“The world cannot afford to sideline half the population. For a long time Norway has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure the participation of women in all arenas. This decision is a concrete response to those efforts by the High-Level Panel co-chaired by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, and shows that our voice is heard at the UN,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
The new body will be an amalgamation of four existing units and will be headed by an under-secretary-general. The aim is for the new body to be up and running as early as next spring.
The decision to set up a new single entity for women and gender equality was taken towards the end of the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly, which was concluded on 14 September. With this decision the international community has followed up on a key proposal put forward by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in his position as Co-Chair of the High-Level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence. The High-Level Panel presented its report on measures to strengthen UN efforts in the world’s poorest countries in November 2006.
“Women continue to be last in line in a great many countries in the world. This is unacceptable and must be changed. The new women and gender equality agency has a lot of work ahead. We will continue our efforts to ensure the participation of women in important areas such as conflict resolution and peace-building,” added Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.