2 July 2010
Deputy Secretary-General

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, at Press Conference, Welcomes Historic Move to Create


‘UN Women’, to Give Girls, Women Strong Voice on World Stage


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s opening remarks at a press conference on the General Assembly resolution on system-wide coherence and establishment of “UN Women”, today, 2 July:

Good morning, everyone.  I am very pleased to join this briefing ahead of this afternoon’s expected adoption by the General Assembly of a resolution on system-wide coherence, and in particular the establishment of UN Women.

I would like to thank Ambassador Tiina Intelmann of Estonia and Ambassador Ghazi Jomaa of Tunisia for their presence today, and I congratulate them most heartedly for the excellent job that they did in bringing the whole process together and for their stewardship of these important consultations.

I welcome what will be an historic move by the General Assembly today in establishing UN Women, an entity designed to accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.

I would like to acknowledge the hard work and determination of Member States in reaching this agreement, and the years of advocacy by the global women’s movement, which has been instrumental in making UN Women a reality.

Today’s action will do more than simply consolidate United Nations offices; it will consolidate United Nations strengths.

The UN has made significant progress in advancing gender equality over the last decades, not least due to the dedication of its staff.  And I take this opportunity to pay special tribute to our staff in the current four gender entities and the work they have been doing so far.

But, despite major achievements, the United Nations has faced some serious challenges, including inadequate funding and fragmentation, with no single recognized driver to direct United Nations activities on gender-equality issues.

UN Women will address such challenges and will focus on two key roles: First, to support intergovernmental bodies in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms; and second, to help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, as well as forging effective partnerships with civil society.

UN Women will also strengthen coherence in the UN system on gender-related issues, enhancing — not replacing — efforts by other parts which continue to have a responsibility to work for these goals.  And, the new entity will help the United Nations system to be accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.

The strengthened commitment of Member States is crucial for accelerated progress towards the goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment.  A strong financial basis for UN Women will be key to such progress.

In the coming months, Secretary-General Ban will appoint an Under-Secretary-General to head UN Women and is inviting suggestions from Member States and civil society partners.  The Secretary-General is committed to an open, transparent and rigorous recruitment process.

UN Women will give women and girls the strong, unified voice they deserve on the world stage.  This is a positive and exciting moment for all the United Nations family and, I believe, for the world.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record