Cross-regional statement at the Executive Board of UN Women 1st Regular Session 15-16 February 2021

Cross-regional statement at the Executive Board of UN Women 1st Regular Session 15-16 February 2021

Read the cross-regional statement delivered at the UN Women Executive Board in support of new Strategic Plan on 15 February 2021 by H.E. Jukka Salovaara, Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN.

Madam Executive Director, Mr President,

Thank you Mr. President. I deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Finland, as well as Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

I would like to begin by thanking UN Women for the outline document of the Strategic Plan and for the consultative and inclusive approach taken in its development. I would also like to thank UN Women for its important work the past year in placing gender equality at the centre of the UN’s Covid-19 response. This has been and will continue to be of utmost importance as the crisis is threatening to roll back the gains made over the past decade. We must all commit to building back better, greener and more gender equal, together with all women and girls, men and boys, in all their diversity.  

In this context, the development of an ambitious, results-oriented and forward-looking Strategic Plan that is grounded in a human rights-based approach is more important now than ever. The Strategic Plan stretches half way through the decade of action and will be fundamental in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the promise of leaving no one behind.

We appreciate UN Women’s commitment to the UN development system reform. We expect that UN Women actively implements the reform and the new QCPR resolution, and incorporates the UNDS reform process in its new strategic plan. It is important to proceed with the reform at all levels (country, regional and global) also during the pandemic.

UN-Women’s added value lies in your unique triple mandate, which includes your role to coordinate across the UN-system to deliver jointly on gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls – at all levels (global, regional and country-level). We urge the UN to ensure UN Women’s presence and expertise around its decision making tables. This also requires that UN Women’s capacity and resources at country-level are adequate and include experienced and competent staff as well as efficient leadership. UN Women further needs to do more joint programs with UN partners and give up small-scale individual projects and programs. We as donors must also take responsibility through focusing our support to large-scale and joint programs.

We believe UN Women needs to ensure that your new strategic plan is not only owned by UN-Women but also supported by the whole UN system and beyond. Moreover, the Strategic Plans across the UN agencies must align to guide joint, strategic efforts. We realize that we as Member States also need to focus our efforts to promote your added value and mandate - in the boards of other UN agencies and multilaterals and at regional and country-level. We welcome your guidance on how to best do this.  

We expect that the well-balanced themes, lessons learned and achievements of the current strategic plan will also be incorporated in the new strategic plan. We fully support UN Women´s normative mandate, your role as a thought leader and change-maker grounded in the robust evidence and data that you produce. We applaud your work to eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls and to promote all women’s and girls’ social, political and economic empowerment and participation.

Furthermore, we fully support UN Women’s work related to the 1325 resolution, including your efforts to address the root causes of gender equality in order to drive transformative change. UN Women should apply an approach that fully addresses discriminatory structures and social norms, reflects the integrated nature and interlinkages between gender equality, SRHR and human rights. UN Women should apply an approach that engages men and boys. Through its global grassroots level networks, UN Women can represent marginalized voices and those of women who are often not heard, to ensure and promote inclusion and diversity.

We believe the next Strategic plan must also mainstream climate and environment-responsive approaches, and UN Women as an organization should make every effort to reduce its own environmental and carbon footprint. Digitalization is changing societies considerably, and to make most of its opportunities while mitigating its risk for gender equality, technology and innovation should also be mainstreamed throughout the Strategic plan.  In addition, we look forward to learning more about how the work around the generation Equality Forum and the actions of the six Action Coalitions will feed into the new Strategic Plan.

We support your initial direction and ideas and stand ready to work together with you to come up with an even more impactful Strategic Plan for the next 4 years to come.  And finally, in line with the funding compact we can never stress enough the fact that UN Women needs more core resources to deliver on its mandate in full where it is needed the most.

Thank you.