‘The Newest Member of the UN Family Has Been Born Today,’ Secretary-General Tells General Assembly upon Decision to Set Up Composite Body, ‘UN Women’

2 July 2010

‘The Newest Member of the UN Family Has Been Born Today,’ Secretary-General Tells General Assembly upon Decision to Set Up Composite Body, ‘UN Women’

2 July 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘The Newest Member of the UN Family Has Been Born Today,’ Secretary-General


Tells General Assembly upon Decision to Set Up Composite Body, ‘UN Women’


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on system-wide coherence, in New York today, 2 July:

Allow me to warmly congratulate the Member States.

You have adopted a landmark resolution on system-wide coherence.

You have established “UN Women” — a new composite United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

This is truly a watershed day.

By bringing together four parts of the United Nations system dedicated to women’s issues, Member States have created a much stronger voice for women and for gender equality at the global level.  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.

You have combined global norm-setting responsibilities in one United Nations entity and given it the means to provide operational support to countries to implement those norms and standards.  The United Nations system will now be able to significantly step up its support to national efforts to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

I thank you, Mr. President for your leadership, and your co-facilitators, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann of Estonia and Ambassador Ghazi Jomaa of Tunisia, for the successful outcome of these important consultations.  I am sure all Member States will agree that these consultations on system-wide coherence have been conducted in a most inclusive, transparent and efficient manner.

Let us give credit where credit is due.  Ambassador Intelmann and Ambassador Jomaa and their excellent staff have shown exemplary leadership and dedication to this demanding task.  I would like to put on record our sincere appreciation.   I am grateful also to you, the Member States, and distinguished Permanent Representatives, for having taken this major step forward for the world’s women and girls.

I know that on certain issues your negotiations have been difficult.  I greatly appreciate your spirit of compromise and I pay tribute to the great efforts of all the distinguished Permanent Representatives and their experts who have been so engaged in this process.

I thank also Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri of India, for his able facilitation of the meetings of ambassadors at the last stages of the process, where some critical issues relating to the gender entity were resolved.  And I am sure you will all join me in expressing our gratitude to those previous co‑facilitators of the earlier rounds of General Assembly consultations on system-wide coherence, who laid the ground for this landmark resolution.

I would like to also recognize the support and encouragement that all delegations have received from civil society organizations.  Their determination sustained the necessary momentum to establish this long overdue outcome.

And finally, but importantly, I would like to use this opportunity to thank the wonderful staff of Division for the Advancement of Women, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for their great efforts on women’s issues, and their work in preparing for the establishment of the new gender entity.

The strength of the United Nations lies both in its intergovernmental agreements, and in the wonderful women and men who work for our goals and values around the world.

We have seen much collaborative spirit among the staff of the four entities in recent months.  We will depend on this as you now embark on the task of making UN Women operational.  We will work to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible while the staff of the four existing entities continue to perform their usual functions.

As you know, the new resolution has established the post of an Under-Secretary-General to head the new entity, and I am working to identify the most suitable candidate.  Until the post is filled, I have asked the Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro, to guide the transition process.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her leadership of the process that has brought us so far.

This resolution will always be strongly associated with the establishment of the new gender entity, but we should not forget that Member States have also adopted today many important decisions in the other areas of the system-wide coherence process.

In the area of funding, Member States have agreed to introduce a new approach to determining the “critical mass” of core funding for funds and programmes.  Rather than relying on ad hoc bilateral negotiations to address resource requirements, better links will be established between core contributions and the cost of carrying out key mandates.

I believe the “critical mass” approach to funding offers a new and powerful vision for improving the quantity and quality of funding for operational activities.

Member States have also realized that the voice of programme countries is not always heard in governing bodies.  The resolution addresses this critical issue by requesting governing 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.

The adoption of this resolution on system-wide coherence sends a strong signal that Member States are determined to make the work of the United Nations system for development more coherent, effective and efficient.  You have taken a bold decision to make the United Nations much better able to support progress for women — and men.

I encourage you to ensure that the new gender entity will be well funded so it can deliver.  I am aware that many Member States face resource constraints due to the recent economic and financial crisis, but I am confident UN Women will receive strong financial backing from donor countries and other partners.

The newest member of the UN family has been born today.  Your generous support is essential for it to grow up to be the champion for gender equality and the empowerment of women we need.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.