I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Finland, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Iceland and Norway.
I would like to thank the Executive Director for her statement and for the report on the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
UNIFEM is growing. It used to be a small fund. Not any more. Total resources received in 2008 was 121 million USD. Its resource base has expanded to around 80 countries. This is a very positive development. It is a testament to the confidence in UNIFEM’s ability to contribute to the empowerment of women across the world. We should build on these developments to foster further growth, making UNIFEM less dependent on contributions from a few donors.
With growing resources and expanded programmes come increased expectations and demands. We expect UNIFEM to deliver and communicate not just project-level results. We expect UNIFEM to have a broader impact in programme countries. We understand from the annual report that UNIFEM is moving in this direction. We welcome the attention that UNIFEM is giving to the monitoring of its programmes.
We believe, however, that in order to have a wider impact UNIFEM must not spread itself too thin. This means that UNIFEM must continue to concentrate on larger programmes. And it should carefully consider how many countries it has activities in. It is essential that UNIFEM consolidate its activities while expanding in order to ensure sustainability. We encourage UNIFEM to continue to closely coordinate its programmes with other UN-agencies and to contribute to system-wide coherence, in particular the Delivering as One-Approach. It would be useful to see the results from such efforts in UNIFEM’s annual reports.
As a sizeable fund UNIFEM must sharpen its poverty orientation in its resource allocation. UNIFEM’s criteria for resource allocation should be in line with other funds and programmes. Donors’ funds are predominantly for the poor in low income countries. Stronger focus on low income countries, particularly on the least developed countries, can therefore contribute to continued growth.
The annual report shows some impressive results. We are particularly pleased with UNIFEM’s achievements in governance, peace and security. But we are concerned that HIV/AIDS, one of the four focus areas in the Strategic Plan, only receives 2,4 percent of the resources. We would like to request UNIFEM to elaborate on the priority given to HIV/AIDS. We would also welcome some clarification of how UNIFEM sees its partnership with UNAIDS on HIV/AIDS evolve.
The report could also have had a stronger focus on the impact of UNIFEM’s activities. We understand that it is difficult to track the wider effects of UNIFEM’s activities in a large and complex development picture and at its first year of implementation of the Strategic Plan. But we do expect UNIFEM to report on the relevance of its activities for development results in programme countries.
We are hopeful that agreement can be reached this year on wholesale reforms to the UN Gender architecture. If such agreement is reached, this will have a significant impact on the operations of UNIFEM for the coming year. UNIFEM has been contributing to the analysis of the OSAGI-chaired working group elaborating options, but this important contribution is not reflected in the report.
We reiterate our confidence in UNIFEM’s effectiveness as an advocate for the empowerment of women. And we look forward to a continued fruitful co-operation with the Executive Director and her staff.
I thank you, Mr.President.