November 2006

Media Inquiries:
Nanette Braun, Communications Specialist, UNIFEM Headquarters, +1 212-906-6829,

United Nations, New York — UNIFEM welcomes the recommendation by the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on System-Wide Coherence for a strong UN entity on gender equality. The Panel’s endorsement of strengthening the structure, status and resources for the UN’s gender equality architecture responds to the many women and men worldwide who have spoken out forcefully and convincingly in the consultations that the Panel held to feed into the report.

UNIFEM welcomes the recommendation that the UN’s gender architecture be headed by a Under Secretary-General, a rank consistent with that of other heads of agency that will give voice and visibility to women’s issues in the UN’s decision-making fora. The selection of a strong leader with a proven track record, knowledge and experience as an advocate for women’s empowerment and rights is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the new gender equality entity.

The Coherence Panel’s report highlights how critical it is to strategically link the normative and operational aspects of the UN’s work. This is particularly critical for work on gender equality, where implementation has not kept pace with normative commitments. The UN has a unique role to play in supporting countries to implement their commitments to achieve women’s empowerment and gender equality — ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), agreement to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), creation of national plans of action and other efforts. This will require that, in fleshing out the details of the proposed gender entity, significant investment is made in its implementation capacity and emphasis placed on strengthening its presence and influence at the country level.

The Coherence Panel suggests that programme and policy activities of the new gender equality entity be ambitiously funded. With three decades of experience and an extensive network of strong partnerships on the ground, UNIFEM stands ready to deliver and can guarantee rapid and effective absorptive capacity for increased funds. We strongly hope that member states will show their commitment to a strengthened operational presence and make the necessary resources available.

Related Documents/Links

  • Delivering as One: Report of the Secretary General’s High-Level Panel eng
  • Secretary-General Presents Report on United Nations System-Wide Coherence, Calls for Action on “One Country Programmes,” Gender Equality, Business Practices eng
  • High-Level Panel on UN System-Wide Coherence eng

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