Statement in response to presentation by the UN Women Deputy Executive Director, H.E. Ms. Åsa Regnér

Delivered by Ambassador Anne- Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 20 May 2021.

Madame Chair,

I would like to thank Ms Åsa Regnér for her interesting presentation here today. Norway strongly promoted the foundation of UNWomen back in 2010, as we saw a need for a powerful organization focusing on the promotion of women’s rights and equality. We have been a strong supporter, both financially and politically since then. We are pleased to also support the organizations work in several countries in the OSCE region. All evidence shows that women’s economic and political participation is fundamental to economic growth and peaceful societies. A country’s performance is weakened if the need to empower women and girls is neglected.

For OSCE as an organization, these same principles rule. We need to make sure that our policies and planning give room for meaningful participation for everyone. That is why we keep repeating that gender sensitive approaches to, and gender mainstreaming of, budgets, programmes and activities are vital, if the OSCE should not risk losing important opportunities. The organization will not live up to its potential nor will it be able to properly fulfill its mandate.

The Covid-19 pandemic affects girls, boys, women, and men differently. For example, women are often more vulnerable in economic crisis, and surges in domestic violence under the pandemic have been documented.

It is important that all organizations coordinate their work well, and make sure that complementarity is a guiding principle, especially when working in the same country or region. We therefore urge both the OSCE structures and UNWomen to stay in close contact to ensure that the added values of each organization can come to the forefront, so that the peoples of our region can reap the benefits of them both.

We look forward to the participation of the UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia in the informal Human Dimension Committee meeting about the Generation Equality Forum on 1 June.

Thank you.