Fifth Committee Takes Up Budget Proposal for New United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
Fifth Committee Takes Up Budget Proposal for New United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
20th Meeting (AM)
Fifth Committee Takes Up Budget Proposal for New United Nations Entity
for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
The Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) today considered a Secretariat proposal to give the newly-minted UN Women the financial backing it needs to carry out the Organization’s efforts to eliminate discrimination against women and girls around the world.
The Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) supported the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a new budget section - UN Women — and allocate nearly $370,000 to establish three new posts. Yet, it also warned the new entity to be prudent in its spending and growth and avoid overlap with other United Nations system entities and Secretariat offices working on similar issues.
Introducing the Advisory Committee’s report, Chairman Susan McLurg said the proposal would entail the transfer of $6.62 million to the new section 37, UN Women, from section 9, economic and social affairs, of the 2010-2011 programme budget. It also would mean the additional outlay of $367,800 to fund the three new posts, which would be charged against the contingency fund. The three new posts are the Under-Secretary-General slot, one D-2 level position and one General Services post.
With the adoption of resolution 64/289 in July 2010, the Assembly established the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, to be known as UN Women. It is slated to begin fully operating by 1 January 2011.
UN Women will function as a secretariat body and carry out operational activities at the country level, as it meshed the mandates of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, and the Division for the Advancement of Women in the Secretariat; the United Nations Development Fund for Women; and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women. In his report issued in October, the Secretary-General noted that the proposal for the 2011 regular budget resources was prepared before the Under-Secretary-General of UN Women, Michele Bachelet, assumed her job.
Ms. Bachelet, who was appointed on 14 September, thanked the delegates for their support and said the budget submission before them was the first of two. The second budget submission concerned the voluntary contributions and would be sent to the entity’s Executive Board, through the Advisory Committee, in January. In June, the Executive Board would receive a new strategic plan for UN Women’s operation. “But we cannot wait until then to act,” she said, as Member States had high expectations that UN Women would be ready for action in January.
The 41 members of the Executive Board were elected by the Economic and Social Council for a term of three years. The Board is to report annually on its programme and activities to the Assembly, through the Council.
Assistant Secretary-General and Controller Jun Yamazki introduced the Secretary-General’s report, which proposed charging $6.98 million against the regular budget. An estimated $359.87 million would be received as additional voluntary contributions in 2011, bringing the year’s total extra-budgetary resources to $493.97 million.
The Secretary-General, Advisory Committee and Ms. Bachelet urged the delegates to back the use of a so-called “grant modality” approach to administer UN Women’s regular budget resources. Given the entity’s hybrid nature, the grant modality vehicle was the most practical approach and would provide maximum transparency, said Ms. McLurg.
During today’s discussion, several delegates urged UN Women to ensure that its organizational chart reflected the principle of universality by including all regions and countries in its structure.
Several delegates were concerned that only a small portion — 1.4 per cent of the total $500 million budget estimate — was to be financed through regular budget resources. Speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Yemen’s delegate was particularly concerned that some senior posts were to be funded by voluntary contributions. It was crucial to boost the share of assessed contributions to ensure predictable, transparent financing. Over-reliance on voluntary contributions could change the focus of the organization’s activities and “make it donor-driven and thus distancing from priorities agreed by the General Assembly”, he said.
Speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, Chile’s delegate said UN Women should receive the resources it needed to properly fulfil its mandates, while senior management posts should be financed from the regular budget to avoid unnecessary interference when staff were selected.
The Group of 77 and the Rio Group, along with the Dominican Republic’s representative, urged UN Women to tap into the human resources and physical assets of INSTRAW, which is based in Santo Domingo.
While agreeing that UN Women should be well financed and reflect the priorities of all Member States, India’s representative said the regular budget contribution of 1.4 percent was designed to be small. That would ensure inter-governmental participation and oversight of its activities. Strategic oversight had to be maintained, an issue demanding the Fifth Committee’s constant review, he added.
The representatives of Belgium (speaking on behalf of the European Union), Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, the United States, Brazil, Japan and Norway also spoke on the issue.
The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, 9 December, to discuss financing for peacekeeping Missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General, Revised proposal for the use of regular budget resources for the normative support functions of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (document A/65/531).
Issued 21 October 2010, the report responds to a request contained in Assembly resolution 64/289, which established the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). UN Women is to provide enhanced United Nations support to national efforts in gender equality and the empowerment of women. In paragraph 76, the Assembly asked the Secretary-General for a report with a revised proposal for the use of regular budget resources, approved for the biennium 2010-2011, for support functions for the new entity, in accordance with all relevant United Nations rules and procedures. The report was to include a detailed organizational chart and options for administrative arrangements for its regular budget.
Though the report includes information on current and estimated future voluntary contributions to UN Women, a proposal for the use of voluntary resources for the support budget for the biennium 2010-2011, together with a revised draft strategic plan and organizational chart, will be submitted in a separate report to the entity’s Executive Board.
The report notes that, despite the difficult global financial situation, the creation of UN Women is an historic opportunity to increase the Organization’s ability to support gender equality and women’s empowerment. Recognizing the financial constraints, the Secretariat’s proposal includes a very modest increase in regular budget resources to provide the minimum foundation necessary to establish UN Women.
The proposal for the use of regular budget resources for 2011 was prepared as a mid-biennium budget revision and provides an initial framework of expected levels of total resources, programmes and an organizational chart. These will be further developed under the leadership of the Under-Secretary-General of UN Women, and the proposed programme budget for 2012-2013 will reflect her strategic vision.
In the report, the Secretary-General asks the Assembly to:
· Approve, effective 1 January 2011, the proposal under section 37, UN Women, including the new programme of work and resources requirements;
· Approve the transfer of $6.62 million from section 9, economic and social affairs, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 to section 37, UN Women;
· Approve the appropriation of $6.98 million (at current rates) under section 37 of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011, which includes the additional amount of $367,800 to finance the establishment of three new posts;
· Approve the establishment of three new posts: 1 Under-Secretary-General, 1 D-2, and 1 General Service (Other level) under section 37, UN Women;
· Approve the amount of $62,300 under section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by an equivalent amount under section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011;
· Approve the proposed administrative arrangements (option 1) for the grant modality of budget implementation under the new budget section 37, UN Women.
UN Women is to lead and coordinate United Nations system efforts to ensure that its commitments on gender equality and gender mainstreaming translate into action throughout the world. It will provide leadership to support Member States’ priorities and efforts and build partnerships with national mechanisms for gender equality, civil society and other relevant actors.
By establishing UN Women, the Assembly decided that it would consolidate the existing mandates and functions of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Division for the Advancement of Women of the Secretariat; the United Nations Development Fund for Women; and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women. It would have the additional role of leading, coordinating and promoting the accountability of the United Nations system in its work on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and that any new mandates would be subject to approval by intergovernmental process. The present proposal for the use of regular budget resources for 2011 was prepared before the Under-Secretary-General of UN Women took up her post after her appointment by the Secretary-General on 14 September 2010.
Also before the Committee was the related report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, (document A/65/593), issued 30 November 2010. The Advisory Committee welcomes the establishment of UN Women as an important part of the Organization’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its capacity to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, particularly the increasing demand for United Nations system support to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly approve the creation, effective 1 January 2011, of a new budget section, "Section 37, UN Women", and transfer $6.616 million from section 9, economic and social affairs, to section 37, UN Women, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.
It also recommends the Assembly approve the establishment of three new posts (1 Under-Secretary-General, 1 D-2, and 1 General Service (Other level)) under section 37, UN Women, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011 and appropriate $6.98 million (at current rates) under section 37, UN Women, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011. This includes the additional amount of $367,800 to finance the establishment of the three above-mentioned new posts. Finally, the Advisory Committee recommends the Assembly approve the amount of $62,300 under section 36, Staff assessment, to be offset by an equivalent amount under section 1, Income from staff assessment, of the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011.
Among the comments and recommendations in its eight-page report, the Advisory Committee stresses the importance of ensuring that appropriate procedures for the settlement of disputes are in place by the time UN Women becomes operational on 1 January 2011. While understanding the preliminary proposals cover only the start-up phase of UN Women’s operations, the Advisory Committee stresses the importance of preventing overlap with other United Nations system entities and Secretariat offices and that its role and responsibilities were clearly defined. It encourages a prudent approach to managing the growth of UN Women as it responds to Member States’ expectations and scales up the activities previously pursued by its four constituent entities.
Regarding staffing, the Advisory Committee recognizes that UN Women may require additional human resources as it works to deliver on its expanded mandates, but it expects the Secretariat to explore all opportunities to rationalize the post structure, particularly ensuring that the final staffing table is not top-heavy.
On the issue of the administrative arrangements for the regular budget portion of UN Women’s funds, the Advisory Committee recommends that the Assembly approve the use of the grant modality (option 1) to implement the regular budget portion. Under this option, the normal budget review, approval processes and reporting processes would be maintained, thereby maintaining the Assembly’s control of posts and non-post resources funded from the regular budget. After the Assembly’s approval of the biennial budget, the regular budget resources would be provided to UN Women in the form of a grant, which would be administered and disbursed by UN Women in accordance with its own financial regulations and rules and using its own enterprise resource planning system. Financial statements and related accounts would be submitted to the Board of Auditors in accordance with the established procedures applicable to the regular budget.
The Advisory Committee notes from paragraph 19 of the Secretary-General’s report that the Assembly had endorsed the grant modality and it has been used for a number of years to implement the budgets of Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
JUN YAMAZAKI, Assistant Secretary-General and Controller, introduced the report of the Secretary-General on a revised proposal for the use of regular budget resources for the normative support functions of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) (document A/65/531). He recalled how the General Assembly, during its previous session, requested the Secretary-General to submit for its approval a revised proposal for the use of regular budget resources for the new entity. Those proposals were contained in the present report, which included necessary programmatic changes and resources requirements needed for implementation, as well as summary information on voluntary resources.
Mr. YAMAZAKI explained that, in the programme budget for the biennium 2010-2011, subprogramme 2 would be transferred from budget section 9 (economic and social affairs) to a new separate budget section 37 (UN Women), with certain modifications required by the new entity, including two subprogrammes. Five additional accomplishments and indicators of achievement had been added to reflect additional outputs to be implemented through extra-budgetary resources, resulting from the addition of activities and resources from the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
It was proposed that 2011 resources totalling $6.62 million be transferred from subprogramme 2 of the economic and social affairs section of the 2010-2011 budget to the new UN Women budget section. In addition, another $367,800 — representing the costs of establishing three new positions (including that of Under-Secretary-General) — would be required. That would bring the total proposed appropriation to $6.98 million. The initial appropriation for economic and social affairs would, in the meantime, be reduced from $166.28 million to $159.6 million. Regarding extra-budgetary resources, it was proposed that $1.32 million — representing extrabudgetary resources under subprogramme 2 — be shifted to the UN Women section, together with $132.77 million from INSTRAW and UNIFEM. An estimated $359.87 million would be received in 2011 as additional voluntary contributions. In total, extrabudgetary resources in 2011 would be $493.96 million. Forty-two posts (including 28 in the professional category and above, and 14 in the General Service category) would continue to be provided from the regular budget, in addition to the proposed three new posts. The extrabudgetary post complement would meanwhile grow from 94 to 368.
He noted that the Committee on Programme and Coordination would be submitting to the General Assembly relevant documents on the programmatic aspects of the new or revised mandates of the new entity, as on any differences there might be between the biennial programme plan and the programmatic aspects of the proposed programme budget. The budget fascicle of the UN Women section for the biennium 2012-2013 would be submitted to the Assembly in the fall of 2011, in line with established practice.
Turning to administrative arrangements for the regular budget portion of UN Women, he explained that the first option set out in the Secretary-General’s report was preferred, given the hybrid nature of the new entity. That option would maintain the normal budget review and approval processes. Once the General Assembly had approved the biennial budget, regular budget resources would be provided to UN Women in the form of a grant that would be administered and disbursed by UN Women, in line with its own financial rules and regulations. Financial statements and related accounts would be submitted to the Board of Auditors, in line with established procedures. The same grant modality option had been used for a number of years in the case of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; there would be no difference in the budget process except for implementation and the Assembly would maintain control of programme structure and performance, activities and outputs, posts and non-post resources.
In her capacity as Under-Secretary-General for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women), MICHELLE BACHELET thanked the delegates for their support and called the Assembly’s decision in July 2010 to create UN Women a brave one. It championed the interests of women and girls everywhere and created an entity that could carry out activities at the country level, while coordinating efforts to improve the condition of women through a Secretariat.
Over the last seven weeks, she had heard many Member States talk about the exclusion and marginalization of women around the world. If UN Women succeeded, women would not die in childbirth at such a high rate, rape would not be accepted as a weapon of war, and the resources of half of a country’s workforce would no longer be misused, she said.
She said the budget submission before the Committee was the first of a two-part budget submission. A second part, pertaining to the voluntary contributions portion, would be submitted to the new Executive Board, through the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), in January. The budget proposal established the entity’s organizational structure and set out minimum requirements.
In June, a new strategic plan for the entity’s operation would be submitted to the entity’s Executive Board. “But we cannot wait until then to act”, she said. There were high expectations that the entity would begin operating in January fully formed and ready for action and with the capacity to support national partners.
By bringing four separate entities together, there would be economies of scale created, such as with one front office, one administrative and finance function and one information technology function, she said. There was a new function of executive director at the Under-Secretary-General level.
An increase was still needed in the regular budget to cover the extra posts. The arrangement proposed for the regular budget resources built on the grant modality used by the UNHCR, which would be used to administer the $6.9 million 2011 share of the regular budget. That would give Member States an opportunity to approve the budget details. It would give the Assembly close control over the staffing. The experience of UNHCR had been reviewed and the Assembly had agreed to continue the arrangement. Concluding, she said she was counting on this Committee’s support for the approval of the grant modality and the proposed additional resources.
SUSAN MCLURG, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), said the Advisory Committee welcomed the establishment of UN Women as an important part of the Organization’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its capacity to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, particularly the increasing demand for United Nations system support to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. It recognized the difficulty inherent in creating a new entity and consolidating the mandates and functions of four pre-existing entities into one unified structure and commended the Under-Secretary-General for UN Women for the work of her and her team.
The ACABQ was now reviewing the proposal for the use of voluntary resources for the support budget for UN Women, which would be considered by the entity’s Executive Board in early 2011. Accordingly, the Advisory Committee had only made general comments on its future role and functions. It particularly highlighted the need for UN Women to avoid overlaps with the mandates of other United Nations system entities and Secretariat offices working on similar issues.
Regarding staffing, the Advisory Committee stressed that the entity’s final organization structure should reflect a thorough review of staffing requirements, both in the field and at Headquarters, and it expected the Secretariat to explore all opportunities to rationalize the post structure.
Turning to the Secretary-General’s proposals on the use of the regular budget, the Advisory Committee recommended the Assembly approve the use of the grant modality (option 1) to implement the regular budget portion. Given the new entity’s hybrid nature, option 1 was the most practical approach and would provide maximum transparency when administrating the regular budget resources.
Regarding the financing, the Advisory Committee recommended that the Assembly approve the Secretary-General’s proposal to create a new budget section and establish three new posts. This would involve the transfer, to the new section 37, of $6.62 million from section 9, economic and social affairs. It would require an additional $367,800 to fund the three new posts, which represent a charge against the contingency fund.
WALEED AL-SHAHARI (Yemen), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, supported the entity’s creation and pledged its full support. Yemen stressed the need for the organizational chart of UN Women to fully reflect the principle of universality by including all regions and countries in its structure.
The Group trusted that the mandate of the INSTRAW would be effectively integrated into UN Women, resulting in global training and research work of greater impact, supported by generous resources, and managed by an efficient and able staff. The Group was certain that, after the transitional period ended, the training and research would continue to be carried out globally from the physical installations located in the Dominican Republic. That would tap into the facility’s work experience, programmes and its convenient location and low operational costs.
The Group noted with concerned that only 1.4 per cent of the total $500 million budget estimate was proposed to be financed through the regular budget. The Group was particularly concerned that the Secretary-General’s proposal suggested that some senior posts were to be funded through voluntary contributions. The strategic functions of those posts required funding through assessed contributions, he said. The Group believed it was crucial to increase the share of assessed contributions to ensure predictable, transparent financing for the new entity. The Group was also concerned that an over-reliance on voluntary contributions could change the focus of the entity’s activities, make it donor-driven and distance it from the priorities agreed by the Assembly.
Turning to the financing of the regular budget portion, the Group supported the use of the grant modality (option 1) and stressed the need to ensure transparency in the administration of such resources by maintaining the current process of review. It also believed it was very important to ensure equitable geographical distribution when filling all posts and positions, with a view to improving the participation of nationals from developing countries, particularly in senior posts and positions.
JAN GRAULS (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said UN Women would be the keystone of the United Nations’ vital work in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. The European Union had supported its creation; it was a landmark that demonstrated the commitment of Member States to reform. The United Nations was urged to build on that momentum. Having carefully considered the report of the Secretary-General, the European Union appreciated that a proposal for the use of voluntary resources for the support budget for the biennium 2010-2011, together with a revised draft strategic plan and organizational chart, would be submitted in a separate report to the Executive Board of UN Women. As for launching the operations of UN Women, it was important to ensure that management procedures were in place by the time that operations began on 1 January 2011. It was of great importance to ensure that appropriate steps were undertaken from the outset to avoid overlaps with other entities, Secretariat offices and departments working on similar issues. Regarding administrative arrangements under the regular budget, the European Union supported the use of the grant modality, or option one. It was the most practical option for ensuring the efficient and transparent administration of regular budget resources. Grant modality had been successfully used for a number of years for UNHCR.
OCTAVIO ERRÁZURIZ (Chile), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, noted how the founding of UN Women marked a historic opportunity for expanding gender mainstreaming throughout the United Nations system. The Group was delighted that Ms. Bachelet, “a woman from our region,” had been appointed as Under-Secretary-General for UN Women and it was sure that she would efficiently oversee the integration of the mandates and functions of the four current entities. In that regard, the Group trusted that the integration of INSTRAW would lead to more meaningful research and training activities at the global level, supported by substantial resources that would be administered by an efficient and trained team. It also trusted that that research and training could continue to be conducted from the Dominican Republic, building on the value added of the work experience, programmes already under way, convenient geographical location and associated low costs. Importance was attached by the Group to the principle of universality, and it was hoped that, when posts were filled, due account would be taken of the principle of equitable geographical distribution, with special attention being paid in that regard to senior management posts.
Turning to the financing of UN Women, he recalled that the Secretary-General had forecast initial funding requirements of about $500 million, primarily drawn from voluntary resources. It was essential for the entity to be given the necessary resources to properly fulfil its mandates and meet the high hopes placed on it. Senior management posts should be financed from the regular budget, in order to avoid unnecessary interference in the selection of staff at that level. Duplication should also be avoided, and the best possible use should be made of financial and human resources, with possible shortcomings identified.
CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) agreed with Mrs. Bachelet that UN Women would be more than the sum of four other UN entities; it would add value to gender issues throughout the UN system. Having her lead UN Women was a great opportunity, given her international standing and her background as an innovative leader. With regards to how UN Women would be funded, Mexico was in favour of option one as a starting point that could be built upon in the future. UN Women should be able to count on getting the resources it needed at all times and Mexico would be attentive to any additional resources that might be required. Duplication or overlap should be avoided and efficiency gains identified by the Secretary-General were appreciated. Mexico would support the work of UN Women through its membership on the executive board.
SHIN BOONAM (Republic of Korea) said that under Ms. Bachelet’s strong leadership, UN Women would play a central role in transforming efforts to promote gender equality and to empower women into real action. The Republic of Korea was fully committed to greater system-wide coherence in order to achieve the elimination of discrimination against women, the empowerment of women and the achievement of gender equality around the world. UN Women would not be a composite entity, but a dynamic singular and synergistic entity that would lead, coordinate and promote the accountability of the UN system in its work on gender equality and women’s empowerment. While a very modest increase in regular budget resources for 2011 was proposed for UN Women, it could require a significant net increase in human and financial resources in the near future in order for it to fulfil its mandate. “Indeed, the Secretary-General’s report delivers the message for Member States that the success of this historic entity is in our hands,” he said. At the same time, UN Women should pursue its efforts to fully utilize all available opportunities for efficiencies and economies of scale.
Mr. MARAFI (Kuwait) said the creation of UN Women was an historic opportunity for Member States to extend their support for all efforts regarding gender equality. Four UN entities which addressed the advancement of women and gender equality would be brought together as one, more effective entity. The role of women would be reinforced. Kuwait favoured the inception of UN Women and looked forward to greater cooperation with the United Nations in advancing the role of women. Kuwait had been applying the Millennium Development Goals to achieve gender equality. Its delegation was confident that the new mechanism would enhance the role of women in society, so that women could assume their responsibilities in a broader way. Kuwait would cooperate with the new entity, as it had done in the past with other entities.
SAIFUL AZAM ABDULLAH (Malaysia) echoed other delegations’ congratulations to Ms. Bachelet; through her leadership, UN Women would be making meaningful improvements to the lives of women and girls throughout the world. Its work was fully supported by Malaysia. Its final organizational structure should reflect a thorough review of staffing requirements both in the field and at Headquarters. It was hoped that the matter would be taken up accordingly, as it was fundamental to ensure transparency. The creation of a new budget section dedicated to UN Women was also supported by Malaysia. Doing so would see $6.6 million being transferred from the economic and social affairs section. The appropriation of $7 million dollars, including the establishment of three additional posts, in the 2010-2011 programme budget was noted. It was imperative that UN women have the necessary resources to carry out its mandates effectively. As a member of its Executive Board, Malaysia would be further enhancing its efforts and contributing to the entity, as it met the unique and often under-represented needs of women and girls around the world.
Supporting the statement of the Group of 77, FEDERICO ALBERTO CUELLO CAMILO (Dominican Republic) said he threw his support behind the new entity and the work of Ms. Bachelet, the former President of Chile. He was sure her leadership would give the new entity the credibility needed to support gender equality around the world.
Since the beginning, the Dominican Republic had supported the creation of UN Women. The country had always worked for women and he noted that INSTRAW was created with a special vision to represent the views of a developing country. He knew that UN Women could benefit from the knowledge of INSTRAW and its staff.
He hoped that the high talent and dedication of the INSTRAW staff would be recognized by UN Women. The Dominican Republic had been appointed to the Executive Board and would seek full implementation of all of the provisions approved by the Assembly. He was confident that UN Women would help elevate women on the Organization’s agenda.
BRAHIM BENMOUSSA (Morocco) expressed deep satisfaction with the creation of UN Women, which represented a significant step by the international community and the United Nations towards enhancing women’s rights throughout the world. Through reforms implemented by its Government, tremendous efforts had been made by Morocco to empower women, ensure gender equality, prevent violence against women and improve their role in society. The mandate of UN Women would be a real challenge, especially in view of the fact that it would have to operate in so many parts of the world. Morocco had trust in the leadership of Ms. Bachelet. Regarding resources for UN Women, Morocco supported the proposal that it be funded from the regular budget and voluntary contributions, but it was concerned that, of the total needed, only 1.4 per cent was being proposed from the regular budget. That might impede the operations of the entity. Also, option one should be approved by the General Assembly. Morocco reiterated its support for UN Women and Ms. Bachelet, and said it was willing to work closely with her.
STEPHEN LIEBERMAN (United States) said the United States strongly supported the entity’s creation and agreed with the Advisory Committee’s statement in welcoming UN Women as an important part of the Organization’s ongoing efforts to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The United States strongly supported the Secretary-General’s proposal, endorsed by the Advisory Committee, for posts and resources, as well as the funding option for a unified system for the integrated administration of all resources and the use of a grant modality. The United States believed that funding option would let UN Women effectively operate as a hybrid entity with two separate funding sources for normative and operational activities. He also agreed with the Advisory Committee’s observation that, during the transitional and start-up phase, efforts should be made to achieve efficiencies and streamline functions, whenever possible. The United States thanked Ms. Bachelet and her team for its work and looked forward to examining the proposals in more detail during the informal sessions.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLO (Brazil) echoed its strong support for UN Women and Under-Secretary-General Bachelet, a strong advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment who could count on Brazil’s full support. The principle of universality should guide the operational activities of UN Women, which should offer support to all countries, rich or poor, developed or developing. UN Women’s share of regular budget resources should be increased, so that the entity could meet the enormous expectations raised by its creation. It was a matter of concern that funding from assessed contributions would only be about 1.4 per cent of total 2011 resources. Due to their strategic importance and the very nature of the mandate, the proposed Assistant Secretary-General and director-level positions should be funded through the regular budget.
Normal budget review, approval and reporting processes for UN Women should be maintained, together with the General Assembly’s control of post and non-post resources, she said. To that end, Brazil supported the grant modality option, as proposed by the Secretary-General. It also recalled the role of the Committee for Programme and Coordination in reviewing changes to the strategic framework for 2010-2011 resulting from the creation of UN Women. The need to harmonize business practices with other United Nations operational activities must also be highlighted, especially in relation to staff conditions of service. Finally, it was very important to stress the need for equitable geographical distribution and gender balance in staffing, and ensuring the representation of nations from developing countries in senior positions.
JUN YAMADA ( Japan) welcomed the decision to establish UN Women and its progress, particularly its timely preparation of the regular budget component. Japan would support UN Women’s efforts to continue passing successfully through the transitional period and be able to start its work, with the mandates conferred on it, in January 2011.
In resolution 64/289, the Assembly decided that the establishment of UN Women and the conduct of its work should lead to more effective coordination, coherence and gender mainstreaming across the United Nations system. In Japan’s view, its effectiveness could not be ensured without increasing its efficiency. It agreed with the Advisory Committee that, regardless of increased expectations, UN Women should be prudent in managing its growth and seek economies of scale where possible. Japan would like to discuss the issue during the informal consultations. It would participate actively and constructively in those discussions.
SINGH PURI ( India) expressed his delegation’s hope that, under the able leadership of Ms. Bachelet, UN women would be successful in meeting the expectations of Member States for enhanced system-wide support for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. As a country that was home to more than 500 million women, with a Constitution that enshrined gender equality and affirmative action, India had an unwavering commitment to the objectives of UN Women. Early operationalization of UN Women was a matter of priority for India and consideration of its inaugural budget was an important step in that regard.
India was committed to ensuring that the new entity had adequate resources to smoothly navigate the transitional period and to make it a fully effective body, he said. It also supported an adequately staffed office for the Under-Secretary-General. It was imperative that UN Women be well-resourced, with those resources being transparently assigned and used to reflect the common priorities of all Member States. The regular budget contribution — only 1.4 per cent of the total estimated budget for UN Women — was designed to be small, but it was important from the perspective of ensuring intergovernmental participation and oversight in its activities. Strategic oversight had to be maintained; it was an issue that deserved close consideration and constant review by the Fifth Committee. The unintended dilution of the oversight role of the General Assembly must be guarded against.
TINE MORCH SMITH (Norway) said her country had been an active proponent for gender equality for decades. It was pleased to see all Member States joining the cause this year. Expectations were great. UN Women would have to be more than the sum of its predecessors, by acting as the missing link between human rights norms and the implementation of programmes on the ground. Not just another programme, UN Women would be a composite entity integrating Secretariat functions. Its funding had to be considered accordingly. The proposal for the grant modality was supported by Norway; it was an option that had been used for many years with success by UNHCR and it allowed for more transparency. Norway also expected a strong focus on results-based management that would prove to be more cost-effective. Predictable funding would be required.
Ms. BACHELET thanked all the Member States for their support and the relevance of their statements and the support they had shown for women’s equality and empowerment. UN Women shared with Member States their feelings about the importance of universality, national ownership and national representation. She said transparency would rule the way UN Women conducted its activities. UN Women would work to ensure good relations with its Executive Board and the Assembly. She would answer further questions in the informal meeting.
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