Deputy Permanent Representative May-Elin Stener giving Norway's statement at UN Women's first regular session of the Executive Board. Photo: NorwayUN/Ragnhild H. Simenstad.
In Norway, we have experienced the benefits of gender equality – for men as well as for women, for the society at large as well as for individuals. When everyone shares responsibilities as well as opportunities, it makes us more creative, more capable, more qualified and more prosperous.
Women and men alike must influence political decisions and contribute to economic productivity, take part in childcare and all the unpaid work that women have had to juggle in the past.
We need the UN to deliver on women’s rights and gender equality. We welcome the positive initiatives from the new Secretary General in this regard, not least the inclusion of UN Women in his new executive group. This is highlighting the importance of gender in all of UN’s work, and committing to gender parity in leading UN positions.
But equally important is it for all of us to work together, across boarders, to promote the rights of women and girls. In spite of demonstrated benefits of gender equality, and in spite of the SDG goal to eliminate discrimination against women in only 13 years from now, we note worrisome developments: Limitations on women’s rights are not only ignored and condoned, but even encouraged in some places. Extremists tend to target women’s rights as part of their strategy. The normative framework must be safeguarded and strengthened, and followed-up on country level. For that, we need a strong and effective UN Women.
We welcome the Executive Director’s powerful leadership and were pleased to hear your thorough statement this morning. We also welcome the United Arab Emirates as new president of UN Women.
Resources are scarce. In the face of great demand and endless needs, Norway believes that we will get the most out of UN Women’s unique expertise and competence, if UN Women ensures that the normative and coordinating parts of its mandate are given the highest priority, rather than the expansion of operational activities.
We welcome the evaluation presented in today’s meeting. The follow-up of this evaluation must be guided by the commitments in the new QCPR, on constructive rationalization and efficient division of labour.
We follow the flagships with great interest. Reporting on the flagships should be included in the annual report for 2016. We would like to hear how UN Women work with national authorities and with other funds and programmes to ensure ownership and commitment to the flagships. How are the flagships reflected in other agencies’ strategic plans and in the UN country plans (UNDAFs)?
We greatly appreciate the good work of UN Women on the preparation for a new strategic plan. UN Women seems to be working diligently to follow up recommendations from evaluations, the midterm review and the decisions of the board. We highlight the need for UN Women to work with other funds and programmes, on results management and harmonized indicators as well as on the overall plans.
We have raised our concern that the second regular session will be held only two months after the annual meeting, not least due to the fact that all documents must be made available four weeks ahead of board meetings to ensure proper assessment and preparation. This is always important, but never more so than in August, when we will be committing to a new strategic plan and integrated budget.
UN Women’s efforts are key to sustainable development and lasting peace. Because women’s rights and gender equality are. You know that, and you follow up accordingly. Thank you for your good work.