Expert Panellists in Commission on Status of Women Highlight Ways for Governments to Ensure State Funding of Gender-Equality Goals

1 March 2012

Expert Panellists in Commission on Status of Women Highlight Ways for Governments to Ensure State Funding of Gender-Equality Goals

1 March 2012
Economic and Social Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Commission on the Status of Women

Fifty-sixth Session

8th & 9th Meetings (AM & PM)

Expert Panellists in Commission on Status of Women Highlight Ways for Governments


to Ensure State Funding of Gender-Equality Goals


To ensure Government funding for women’s empowerment and gender equality, budget-makers must call on all ministries to identify their top gender-related priorities and teach staff how to mainstream them into sectoral budgets, State finance officials told the Commission on the Status of Women today, as it held an interactive panel discussion on that subject.

Don’t try to create the perfect system,” saidGerhard Steger, Director-General for Budget and Public Finances of Austria’s Federal Ministry of Finance.  “Keep it lean.”  By calling on each ministry to identify only five priorities, one of which must be related to gender, Austrian policymakers had been successful in transforming the national budget from a flat, complex document into an integrated steering tool for programme-based gender budgeting, he said.

To secure the backing of budget-makers, the Government had first worked to create awareness of gender budgeting among senior officials and other stakeholders, while pushing for high-level political support, he explained.  Such lobbying was vital, he emphasized, noting that ministries often would not set gender objectives unless forced to do so.  Officials also had to be prodded into compiling sex-disaggregated data, which in many cases, was necessary for the formulation of gender-related goals.  “You must have a clear political orientation that gender (budgeting) is relevant and needed,” he said.

Maria Dolores Almeida, Ecuador’s Vice-Minister for Finance, added that erasing inequality between the sexes was crucial for economic expansion.  “We previously thought you needed growth to close the social inequity gap; now we know that you must close the gap first and then growth will follow,” she said.  Under Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution, she noted, all public projects must include a gender perspective.  To implement that goal, the Finance Ministry had first held hundreds of workshops to help staff gain a real understanding of the cross-cutting nature of gender issues and teach them how to develop budgets that addressed women’s needs.

At the same time, the Ministry had begun to ask each Government institution for a sectoral breakdown of how expenditures were allocated in order to indentify spending needs and gaps, she continued.  It had also launched campaigns for the dissemination of public information, using cartoons featuring a dog as the State mascot, to help citizens understand that the Government discussed and adopted budgets just like a family did in order to cover household expenses.  This year, more than 450 public institutions had earmarked $1.2 billion for gender-responsive budgeting in areas such as health, education, administration, and national defence, she said, noting that the figure was up from $23 million in 2010.

Ing Kantha Phavi, Cambodia’s Minister for Women’s Affairs and Chairwoman of the National Council for Women, said the Government had established technical working groups and action groups to provide sector-specific gender mainstreaming plans and monitoring.  This year, appropriate tools and expertise would be developed for gender-responsive budgeting, and a pilot programme would be rolled out with help from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners.

During its afternoon panel discussion on “progress in financing for gender equality from the perspective of international organizations and multilateral development partners”, representatives of United Nations agencies and global organizations shed light on their respective steps to encourage gender-responsive budgeting.  For example, Patti O’Neill, Deputy Head of the Development Cooperation Directorate in the Policy Division of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said that the institution’s “gender equality marker” compiled and tracked statistical data on the gender-related aid activities of all members of its Development Assistance Committee.  Using that marker as a model, United Nations agencies were developing ways to collect and harmonize their own gender-equality data, she said.  As a result, official development assistance (ODA) and individual donor funding had increased, she noted, stressing that “when you track results and resources, money follows”.

Mohamed Chafiki, Director of Studies and Financial Forecasts in Morocco’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, also gave a presentation during the morning panel, which was moderated by Commission Vice-Chair Carlos Garcia ( El Salvador).

Taking part in the morning panel’s discussion were representatives of Israel, Jordan, Paraguay, Portugal, Panama, United States, China, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Indonesia, Canada, Italy, Nigeria, El Salvador, Kenya, Congo and Mexico.

Representatives of several civil society organizations also spoke.

The afternoon panel, which was moderated by Commission Vice-Chair Irina Velichko (Belarus), also featured presentations by Lydia Alpizar, ExecutiveDirector of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development; Jeni Klugman, Director for Gender and Development at the World Bank; Saraswathi Menon, Director of the Policy Division at UN Women; and Liane Schalatek, Associate Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in North America.

Participating in the afternoon panel’s discussion were representatives of Iceland (on behalf of the Nordic countries), South Africa, Switzerland, Morocco, Canada, Pakistan, Uganda, Israel, Philippines, Kenya and Australia.

A representative of the European Union also spoke, as did representatives of several civil society organizations.

The Commission will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 2 March, to continue its general discussion.


The Commission on the Status of Women continued its fifty-sixth session this morning, holding an interactive panel discussion on “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women, with focus on national experiences”.  In the afternoon, it was expected to hold another panel discussion, on “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women, with focus on progress in financing in gender equality from the perspective of international organizational and multilateral development partners”.

Panel Discussion 1

Moderated by Carlos Garcia (El Salvador), Commission Vice-Chair, the panel featured five experts:  Mohamed Chafiki, Director of Studies and Financial Forecasts, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Morocco; Maria Dolores Almeida, Vice-Minister for Finance, Ecuador; Ing Kantha Phavi, Minister for Women’s Affairs and Chairwoman, Cambodian National Council for Women; and Gerhard Steger, Director-General for Budget and Public Finances, Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance.

Mr. CHAFIKI said the global financial crisis had resulted in some steps backwards in international financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment.  “[Official development assistance] is still inferior to the levels of international consensus,” he noted, urging the international community to examine the development models currently being used around the globe.  The world was moving towards a type of official development assistance (ODA) that was more inclusive and sensitive towards equality, he said, adding that it would place a stronger emphasis on jobs.  Going forward, development models needed a “point of departure” that started with human rights, he added.

Despite the crisis, there had been some progress at both the international and national levels in taking the gender dimension of financing programmes into account, he said.  In that regard, he cited the case of Belgium, which had been successful in mainstreaming a gender approach into the national budget.  He said that in his own country’s case, Morocco had made important progress since 1998, when the democratic transition had begun.  The Government had created an inter-ministerial commission on equality in public service and a plan of action was in place.  The Constitution recognized equality, as well as the supremacy of international conventions over national laws, he said.  That would lead to major changes, he added.

The experience of gender budgeting was also changing, he said, recalling that over the past year, public policy had specifically taken human rights into account.  Each Government ministry examined its own budget vis-à-vis human rights and made its own decisions.  In that respect, there was “a real paradigm shift”, he said.  Progress had also been made in other areas, including school enrolment for girls and the percentage of women participating in politics.  One remaining major challenge, however, was the negative impact of the global financial crisis on employment and Morocco’s export sector.  Issuing one overarching recommendation for his country and the world, he said it was critically important to undertake gender-sensitive budgeting as a response to the global crisis, thereby focusing on human dignity for all.

Ms. ALMEIDA focused on Ecuador’s gender-sensitive budget tracking methodology, recalling that the Ministry of Finance, working in partnership with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), had begun to develop gender-responsive budgeting in 2005.  In 2008, the Government had adopted a new Constitution which mandated the integration of a gender-perspective into all public projects and social security benefits for everyone carrying out non-remunerated work.  The Government had begun to examine how various public agencies could be held accountable financially for overcoming gender gaps, she said, adding that the Ministry of Finance had conducted awareness-raising campaigns to equip staff with the skills to mainstream a gender perspective into sectoral budgets.  It had begun to record a breakdown of each institution’s expenditures on such areas as health and education in order to identify spending needs and gaps.  Moreover, it had set up a fiscal equity unit to institute results- and gender-based budgeting.

She went on to say that the Ministry had created a sense of awareness among staff that budgetary decisions were not merely a matter of crunching numbers and apportioning costs.  They had an impact on real people, she stressed, noting that hundreds of workshops had been held to help staff gain a real understanding of gender issues and to teach them how to develop gender-sensitive budgeting.  It did not mean creating a separate budget for women’s concerns, she cautioned.  Rather, it meant ensuring that public policies addressed women’s needs.  During that process, challenges surfaced and institutions ran into difficulty in assigning programmes to specific categories.  For example, they did not know whether free maternal health-care education fell under the gender category or under health or education.  To address that, the Ministry had developed a gender-orientation document, a cross-cutting tool which, in this case, showed that the free education programme in fact fell under all three categories.

At present, 457 public institutions were earmarking $1.2 billion for gender-responsive budgeting in areas such as fishing, administration, social development, finance, health, education and national defence, she said, noting that the figure was up from $23 million in 2010.  To help the public understand gender-responsive budgeting, the Ministry had created information-dissemination campaigns, using cartoons featuring a dog as the State mascot, to help people understand that the Government discussed and adopted budgets just like a family did to cover household expenses.  A paradigmatic shift in budgeting was needed to achieve gender equity and women’s empowerment, she emphasized.  “We previously thought you needed growth to close the social inequity gap; now we know that you must close the gap first and then growth will follow.”  The key was to focus first on eliminating the socio-economic gaps between men and women, indigenous people and the elderly, and then on fostering economic growth.  “That is not contradictory,” she said, adding that civil society’s input was needed to monitor the implementation of public policies and international cooperation to help close social equality gaps.

Ms. ING said Cambodia had two major national gender machineries — the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Cambodian National Council for Women.  The latter aimed to monitor implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and to ensure its enforcement.  However, Cambodia still needed to mainstream gender into other Government sectors, she said, adding that it had set up a technical working group on gender to that end.  Also proving successful was another type of mechanism, the “gender mainstreaming action group”, which provided sector-specific gender mainstreaming plans and monitoring.  “We need to institutionalize the process,” she stressed.

She went on to say that appropriate tools and expertise would be developed for gender-responsive budgeting, and a pilot programme would be rolled out in 2012, with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners.  As for the road ahead, she said that effective partnering and shared goals were central to realizing the objectives of development effectiveness and gender equality.  In that respect, “programme-based approaches” were a promising method for enabling sectoral or thematic programmes to become better organized, in particular by aligning actors and processes around common goals and priorities.

Mr. STEGER, also addressing the programme-based model, opened his presentation by asking one key question ignored by most traditional national budgeting systems:  “What will be the results for the citizens?”  In an effort to raise the profile of gender budgeting, Austria had turned to “performance budgeting”, or “linking resources to results”, he said.  Moreover, it had made gender a core component of that scheme, thereby using the national budget as leverage to help promote gender equality.  “If you want to make an issue really important, link it to the budget,” he emphasized.

In launching that process, the Government had first worked to create awareness of gender budgeting among senior officials and other stakeholders, he continued, noting that civil society groups and the media had pushed the issue widely.  Austria had learned to focus only on the most important issues in order to reduce complexity and bureaucracy.  “Don’t try to create the perfect system,” he cautioned, pointing out that Austria’s simplified system called on each Government ministry to identify only five main objectives, at least one of which must be related to gender.  “Keep it lean,” he stressed, noting that identifying priorities transformed a national budget from a flat and complex document into an integrated steering tool.

He added that several other factors were important for the success of a programme-based gender budgeting plan.  First, every ministry must contribute.  Second, adequate training must be provided for staff.  Third and finally, political support must be present at the highest levels of government.  In Austria, bodies on the sub-ministerial level were also asked to provide specific outputs, which were directly linked to the objectives at the ministerial level.  Providing a practical example, he said Austria’s Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture had identified, as one of its five priorities, the reduction of gender, ethnic and socio-economic inequalities, and that related outputs had been identified for that specific goal.

During the ensuing discussion, several delegates described their respective Governments’ steps to create gender-responsive budgeting as a way to empower women.  Some asked what policies Governments could implement to ensure that budgets better addressed rural women’s needs.  Others directed their questions specifically to Mr. Steger, asking him to elaborate on the political aspects of creating gender-responsive budgets, and whether Governments lacking sex-disaggregated data could in fact create such budgets.

Mr. STEGER said that in some cases, gender-related problems were transparent and Governments did not need sex-disaggregated data to address them.  But in others, statistics were needed to formulate responses.  “You must force ministries to set gender objectives,” he emphasized.  “If they aren’t asked to do it, they won’t get the data.  You must have a clear political orientation that gender is relevant and needed.”  Governments could also secure financial support for gender-responsive programmes by folding them into larger budgetary packages, he said.  Most importantly, it was vital to secure the backing of decision makers, whose motives for instituting gender-responsive budgeting varied from country to country.  Regarding the use of budgets to address the needs of rural women, he said one practical example would be to finance all-day childcare facilities in rural areas.  Such centres existed in Austria, but they closed at midday, he added.

Ms. ING said it was difficult to obtain high-level political support for gender-responsive budgeting without sex-disaggregated data, recalling that her office had asked the Ministry of Planning and the National Statistics Institute to provide such data.

Ms. ALMEIDA said finance ministries should focus on gender-related matters, and set gender-responsive budgetary guidelines for other Government ministries.  They should request that the latter begin compiling gender-specific information, and conduct regular follow-up to ensure compliance.

The representative of Israel asked which measures were needed to ensure consistency between macroeconomic policies and national gender-equality policies.  While agreeing with Mr. Steger that ministries must reduce overlap, she said that such a point of view was “oversimplified”.  Did he think the Austrian model could really be adopted by other countries?  How could it be guaranteed that national budgeting models really took the needs of rural women and girls into account?

The representative of Jordan said gender budgeting was a novel idea for many developing countries, and asked how the concept could be effectively marketed throughout the world.  Many countries lacked the necessary experience or the proper institutional frameworks to implement it.  He also asked the panellists how ODA could be used as a tool to introduce gender-based budgeting to countries around the world.

The representative of Paraguay said that many development plans still lacked a gender perspective, and sufficient expertise in that field was lacking.  Gender-responsive indicators and benchmarks were needed, as were more gender-disaggregated data.  She asked the panellists which methodology and processes should be used to ensure that women were included in decision-making, especially on the allocation of budgets.  How could their individual power be increased?

The representative of Portugal said her country was at a major crossroads, particularly in the social and financial areas.  Outlining some of her country’s experiences in promoting plans for gender equality in that difficult context, she stressed that gender-mainstreaming should not be considered a burden during the economic and financial crisis.  “It is just a question of finding the way forward,” she said.

The representative of Panama asked about the best way to monitor gender-responsive budgets so as to ensure that they really benefitted women, those in rural areas in particular.  She asked Mr. Chafiki how public policies could do more to respect and uphold women’s empowerment, and, addressing Mr. Steger, how to guarantee that identifying key ministry objectives would really lead to empowerment.

The representative of the United States asked Ms. Almeida what her top recommendation to international agencies would be as they supported other nations on gender-sensitive budgeting.

Mr. CHAFIKI responded by saying one of the key lessons was that “we are all still learning”, and that “we need to start at the beginning”.  A new world was being born, he said, adding that it was, therefore, very important to base all activities on human rights.  He also stressed that, for the first time, innovative experiences were not coming only from the North, but also from the global South.

Ms. ALMEIDA said there was a need for a “paradigm shift” entailing a focus on closing the gender gap in order to achieve growth rather than the other way around.  All priorities should be linked to planning, which was crucial to creating strong budgets, she said, adding that multi-year financial planning was needed to avoid widening existing social divides or negatively impacting the world’s most vulnerable people.  Social protection floors were critical and required political will at the highest levels.

Ms. ING agreed that political commitment was a prerequisite for successful gender-responsive budgeting.  All ministries should analyse the gender dimension of their respective sectors and put gender-responsive budget plans in place.  In response to a question about ODA, she said it was a tool for both introducing and supporting gender-based budgeting.

Mr. STEGER said the overarching question was really about the role of a budget.  The answer should not be merely about “who gets what”.  Instead, the right question to ask was, “what shall be delivered for public money?”  An emphasis on delivery and results opened the door for gender equality, he said.

Also taking part in the discussion were representatives of China, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Indonesia, Canada, Italy, Nigeria, El Salvador, Kenya, Congo and Mexico.

Representatives of several civil society organizations also spoke.

Panel Discussion 2

Moderating the afternoon panel discussion, on “progress in financing for gender equality from the perspective of international organizations and multilateral development partners”, was Irina Velichko ( Belarus), Commission Vice-Chair.  It featured presentations by Lydia Alpizar, Executive Director, Association for Women’s Rights in Development; Jeni Klugman, Director, Gender and Development, World Bank; Patti O’Neill, Deputy Head, Development Cooperation Directorate Policy Division, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Saraswathi Menon, Director, Policy Division, UN Women; and Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Böll Foundation, North America.

Ms. ALPIZAR said there was a more systemic crisis going on than the current financial one, pointing to the food and energy crises, and to increased human rights violations.  In fact, mainstream actors were paying more attention to women and girls, but it came at a moment when fewer resources were available for investment.  Meanwhile, there was a trend towards more conservative governance in the donor countries of the North, in addition to increased fundamentalism and widespread unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.  It was against that unique backdrop that the concept of gender equality had arisen as a cornerstone of development, she said.

Citing a recent study on women’s groups, she said most organizations worked with very small budgets, suffered from insecure funding sources, and reported having lost donors as a result of the global financial crisis.  Across the board, the situation was one of very limited financial stability; very few women’s groups had any assets — land, offices or collateral — for implementing projects.  About 30 per cent of the groups studied lacked the capacity to save, she said, describing the overall situation as extremely “precarious”.  Nonetheless, such were the very organizations that continued to advance the rights of women around the world, she noted.

She recommended that donors from both the global North and South fulfil their development commitments, especially with regard to gender equality.  It was time to set ambitious targets specifying the amounts of funding going to such programmes, she said, suggesting a target of at least 20 per cent of all ODA by 2015.  Tracking resources, understanding how they were used, and enhancing accountability were also important, she said, urging multilateral donors to improve the amount and quality of aid with which they supported the broad diversity of women’s organizations.  She concluded by saying it was “appalling” that UN Women’s funding target for its first year, $500 million, had not been reached.  Member States should support UN Women, which, in turn, should support women’s groups on the ground.

Ms. KLUGMAN said it was “resoundingly clear” that growth would not be enough to address inequalities between men and women around the world.  Proactive public policies were required.  Gender was a special theme for the sixteenth replenishment of the International Development Association, the World Bank’s $50 billion fund for the world’s poorest people, she said.  Additionally, the Bank had launched its first-ever World Development Report 2012:  Gender Equality and Development, which focused on country-level actions, as well as partnerships.  Both the report and its regional counterparts had been widely disseminated, she noted.

Turning to financing itself, she said overall World Bank lending had amounted to $57 billion in 2011, of which $16 billion had gone to the world’s poorest countries.  It was estimated that over the past five years, some $65 billion had gone to programmes that were “adequately gender informed”, or that had made a “serious attempt” to address the gender dimension of their projects.  Examples of the widely varying approaches to gender informed projects ranging from a $2 million project to promote girls’ clubs in South Sudan to a $50 million entrepreneurship project in Ethiopia to a $100 million roads and airport infrastructure project in Bolivia, she said.

Ms. O’NEILL said that, upon joining the OECD Development Assistance Committee, new member States were required to provide statistical data on their aid activities.  Under that system, common reporting rules and standards ensured data homogeneity and comparability for all member countries and European Union institutions.  Such collection activities targeting gender equality had been collected since 1991, and today all members used the so-called “marker” system.  The data generated was descriptive, providing donors with a “snapshot” of the proportion of assistance focused on gender equality, as well as priority sectors for gender-equality-focused aid.

However, the gender equality marker’s single most important impact was the increase in ODA resulting from tracking the aid, she said, adding that when using the system, individual donor funding also tended to trend upwards.  A number of complementary international agreements on core development challenges had been launched, including the Busan Joint Action Plan on Gender Equality and Development, designed to help implement the Busan partnership at the country level.  Two clear messages had arisen from implementation of such measures:  first, that donors and Governments needed to ensure that resources for gender equality matched their policy objectives and commitments; and second, that “when you track results and resources, money follows”.

Ms. MENON said there were significant gaps in the gender dimension of the Millennium Development Goals, and measures to bridge them called for concerted efforts by the international community.  She shared progress made within the United Nations system in the area of gender development markers.  Applying gender markers to institutional programming and financing instruments was one of the good practices adopted by development agencies, national Governments and, more recently, the United Nations system, she said.  Similarly, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had rolled out a version of the OECD marker model in 2009, she said, adding that other agencies and funds — including the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Peacebuilding Fund, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) — were following suit.

Such markers provided useful resources for budget-making and much-needed evidence of gaps for gender-equality advocates, she continued.  Following the United Nations Policy Committee’s 2011 decision that at least 15 per cent of peacebuilding funds should be used to address women’s specific needs or to empower women, she said, seven United Nations entities had prepared case studies on the financing of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Burundi and Nepal.  In the humanitarian assistance field, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee had created its gender marker in 2009-2010, for application in global funding appeal mechanisms for humanitarian action, including the Consolidated Appeal Process, a system of pooled funding for humanitarian action and responses to natural disasters.  Those efforts had been more than a “monitoring tool”, she stressed.  Rather, they had led to enhanced programming across sectors in responding to the different realities of women and girls.  She cautioned, however, that the gender marker and tracking process was not without challenges; it faced questions of intuitional commitment and capacity, among others.

Ms. SCHALATEK said that, since women were disproportionately affected by climate due to gender-based discrimination and norms, responses to climate change could not afford to be “gender-blind”.  The global experience of development finance showed that expenditures that took gender equality into account were more effective and efficient.  Climate financing could not occur in a vacuum, she said, stressing that it must ensure women’s rights.  Noting that several new bilateral and multilateral instruments and funds on climate change had been established, she said, however, that they lacked a systematic consideration of gender, adding that in most instances, gender was merely an afterthought.

The recently created Global Green Climate Fund, which contained five key references to gender, was the first climate change-financing instrument to integrate gender considerations from the outset, she continued.  It had acknowledged the need for a gender-sensitive approach and recognized women as a crucial group for input and participation in the Fund’s strategies and activities.  Other global funds were instructive in their use of gender equality as a guiding principle and cross-cutting issue, she said, pointing out that they set gender-responsive funding guidelines and criteria for each thematic funding window or sub-fund.

At present, three quarters of climate finance came from the private sector, which traditionally focused on profits and did not integrate intangible norms such as gender into its strategies and planning, she said.  Public sector finance could play a key role in addressing the social and gender benefits of climate change adaptation and mitigation.  Bilateral and multilateral agencies must make greater efforts — such as hiring more gender experts and mainstreaming gender sufficiently into energy, transportation, infrastructure, agriculture and macroeconomics — to integrate a gender perspective.  In addition, the accountability gap in climate financing must be closed by conducting gender audits of climate-relevant spending, she said.  At present, there was no common reporting format or mandatory reporting guidelines on spending to show improvements or lack thereof over time, she said.

During the discussion that followed, delegates asked Ms. Menon to elaborate on UN Women’s pilot action programmes and its plans to secure more funding.  They also requested greater collaboration with UN Women and the OECD.  Some delegates asked Ms. Klugman to elaborate on how the World Bank involved women when choosing programmes, and whether financing changes were needed to ensure they were more deeply involved from the outset.  They asked the panellists to discuss international aid delivered in partnership with national Governments, and ways to overcome barriers to rural women’s participation in such programmes.  They also inquired about specific examples of gender-budgeting in regional and international organizations, and their specific gender-budgeting tracking methods.

Ms. SCHALATEK responded to a question about the Green Climate Fund by stating that it should be operational by 2013, and that it was expected to improve the overall climate-financing situation, in particular funding for underrepresented groups such as small island developing States.  Those States would have dedicated seats on the Fund’s board, she added.  “Sub-funds” could be established to reduce the administrative burden while helping groups to access smaller amounts of funding.  She concluded by saying that a common reporting format was needed for climate financing.

Ms. MENON, responding to a question raised by several delegates, said that while tracking money was important, it did not “tell us everything”.  In that respect, UN Women was working towards examining fiscal space and macroeconomic issues, the larger context in which policies were being determined.  “We need to keep our [tracking] systems very simple” so they could be integrated into national systems, she stressed in response to another question.  Indeed, unless international players were linked to national actors, they had no value.  Progress should be assessed nationally and not in isolation, she stressed, adding that responses to the global financial crisis should be tracked in order to determine whether the responses incorporated a gender focus.

Asked specifically about the “Delivering as One” programme — which the General Assembly was waiting to evaluate — she said early pilot country-led evaluations showed that, when the United Nations lined up behind national priorities, cross-cutting issues such as gender were better addressed.

Ms. ALPIZAR said it was clear that innovative sources of financing were both available and necessary.  UN Women should reach out to the private sector for partnerships as an opportunity to leverage rights within a company.  “We need some innovation,” she emphasized, adding that partner companies must be held accountable for their behaviour.  Appropriate taxation models were also needed, she said, expressing her support for the proposed international financial transaction tax.

Ms. KLUGMAN responded to several questions about the World Bank by saying that its work was based on the financing demands of Governments.  She highlighted a new initiative in which the Bank worked with companies that employed many women, spotlighting good practices and aiming to build a body of knowledge around better work practices.  Finally, she addressed the many comments about new efforts to track financing and results, saying that those initiatives would make an enormous difference over time.  “We can expect better results” in the future, she added.

Ms. O’NEILL, responding to a question about the challenges of applying markers to general budget support, agreed that it was a challenge, but noted that general support typically represented only a small amount of aid; OECD was considering undertaking country-specific studies in countries that received large amounts of direct general budget support, she said.

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