V. Gender equality and empowerment of women
124. Gender equality and the empowerment of women are among those issues that, like the environment, peacebuilding and human rights, have been increasingly cutting across the work of the Organization in the course of the past three decades.
125. As mentioned in section IV above, specific intergovernmental processes have been initiated to address some of these cross-cutting issues. A consultative process in the General Assembly has been set up to explore the institutional architecture in the area of environment, to ensure an adequate institutional response to today's environmental challenges. The High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence will address the role of the United Nations in the normative area of multilateral environmental agreements, and the mainstreaming of the environmental perspective in United Nations country-level activities. The creation of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council will offer the opportunity and the necessary forums to rationalize mandates in the areas of peacebuilding and human rights towards a more concerted and strategic approach, once the General Assembly has decided on the roles and responsibilities of the new architecture.
126. Gender-related issues deserve equal attention. The 2005 Summit Outcome reiterates that "progress for women is progress for all" and reflects the commitments of Member States to "strengthen the capabilities of the United Nations system in the area of gender" There are a large number of general mandates from a wide variety of intergovernmental bodies which call for actions on gender equality, and there is a need for a thorough review.
127. A major issue for immediate consideration is the large number of reports on the status of women prepared every year, in addition to those prepared on a biennial or triennial basis. The majority of the mandates for regular reporting arise from the Commission on the Status of Women, the Third Committee of the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, with fewer reporting requirements to the Economic and Social Council. Reporting under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women needs to be considered separately since this is established under the treaty. An examination of reports mandated on the status of women suggests that some of the reports could be consolidated, particularly those which approach the same issue from different angles, and which are produced for different intergovernmental bodies.
128. For example, some of the documents which could be consolidated include the reports on women in development, within which reporting on the improvement of the situation of women in rural areas may be included (the proposed consolidated report should preferably be addressed to both the Second and Third Committees). Reports on specific aspects of violence against women, such as trafficking in women, traditional practices harmful to women and girls, violence against women migrant workers, and crimes committed in the name of honour, could also be consolidated into a single annual report. My forthcoming in-depth study on violence against women " to be submitted to the General Assembly at its sixty-first session " could provide a strong basis for a more systematic approach to this issue.
129. At the operational level, mandates in this area call on all relevant parts of the system to take concrete action to promote gender equality, but they rarely specify action required from particular entities, resulting in both duplication and gaps in support for the implementation of global commitments on gender equality. Gaps have been identified, for example, in relation to strengthening Member States" capacity to mainstream gender issues at the national level. I would encourage Member States to review progress in the implementation of commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming, including the status of the institutional architecture and resource allocation in this area, as well as the mechanisms in place to ensure coherence and coordination across the system.
130. A comprehensive review of institutional resources for gender equality and an evaluation of successes and failures in gender mainstreaming in the work of the United Nations is needed if there is to be meaningful progress towards the achievement of global goals. There is a need to strengthen the internal institutional mechanisms put in place, such as capacity-building, methodologies and tools; the impact on activities and outcomes; the commitment at the policy and management levels; and the human and financial resources allocated. The gaps in coherence, collaboration and coordination of the work of the United Nations on gender issues need to be explicitly addressed, building on the work of the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality, the Chief Executives Board for Coordination and the United Nations Development Group. While the mandates of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) were spelled out in founding and subsequent resolutions, there have since been some shifts in interpretation which need to be addressed.
131. The revision of mandates in this area is one of the steps to be taken to move towards improved clarity on institutional responsibilities and more concerted action in relation to gender equality. There is a need to assess the progress made across the system, the gaps and challenges remaining, and ways to improve outcomes. I will ask the High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence to include in its work an assessment of how gender equality, including through gender mainstreaming, can be better and more fully addressed in the work of the United Nations, particularly in its operational activities on the ground.
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