Madam Chair, ladies and gentlemen
Promoting human rights means promoting women’s rights and gender equality.
It concerns us all; as persons, as nations. The challenge is global. Thus, the United Nations has a strong mandate to drive the case for gender equality and assist Governments in achieving this goal.
But the UN has neither the necessary funding nor the appropriate structures to play an effective role in this regard. The existing gender architecture is weak and fragmented. It cannot respond appropriately to the needs of the member states.
This is why creating a new and strong gender entity in the UN is so important.
We have waited long enough. It is time to act. We therefore trust that you, Madam President, will move the process forward. Norway is ready to support that process.
The new entity should integrate and strengthen both operational and normative functions filled today by UNIFEM, OSAGI and DAW
It is vital that the new entity has a voice of its own, and a sufficiently high and independent status to participate in key decision making in the United Nations system. Therefore, its Executive Director must have the rank of Under Secretary General. The recruitment must take place through a merit-based, open and transparent global process.
To have a real impact, the gender entity needs sufficient, stable and predictable funding – both from the regular United Nations budget and from voluntary contributions.
I propose a budget floor target of a minimum of US $200 million.
Norway stands ready to put resources into this new gender entity. In 2008 we aim to reach 1 per cent of GNI for development aid. We are the 5th largest contributor to the UN system’s development activities.
In 2007, we increased our contribution to UNIFEM by 150 per cent. We will support the new gender entity. But funding the gender entity is not enough. Overall allocations for gender equality throughout the UN system must be substantially increased.
Increased funding is needed for targeted activities to women and gender equality, and to effectively resource gender mainstreaming in all UN activities. All agencies must be able to document how they spend money to the benefit of women and gender equality on the ground.
The UN is a major development co-operation partner for Norway. We expect the UN to deliver for women on the ground. Non-delivery will have consequences for our choice of partners and how we channel our aid.
The world needs commitment, a strong voice, the means to ensure half of the world’s population their right to equality and empowerment, and concrete results.
For this we turn to the United Nations and count on the leadership of the Secretary General as well as the President of the General Assembly.