Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme
and the United Nations Population Fund
Second Regular Session
September 23-27, 2002, New York
Item 6 of the provisional agenda
Statement on behalf of the UNIFEM Consultative Committee
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to address the Board in Jamaica's capacity as Chair of the Consultative Committee of UNIFEM. The Board will have noted UNIFEM's progress in the implementation of its Strategy and Business Plan 2000-2003 as outlined in the presentation of the Executive Director. The Report highlights the significant contribution UNIFEM programming is making to the United Nations' coordinated response to the opportunities and challenges of today's world.
On behalf of the members of the Consultative Committee, I would like to commend UNIFEM's Executive Director, Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, for her able leadership, which has ensured that the organization has been able to respond in a timely and resourceful manner to these challenges and opportunities, both within the UN system and in the global development environment.
During the biennium 2000-2002, UNIFEM has continued to improve its record in piloting innovative activities to empower women and promote gender equality in its three thematic areas: namely economic security and rights; governance and peace-building; and human rights and the elimination of violence against women.
There are some outstanding examples of the organization's achievements: UNIFEM's work on strengthening women's economic security and rights has secured new commitments from governments in all regions to undertake gender budget analyses. UNIFEM has also supported new and strengthened institutions, laws and policies to facilitate women's equal ownership and access to economic resources and continues to promote women's increased access to information and communications technology to facilitate business development.
UNIFEM's innovative work in peace building and reconstruction, particularly in East Timor, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan, has created replicable models to increase women's leadership role in peace and reconstruction processes and has resulted in strengthened partnerships with UN Organisations such as UNAIDS and UNFPA to engender protection and assistance efforts.
In the area of human rights, UNIFEM has supported the implementation of CEDAW at the country level and has piloted work on the elimination of violence against women and the gender dimensions of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
During the biennium 2000-2002, the organization has also demonstrated that it can respond quickly to new challenges and opportunities - particularly in crisis and post-conflict situations. UNIFEM's key role in supporting gender mainstreaming in the UN system's response to the crisis in Afghanistan and its support to the drafting of the Afghan Women's Leadership Agenda provide strong evidence of the organization's ability to capitalize on strategic openings for the promotion of women's leadership role. These capacities need to be strengthened to enable UNIFEM to make women and gender perspectives central to peace and reconstruction processes.
UNIFEM Consultative Committee - whose members are appointed by the General Assembly and represent the five geographic regions - provides guidance in the development of programmes and annually monitors progress in the implementation of the organization's Strategy and Business Plan. On behalf of the Consultative Committee, I am pleased to share with the members of the Board the principal recommendations endorsed at the 42nd Session of the Consultative Committee:
First, the members of the Committee encouraged UNIFEM and UNDP to strengthen their collaboration on achieving progress towards Millennium Development Goal No. 3 on women's empowerment and gender equality. The CC encouraged UNDP - as the official scorekeeper for the MDGs to make greater use of UNIFEM's expertise in monitoring and tracking progress to ensure that the gender dimensions of all MDGs are adequately addressed.
Second, the Committee encouraged UNIFEM to continue to streamline and strengthen the provision of gender expertise to the UN system. Building on the recently completed UNIFEM Gender Adviser Assessment (and other related reviews), we called upon UNIFEM to undertake a more comprehensive assessment to map the role of Gender Advisers and other mechanisms and identify ways in which to maximize access of UN Country Teams to high-quality gender expertise.
Third, the Committee noted the growing gap between the increasing number of grant requests submitted to the Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women and the Trust Fund's relatively constant annual resource base. The CC encouraged UNIFEM to designate 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) as a day to make specific appeals to Member States and other potential contributors to increase their pledges to the Fund.
And finally, the members of the Committee welcomed UNIFEM's efforts to work closely with UNDP to strengthen UNIFEM's human resources functions through a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations. The CC further recommended that human resource arrangements between UNIFEM and UNDP proceed in a manner that will both promote the career development of UNIFEM staff and ensure upward mobility within UNIFEM.
I hope that the Board will lend its full support to the guidance provided by the members of UNIFEM's Consultative Committee and endorse our recommendations to Ms. Heyzer and her team.
Permanent Mission of Jamaica to the United Nations
September 26, 2002