I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of Belgium and Norway.
First, let me congratulate UN Women with its new leader and again extend our warm welcome to Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. You can count on our continued support and cooperation. We are particularly pleased to note the Executive Director’s renewed emphasis on women’s economic empowerment. Women’s contributions to the economic development of my own country have been vast and decisive. We look forward to walk far with you.
The Strategic plan for the next three years takes UN Women from the starting up phase to a consolidation phase. The Plan provides a solid mandate for developing further its priority areas, for continuing its internal organizational development and UN coordination, as well as implementing the QCPR recommendations.
This Plan is the result of a long and inclusive consultation process with UN Women Member States. We commend the willingness demonstrated by UN Women to engage in real dialogue with the Executive Board and to address many of our concerns in the final version. Our common objective is to provide UN Women with a living document which will provide guidelines to all levels of the organization. UN Women is a young organization, but it has inherited some old structures. We hope that UN Women will continue its capacity building at regional and national level, to make sure that every country office knows the strategic priorities of the organization and what it should, and should not - be spending its resources on.
Building partnerships is economically sound; it is an efficient use of scarce resources. Building partnerships is also politically sound. Close cooperation with civil society and local institutions is necessary in order to support women´s empowerment at the country and local level. But local NGOs vary in their institutional capacity. And donors have different agendas. The regional offices have an important oversight function, helping country offices to develop the right strategic priorities. Our friendly advice to the local level is this: don't run after the money. Stay on message.
We welcome - and would like to see more of - explicit reports to the Executive Board on the status of coordination with other agencies, particularly where mandates are overlapping.
As the new Executive Director has rightly pointed out, UN Women does not “own” the issue of equality and women´s empowerment. In fact, it will be a measure of UN Women’s success if ownership is widely spread and deeply embedded - within every UN agency, and in the laws and practices of member countries. What UN Women does own, is a mandate to lead the way.
One urgent issue - where we need your leadership - is in the integration of a gender perspective in all UN humanitarian efforts.
During the Commission on the Status of Women this spring UN Women successfully demonstrated its normative leadership. We are now looking forward to the beginning of the 68th General Assembly. Many resolutions will be negotiated in the months ahead which have a direct or indirect bearing on the lives of girls and women across the world. One of these is the resolution regarding the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. We look forward to having the normative support of UN Women when these issues are being debated, indeed we need the full support of all Executive Board members - to ensure that the gains which have been made over years in the area of gender equality and empowerment for women are not overturned.