State Secretary Barth Eide began by congratulating the former president of Chile on her new appointment as Under Secretary-General for the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Ms. Bachelet responded by thanking Norway for its support. She said that it’s now vital that the many political statements of support she has received are backed up by financial support so that she and the new organisation are able to meet the high expectations that have been set.
During the meeting, the two signed an agreement whereby the Norwegian government commits to providing NOK 3.7 million (about USD 650.000) for Ms. Bachelet’s team before UN Women is formally established on January 1, 2011. The new Under Secretary-General will lead and complete the work to combine four former UN gender entities into one body – UN Women.
The establishment of UN Women is a result of a long process of negotiation, in which Norway has always played a central role. The process began as a recommendation of the High-level panel on UN-reform that was co-chaired by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in 2006.
The meeting was a good opportunity for Norway to make clear its expectations for UN Women. The State Secretary noted need for clear priorities and a desire to cooperate with the gender entity. Ms. Bachelet pointed to some of her own thematic priorities, not least the gender-related Millennium Development Goals; violence against women, both domestic and in conflict situations; economic and social empowerment; and legal rights for women.
See more photos from the State Secretary's visit to the UN on Flickr.