General Assembly Adopts Consensus Text on System-Wide Coherence, Establishing Composite Entity — UN Women — to Accelerate Gender Equality, Empowerment
General Assembly Adopts Consensus Text on System-Wide Coherence, Establishing Composite Entity — UN Women — to Accelerate Gender Equality, Empowerment
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
General Assembly Adopts Consensus Text on System-Wide Coherence, Establishing
Composite Entity — UN Women — to Accelerate Gender Equality, Empowerment
Deeming Move ‘Historic’, Secretary-General Says Now Harder for World
To Ignore Challenges of Women, Girls, or Fail to Take Necessary Action
The General Assembly today voted unanimously to create a new body for accelerating gender equality and women’s empowerment, crowning four-years of tough negotiations to streamline and raise the profile of the United Nations activities to promote the rights of women and girls.
Diplomats erupted in rousing applause as the Assembly adopted a consensus resolution on system-wide coherence that would place four existing United Nations bodies dealing with gender issues under a single umbrella; it will be known as “UN Women”. The resolution calls for the appointment of an Under-Secretary-General to head up the new body, and the establishment of an executive board to provide intergovernmental support to and supervision of its operational activities.
Praising Member States for creating a much stronger voice for women and for gender equality at the global level, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the move “historic”, and declared: “It will now be much more difficult for the world to ignore the challenges facing women and girls — or to fail to take the necessary action”.
Mr. Ban immediately named Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro, to guide the transition process that would entail the dissolution of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), and merge their mandates and functions with those of the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, to create the new body, which would be operational by 1 January 2011.
The Assembly makes clear in the resolution that the Beijing Platform for Action, adopted by the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, is the framework for the new body’s work. That landmark action plan calls for Governments to end discrimination against women and close the gender gap in 12 critical areas including education, employment, political participation and human rights. Further to today’s text, the policy-oriented activities of UN Women would be funded by the Organization’s regular budget, and its programmes and field operations would be funded by voluntary contributions.
Acknowledging that the resolution would always be strongly associated with the establishment of UN Women, the Secretary-General stressed that the Assembly had also adopted today many important decisions in other areas of the system-wide coherence process. In the area of funding, Member States had agreed to introduce a new approach to determining the “critical mass” of core funding for funds and programmes.
Continuing, he said that Member States had also realized that the voice of programme countries was not always heard in governing bodies, by requesting those bodies to identify how to strengthen the participation of national policymakers in meetings of the Executive Boards of funds and programmes and the operational activities segment of the Economic and Social Council. “Such measures will enable programme countries, particularly the least developed, to participate in governing bodies on a more equal basis,” he added.
Assembly President Ali Abdussalam Treki said the resolution illustrated the dedication and joint efforts of Member States and the Secretariat to move forward together, with a stronger, more efficient United Nations. “Our Organization’s shortcomings are well known: fragmented, costly and, at times, duplicative operational activities,” he said, adding that improving the world body’s coherence and effectiveness was vital to ensuring that it remained at the heart of the global multilateral system.
“Today is an important day,” he continued, saying that the resolution “seeks to institutionalize our joint efforts to empower one of the world’s greatest assets: women.” UN Women would be both a normative body and an operational one, acting as a secretariat and carrying out operational activities, such as guidance and technical support, at the country level. Importantly, the resolution also charged UN Women with an additional mandate; that of coordinating the United Nations systems activities on gender issues, including gender mainstreaming.
Delegations taking the floor after the adoption of the resolution hailed the creation of UN Women as “historic”, saying the new body would put women at the forefront of the international agenda and provide support for countries to strengthen national capacities towards women’s advancement. They also praised the Assembly President’s leadership, as well as the hard work of his co-facilitators, Tiina Intelmann (Estonia) and Ghazi Jomaa (Tunisia).
Speaking on behalf of the Joint Coordination Committee of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China and the Non-Aligned Movement, Moushira Khattab, Minister of State for Family and Population of Egypt, underscored that dissolving the two entities — UNIFEM and INSTRAW — and transferring their mandates and functions to the new entity should not forfeit the expertise of current staff.
She said that the Joint Committee looked forward to a smooth transition, without programme interruption or staff suffering from the change. After all, UNIFEM, the Division for the Advancement of Women, INSTRAW and the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women were the building blocks of UN Women and should be seen as assets during the transition period and when the new body became operational in January.
Highlighting other aspects of the resolution, the representative of the Russian Federation praised important measures aimed at avoiding duplication and said he was satisfied with the balanced, agreed wording regarding financing, harmonization and other subjects. He noted that the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) must preserve its formal status, and he welcomed the “Delivering as One” pilot projects. Success depended on the reliability of “assessment bodies”, and the Russian Federation was ready to participate actively. Still, the text was presently no more than just a document; its effective implementation would the responsibility of Member States, he said.
The Minister of State for External Affairs of India also delivered a statement, as did the representatives of Belgium (speaking on behalf of the European Union), Australia (speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand), Estonia, Tunisia, United States, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Cuba, Colombia, Botswana, United Republic of Tanzania, Dominican Republic, Japan, Chile, Mexico, Norway and South Africa.
The General Assembly will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.
The General Assembly met this afternoon to take action on a multipart draft resolution on system-wide coherence (document A/64/L.56), which contains a provision by which it would decide to establish a composite entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, to be called “UN Women”. The text covers six general areas: strengthening governance of operational activities for development of the United Nations system for enhanced system-wide coherence; independent system-wide evaluation mechanism; approval of common country programmes; “Delivering as one”; improving the funding system of operational activities for enhanced system-wide coherence; and strengthening the institutional arrangements for support of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Action on Draft Resolution
When the meeting opened, the General Assembly adopted the resolution on system-wide coherence without a vote.
Following that, General Assembly President ALI ABDUSSALAM TREKI said the strength of the United Nations was reflected in the goodwill and commitment of its Member States. The resolution on system-wide coherence illustrated the dedication and joint efforts of those States and the Secretariat to move forward together, with a stronger, more efficient Organization. “Our Organization’s shortcomings are well known: fragmented, costly and, at times, duplicative operational activities,” he said, adding that improving the world body’s coherence and effectiveness was vital to ensuring that it remained at the heart of the global multilateral system.
“Today is an important day,” he continued, recalling that system-wide coherence had been a central item on the Assembly’s reform agenda since the 2005 World Summit. As such, since the beginning of his presidency, it had been his priority to facilitate the finalization of an agreement on the establishment of the new gender entity, as well as on other aspects of system-wide coherence, by June of this year. President Treki was therefore very pleased that the Assembly had adopted a resolution which would enhance the performance of the United Nations operational activities, by making their funding system more coherent and by harmonizing their governance structures.
By example, he said that the resolution requested that those United Nations and agencies that administered multi-donor trust funds report annually on their administration, to ensure better coordination and coherence between funds. Reforms to the governance structure of the Organization’s operational activities also included establishing informal coordination meetings with their governing bodies, to increase the coordination of their work, and the circulation of information on the agendas, calendars and programmes of work of the governing bodies of the United Nations operational activities, to enhance the coherence of both agenda setting and work programmes.
“This resolution also seeks to institutionalize our joint efforts to empower one of the world’s greatest assets: women,” he declared, adding that he was delighted that the text had established UN Women, a United Nations body for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The new body would consolidate and take in all the existing mandates and functions 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 (UNIFEM) and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).
Continuing, he said that UN Women would be both a normative body and an operational one, acting as a secretariat and carrying out operational activities, such as guidance and technical support, at the country level. Importantly, the resolution also charged UN Women with an additional mandate; that of coordinating the United Nations systems activities on gender issues, including gender mainstreaming. “The United Nations is uniquely placed to take a leading role in advancing the status of women, and I have no doubt of the significance of this resolution in advancing this vital area,” he said. Telling the Assembly that today, it had taken “a major step” towards accelerating the wider United Nations efforts to provide aid and development, secure global peace and protect the rights of the world’s most vulnerable people, he thanked the co-facilitators, Tiina Intelmann (Estonia), Ghazi Jomaa (Tunisia) and Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro for their assistance in guiding the process.
Warmly congratulating Member States on the adoption of the “landmark resolution”, United Nations Secretary-General BAN KI-MOON said they had crated a much stronger voice for women and gender equality at the international level by bringing together four parts of the United Nations system dedicated to women’s issues. It would now be much more difficult to ignore the challenges facing women and girls.
By combining norm-setting responsibilities in one United Nations entity, and giving means to provide operational support to countries to implement those norms and standards, the Organization would now be able to significantly step up its support to national efforts to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.
He thanked the General Assembly President and the two co-facilitators, Ms. Entelmann of Estonia and Mr. Jomaa of Tunisia, for the successful outcome of consultations, which had been conducted in an inclusive, transparent and efficient manner. The two had shown exemplary leadership and dedication to the process. On some issues, negotiations had been difficult, and he voiced appreciation for the spirit of compromise States had shown. He thanked Hardeep Singh Puri of India for his able facilitation of meetings of ambassadors during the last stages of the process, where some critical issues had been resolved.
He also acknowledged the effort of previous co-facilitators of earlier consultations on system-wide coherence, who had laid the ground for today’s landmark resolution. He paid due recognition, as well, to civil society organizations, whose determination had sustained momentum to establish this “long overdue outcome”. He thanked the staff of the Division for the Advancement of Women, INSTRAW, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, and UNIFEM for their effort in preparing for the establishment of the gender entity.
He said the strength of the United Nations lay in its intergovernmental agreements and in the women and men who worked for its goals and values around the world. There had been much collaborative spirit among the staff of the four entities, on which the United Nations would depend in making UN Women operational. He would work to ensure that the transition to the new entity was as smooth as possible, while staff continued to perform their usual functions.
Until the new Under-Secretary-General was identified, he was asking the Deputy Secretary-General to guide the transition process. He thanked her for her leadership of the process so far.
While the resolution would be strongly associated with the establishment of the new gender entity, he said it should not be forgotten that States had adopted other important decisions in the system-wide coherence process. In the area of funding, the text introduced a new approach to determine the “critical mass” of core funding for funds and programme, where, rather than relying on ad hoc bilateral negotiations to establish better links between core contributions and cost of carrying out key mandates. The critical mass approach would improve the quantity and quality of funding for operational activities.
He noted that Member States had also realized that the voice of programme countries not always been heard, and had requested governing bodies to strengthen the participation of national policymakers in meetings of the executive boards of funds and programmes. Doing so would enable such countries, particularly least developed countries, to participate on a more equal basis.
Adopting that resolution sent a strong signal that States were determined to make the work of the United Nations more coherent, effective and efficient. It was a bold decision to make the United Nations much better able to support progress for both women and men, and he encouraged that the new entity be well funded. He understood that countries faced resource constraints, owing to the economic and financial crisis, but he was confident that the entity would receive strong backing from donor countries and other partners. “The newest member of the UN family has been born today,” he said, adding: “Your generous support is essential for it to grow up to be the champion for gender equality and the empowerment of women we need.”
MOUSHIRA KHATTAB, Minister of State for Family and Population of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Joint Coordination Committee of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China and the Non-Aligned Movement, said the adoption of the resolution was a huge step in the long process of United Nations reform and one of the most exciting achievements of the past 10 years. Following years of tough negotiations, UN Women would put women at the forefront of the international agenda and provided support to countries to strengthen national capacities towards women’s advancement. During negotiations, the Joint Coordination Committee had had the intention of institutionalizing concepts such as universality, national ownership and equitable geographical representation. The highlight of its proposals had been the establishment of a new Executive Board that was strong, independent, and appropriately and adequately mandated and funded. In recognition of the role of contributing countries, it had been willing to give contributors their due role on the new Board.
She added that the Joint Coordination Committee looked forward to establishing a focal point within the entity for assisting women living under foreign occupation. The Committee would be supportive of the new Under-Secretary-General in establishing appropriate mechanisms to address all 12 areas of concern identified in the Beijing Platform for Action. Hopefully, the Executive Board would be able to devise innovative mechanisms to implement the mandate in developed countries and other places where there was no United Nations field presence. In order to ensure continuity of work, the Committee understood that the Economic and Social Council would follow its established practice of applying a staggering mechanism while electing members of the Board during the first election, thus guaranteeing a smooth transition and institutional stability.
Accountability and oversight of the entity was important, she said, requesting, therefore, that the Secretary-General put in place a proper accountability framework. She expressed deep appreciation for the excellent work done in the field by UNIFEM and INSTRAW. The Joint Coordination Committee stressed the importance of ensuring the continuation of all current operational activities, field offices, staff and facilities, as well as existing and new country programmes and contractual obligations until appropriate arrangements were put in place. She asked that sensitivity prevail in all personnel matters related to the transition, with due respect for existing Staff Rules and Regulations, both at Headquarters and in the field.
Dissolving the two entities — UNIFEM and INSTRAW — and transferring their mandates and functions to the new entity did not mean the absence of the expertise of current staff, she said. The Committee looked forward to a smooth transition, without programme interruption or staff suffering from the change. After all, UNIFEM, the Division for the Advancement of Women, INSTRAW and the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women were the building blocks of the new entity and should be seen as assets during the transition period and when the entity became operational in January 2011. The Committee looked forward to the early appointment of the new head, which it understood would be a woman from the South. She also hoped that the entity’s staff would represent all regions of the world.
She commented on other aspects of the resolution, namely governance, system-wide evaluation mechanism, common country programmes and “Delivering as One”, as well as funding of operational activities for development and harmonization of business practices. The Joint Coordination Committee attached great importance to the full implementation of the resolution’s provisions aimed at enhancing the coherence of the work of the United Nations development system and the transparency of the activities of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB). The Committee also strongly supported the emphasis in the text on the need for adequate quality and quantity of funding for operational activities, and on the need to explore arriving at a “critical mass” of core resources.
Then, speaking in her national capacity, as Minister of State for Family and Population of Egypt, she underlined the priority given by Egypt and the Arab world to the full enjoyment of all human rights. “Thrilled” with the establishment of the entity through the adoption of the resolution today, she said success would depend on coordinating the work of all organizations and agencies within the United Nations. That would include treaty bodies, such as the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child. It would also include committees that supported Member States from the developed and developing world equally, from all regional and subregional organizations and political communities. Egypt pledged to continue it efforts within the Arab region, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77.
PRENEET KAUR, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, said her country had taken major strides in the area of women’s political empowerment. More than a million elected women representatives participated in political decision-making at the grass-roots level. A similar move to reserve seats for women in the Indian Parliament was in an advanced stage of the legislative process, already having received the approval of the Upper House. She welcomed the creation of UN Women as a significant victory for the cause of women worldwide. It was a step towards restoring the faith of those Member States, including India, who often regarded the United Nations as an anachronistic body resistant to organizational reform and innovation. She expressed India’s hope that it would create momentum for much-needed reform in other areas as well. “Complete gender equality, nothing less, must be our overriding goal,” she said, quoting Sonia Ghandi, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance in India.
JAN GRAULS (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, welcomed the unanimous adoption of the resolution on system-wide coherence, in particular its establishment of UN Women. After four years of negotiations, the merger of several bodies into a single, new strengthened gender entity was a milestone in the Organization’s reform process. The European Union encouraged the United Nations system to press ahead with further reforms. His delegation had supported the creation of such a body from the very beginning, as a way to strengthen the United Nations capacity, accountability and effectiveness in the area of gender equality.
“This entity will be in a position to close the current gap between the normative and operative work of the United Nations in this area; promote effective system-wide mainstreaming in the United Nations system; and strengthen accountability,” he said, adding that with the new body, the United Nations would be in a stronger position to meet the urgent and ever increasing request by Governments in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Regarding the governing body of the operational activities of UN Women, he said the European Union still believed that an independent segment of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) would have been most appropriate for ensuring efficiency and coherence. However, in the spirit of compromise and flexibility, the delegation had accepted the establishment of a new Executive Board. Smooth efficient functioning of the Board and strong performance of UN Women would ensure the level of funding required for its operational activities, to which the Union and its member States remained fully committed. He called on the Secretary-General to urgently appoint a new Under-Secretary-General so that official would be in a position to lead UN Women from its early stages. During the transition period, it would be important to ensure that all activities currently carried out by UNIFEM could continue and that that its dissolution as a separate entity did not translate into any disruption at Headquarters or in the field.
GARY QUINLAN (Australia), speaking also on behalf of Canada and New Zealand, said that reaching consensus on a range of important and complex issues had been a challenge, and today’s adoption of the resolution had been the result of the collective effort of many. It demonstrated the commitment of Member States to the United Nations operational activities and the will to make progress on reform efforts to ensure a stronger and more effective United Nations role in development. He hoped that key proposals in the governance section of the resolution would help to achieve more informed, responsive and committed decision-making from relevant intergovernmental bodies. The relevance of the Organization’s operational work to the world’s development challenges would depend on it. In that context, he looked forward to the results of the independent evaluation of the “Delivering as One” initiative. On UN Women, he said strong leadership would have an enormous impact globally, not just on women, but on girls and boys, women and men. He urged that States not lose momentum in following through on the resolution. He asked that the Secretary-General accelerate recruitment of the entity’s head through an open and transparent process, and that all States lend their support to a smooth transition period.
Ms. INTELMANN ( Estonia) said the years-long negotiation process had culminated in the consensus adoption of the resolution that led to the creation of UN Women. Estonia hoped that the new entity ended the fragmented manner in which the Organization had previously dealt with gender-related issues. She also hoped that the resolution would improve the Organization’s coherence in the area of development. She thanked the co-facilitators that had led the negotiating process, as well as all those that had provided guidance during that exercise.
Mr. JOMAA (Tunisia) also welcomed the adoption of the resolution, which was a milestone in the work of the Organization. It would go a long way to ensuring coherence and coordination, and “bring our organization to the heights that we all want”. His delegation applauded all those that had helped in the text’s adoption, including the Assembly President, who had shepherded the successful negotiations.
He also extended his delegation’s “warmest thanks” to the Deputy Secretary-General and all other advisers, who had devoted many late nights that had led to today’s historic result. UN Women would bolster the Organization’s work in the area of women’s empowerment, and the focus should now be on ensuring that it was made operational as soon as possible. The resolution just adopted would make the Organization’s overall operational activities more effective and streamlined.
FREDERICK BARTON (United States) welcomed the resolution’s adoption, by which the Assembly had created a new consolidated agency that gave one powerful voice to strengthen gender equality and empower women worldwide. It had been the product of years of efforts and months of intense negotiations over the final details. Its adoption illustrated what could be achieved when States worked across boundaries towards a common purpose. It had been built on the groundwork laid in previous years and through the commitment of the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General, whom he thanked, along with experts who had worked on the cause.
He said that so many women and girls faced daunting challenges around the world — some of which they held in common with others; some of which were particular to their own unique circumstances. The United States looked forward to working with UN Women, whose impressive mandate covered women’s rights and economic empowerment, women and peace and security, and women’s political participation. UN Women must be a catalyst, ensuring that United Nations funds and programmes and the Secretariat fully addressed the issues within their mandate. It should also ensure action in areas not yet addressed by the United Nations system. It would need a dynamic and strong innovative leader, who could bring a fresh perspective and deep skill to improve the lives of women in the twenty-first century, and he hoped the Secretary-General would name that person before the start of General Assembly in September, as mandated by the resolution.
While the text was focused on the new entity, he pointed out that it also took note of significant progress in the system-wide coherence agenda: improving funding for operational activities and expanding the donor base; and improving the way in which executive boards enabled developing countries to participate in their work. The work “had just begun”. Now the entity was a reality and not just an aspiration, and States would have to demonstrate commitment to make it a success.
EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA (Rwanda), noting that his country had emerged as a global leader in the fight for gender equality with the highest percentage of women parliamentarians in the world, said UN Women offered the opportunity to augment its achievements. He expected the new body to bring the necessary leadership to shape and implement the policies needed to empower women, advance equality in a meaningful way, and to hold States accountable for the goals and aspirations they had set for themselves. Rwanda was one of the pilot countries for the “Delivering as One” initiative, and it had had the opportunity to present a country-led evaluation in Hanoi, Viet Nam, a few weeks ago. The experience of all the country pilots had showed that the approach brought valuable opportunities to further strengthen the relevance, coherence and comparative advantages of the United Nations system. In that regard, Rwanda called on the Secretary-General to proceed with the modalities for the independent evaluation of lessons learned from the “Delivering as One” pilot countries.
KIM BONGHYUN (Republic of Korea) said the resolution would reinforce gender equality and women’s empowerment, and bolster broader governance and coherence in the Organization’s operational activities. He applauded the guidance of the Secretary-General and the Assembly President in the process. His country was looking forward to close coordination with UN Women and was certain that its creation would go a long way to boosting support for women throughout the United Nations system. His delegation was a strong supporter of the “Delivering as One” initiative, and welcomed the paragraphs in the text dealing with that issue.
RODOLFO BENÍTEZ VERSÓN (Cuba) said adoption of the text had been an arduous process, but his delegation was satisfied with the consensus outcome. The creation of UN Women was an important step in a long list of advances that had occurred in the wake of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women. Cuba, a strong supporter of women’s rights, backed most of the operational elements set out in the resolution, including that the Executive Board of UN Women be appointed according to equitable geographical distribution. Cuba hoped that the operational mandate and funding of the four gender-related agencies of UN Women would be respected.
He said Cuba believed that the objectives of recipient countries must be respected and that the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) must be transparent in its work. The selection of experts to take part in the “Delivering as One” initiatives should fall within the strict purview of the Member States without interference from the Secretariat. Cuba was committed to the full implementation of the resolution and reaffirmed its commitment to the empowerment of all women worldwide.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) said the resolution would allow the United Nations to strengthen its forms of governance, improve the financing of its operational activities and harmonize its institutional practices. The Colombian Government would look to the Secretary-General to report on the mechanisms for doing so. It welcomed the conclusion of the reform of the United Nations gender architecture. She valued the work done to date by staff at the four entities, and States must recognize that the reform would hopefully bring an end to “institutional dispersal”. Today’s result showed that, through constructive dialogue, it was possible to find consensus. The new entity was a unique opportunity to raise the profile of gender equality and women’s empowerment at the United Nations. She hoped that the new entity would be given the necessary financial resources it needed to ensure incorporation of the gender perspective throughout the United Nations. She also hoped that the new body would support States’ national efforts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment through effective leadership, with an attitude of openness and transparency.
CHARLES NTWAAGAE ( Botswana) said the decision to establish the entity had followed on the heels of almost three years of intensive consultations on its structure and modalities. The co-facilitators had invested much time and energy in seeking the views of Governments, civil society representatives and United Nations officials. He recognized the importance of a strengthened gender architecture to build sustainable, just and developed societies. Women’s empowerment was a prerequisite for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and other international goals. In that regard, he welcomed the unanimous support given to UN Women, saying he believed strongly that it would bring “a shift” in the work of the United Nations on gender issues. It would also result in better support of national development efforts, through its provision of technical and financial support. Botswana was committed to equal rights for all, and was doing much domestically towards that goal.
JOYCE C. KAFANABO (United Republic of Tanzania) welcomed the adoption of the text and joined others in thanking the co-facilitators for the achievements that had been registered in all areas covered in the resolution, especially strengthening institutional arrangements in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Assembly should applaud its achievement in establishing UN Women, which should usher in a new era in the Organization’s work to promote and protect women’s rights. Her delegation expected that the new body would ensure coordination and coherence of relevant efforts.
“Women in the field have been eagerly awaiting this moment, let us not delay them further,” she said, calling on the Secretary-General to move quickly on the appointment of an Under-Secretary-General to head up the new body. She went on to say that, as a “Delivering as One” pilot country, the United Republic of Tanzania welcomed the fact that the Secretary-General was encouraged to proceed with the modality for the independent evaluation of such countries. She underscored in that regard the need for speedy execution of those evaluations.
FEDERICO ALBERTO CUELLO CAMILO (Dominican Republic) said his delegation “shares the delight” of all other Member States at the adoption of the resolution. The creation of UN Women answered the call of millions of women and girls around the world that had been waiting on the United Nations to respond to their needs. He hoped that working with and for women through a single body would allow the Organization to tackle the gender-related specificities of development in a coherent and efficient manner. He thanked the co-facilitators and Secretariat officials that had provided guidance during the negotiations.
He said that the Dominican Republic had a long history of fighting for women and, to that end, had hosted INSTRAW, which had been essential, among other ways, in providing logistical support to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) following the devastating 12 January earthquake there. He trusted that the integration of INSTRAW’s mandate into that of UN Women would preserve its training functions and ensure that its physical facilities remained in the Dominican Republic to guarantee the new body’s equitable geographical representation.
ALEXANDER PANKIN (Russian Federation) acknowledged that, without the diplomatic tact and assistance shown by the co-facilitators, the Assembly would not have arrived at today’s result. The resolution contained important measures aimed at avoiding duplication. On the reform of the gender architecture and new hybrid body, the text guaranteed its universal scope; its mandate covered all States and regions, since no country was free of human rights violations against women. To ensure accountability, there would be a review after three years, and he stressed the need “to avoid divergence during the transition period”.
On other aspects of system-wide coherence, he said he had been satisfied with the balanced, agreed wording regarding financing, harmonization and other subjects, and believed that the resolution would serve as a sound foundation for cooperation among Member States, the Economic and Social Council and the Joint Coordination Committee. As far as common country programmes, he stressed the importance of adopting practical lines of action that reflected the priorities. The Chief Executives Board must preserve its formal status, and he welcomed the “Delivering as One” pilot projects. Success depended on the reliability of “assessment bodies”, and the Russian Federation was ready to participate actively. Future discussion on enhancing effectiveness would continue within the framework of a four-year review of operational activities, and the Assembly should prepare for that at the sixty-fifth session. The text was presently no more than just a document; its effective implementation would the responsibility of Member States.
SHIGEKI SUMI ( Japan) said the adoption of the resolution and creation of UN Women “is something of an historic moment”, as the Assembly’s action united the Organization’s four separate gender-related bodies and ensured that leadership of the new body would be provided at a high level, by an Under-Secretary-General. Japan hoped the Secretary-General would spare no effort to appoint a leader for UN Women in a timely manner. Throughout the discussions on the issue, Japan’s strong conviction had been that the United Nations system should tighten the links between its normative and policymaking functions and its operational activities.
He said the United Nations system should make the bottom-up and top-down processes echo one another. Those processes must also be mutually reinforcing to improve the coherence and effectiveness of the United Nations work, including in the area of gender equality and women’s empowerment. “My delegation will carefully observe and check if substantial efficiency gains will be achieved in implementing this hard-won resolution,” he said, adding that Japan would also be watching to see if the savings generated would be reinvested into the programmatic activities intended to address real issues on the ground in support of women in need of protection and empowerment.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ (Chile) welcomed the “historic” resolution, saying that almost four years after the report of High-level Panel on System-Wide Coherence, the Assembly had given the world an entity that could effectively respond to the needs of women the world over. He hoped that UN Women was made operational as soon as possible and he urged that the transition process be handled with care and consideration. All delegations that had participated in the negotiations had been forced to compromise on one issue or another, but the outcome had led to a stronger response on efforts to protect and promote the rights of women, “a goal for which we all strive”.
SOCORRO ROVIROSA (Mexico) said UN Women, with its broad mandate and proposed stronger leadership, would give new impetus to the Organization’s efforts to bolster women’s rights. The adoption of the text was proof that Member States could compromise and reach agreement on vital issues of concern. UN Women was not about “rebuilding everything; the key is to build on past experience”, she said expressing the hope that the transition process would draw on and preserve the expertise of UNIFEM and INSTRAW. She also hoped civil society would continue to play an important role in the United Nations efforts to protect and promote women’s rights.
MORTEN WETLAND (Norway) said that today was a historic day for “the other half of the world population”. The voluntary reports delivered by Member States at the Economic and Social Council had revealed that, while progress was under way in most countries, women were still largely disadvantaged. The new entity must be given the teeth and resources it needed to meet countries’ expectations; good leadership was essential in that regard. He trusted that the Secretary-General would be guided by the Charter and that States would assist him in finding the necessary leader. It was important to ensure that all of UNIFEM’s activities continued during that period and that its dissolution did not translate into disruption in the field and at Headquarters. Norway would follow closely the appointment of the new leadership while assessing how the country could — and would — contribute to the entity.
MANIEMAGEN GOVENDER (South Africa) said that five years after the Assembly’s World Summit, Member States could add to other achievements, such as the establishment of the Human Rights Council and Peacebuilding Commission, and the adoption of a text on a host of reforms in the area of system-wide coherence. The Assembly’s action today raised the hope that the world body could press ahead with other reforms, including of the Bretton Woods Institutions and the Security Council.
He said today’s resolution would lead to more coherent, integrated and well-coordinated machinery, which would further the development agenda by aligning the Organization’s operational activities with country priorities and programmes. It also marked an additional achievement for the world’s women by elevating issues that were at the heart of their concerns. The creation of UN Women also proved that the Organization would continue its efforts to promote and protect the rights of women at the highest level.
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