UN Women: Annual Report

Statement by Ambassador and Permanent Representative Geir O. Pedersen at UN Women’s Executive Board Annual Session, 27 June 2017.

| Executive Board

Let me thank the Executive Director for an extensive and inspiring report, that demonstrates UN Women’s ability to make a difference for women and girls, and therefore for boys and men – in short for all of us.

When women are free and empowered, when women’s rights are respected and gender equality is a reality, we all grow and are more secure. Which is why boys and men must be champions for gender equality, and why UN Women is such an important partner.

Let me also briefly thank the Executive Director for coming to Norway this May, a truly interesting and rewarding visit.

UN Women is our longtime partner for women, peace, and security. We are proud of what we have achieved together, contributing to women’s influence in peace processes such as in Colombia, the Syria-talks; a heightened awareness of women’s role and the gender perspective in the prevention and countering of violent extremism.

We commend UN Women on use of social media, innovative approaches and high-tech solutions, including the partnership with Innovation Norway.

We welcome the draft strategic plan for UN Women. The main outline corresponds well with Norway’s priorities. We will not achieve the Global Goals of Agenda 2030 if we do not succeed in meeting the needs, respecting the rights and benefiting from the competence and capacity of women. And not only the easy-to-reach women. We welcome UN Women’s diligent follow-up of the principle of "leaving no one behind" and the work to prevent multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. We believe strategic work to ensure women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights is an essential part of this picture.

We align ourselves with the joint statement by Canada on evaluation. UN Women demonstrates innovation and initiates creative partnerships. We encourage UN Women to follow up the recommendations in the evaluation to become even more strategic.

We note UN Women’s thorough list of recommendations from the mid-term review and other key evaluations to be followed-up in the strategic plan. This is a good start. But we ask UN Women to be more specific on the hows: How are you following up on the evaluation of UN Women’s coordinating role? What will the follow-up of the regional architecture evaluation look like in the new Strategic Plan?  

We commend UN Women’s follow up of the QCPR, both in reporting and planning, the commitment to working jointly on country level and delivering as one. We encourage UN Women to continue working with other funds and programmes and align ourselves with the joint statement on the common chapter by Switzerland.

We appreciate the efforts to define UN Women’s comparative and collaborative advantages. Could you be even more specific on what UN Women will do and what should be left to others? This also applies to the flagships; What is UN Women’s role? Who are the partners? What are their roles and contributions? Furthermore, we would like UN Women to report on the flagships contributions to the five impact areas in the annual report.

We commend UN Women on efforts for harmonized results reporting and an improved results framework that better measures UN Women’s contributions to end results. We await the baselines and targets, as well as risk analysis and theories of change for the Strategic Plan.

We recognize that much of UN Women’s operational work is normative work and coordination on country level. We appreciate UN Women’s catalytic role, the ability to act when needed. Yet it is essential that partners are identified that can scale up interventions.

Resources are scarce. In the face of great demand and endless needs, we believe we will get the most out of UN Women’s unique expertise and competence, if the normative and coordinating parts of its mandate are given sufficient priority. 

We note UN Women’s ambitious financial planning, and commend good work on resource mobilization. However, we are conscious that shortfalls in funding have persisted. We urge UN Women to ensure realistic budgeting - and contingency planning that safeguards UN Women’s priorities.

The UN needs to break down the silos to deliver on its threefold mandate. As part of the Secretary General’s executive committee and with its threefold mandate - UN Women is extremely well placed to contribute to that end.

Thank you.