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Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, on Agenda item 2: Strategic Plan, at 2nd regular session of the UN Women Executive Board, 29 August 2017 in New York

12.10.2017  00:56

(Check against delivery)

Thank you, Madam President. Let me start off by congratulating the Executive Director with the renewal of her mandate. Let me underline that you can continue to consider Denmark among your strongest partners and supporters. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with you and your team.

I would like to begin by expressing Denmark’s gratitude to UN Women for their approach to preparing the Strategic Plan. Denmark believes it has been a very inclusive and open process characterized by dialogue and transparency.

We believe that the final version of the Strategic Plan, which is before us today, is balanced document that takes into due consideration the different wishes and concerns expressed by member states. It represents a compromise to strike a balance among divergent views. In an ideal world, there are surely a few things in the Strategic Plan that we could have preferred to see put differently in wording or with further emphasis. That said, we are pleased with the final version and are ready to endorse it at this second regular session.

The Strategic Plan is an important tool for the functioning of UN Women’s activities in the coming four years. It lays out the organisation’s vision, goals and plan of action in a number of critical areas to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women. We believe that the Strategic Plan will improve UN Women’s ability to further accelerate its pursuit of operating as a results-based, innovative organisation. An organisation that delivers on all three parts of its composite mandate and promotes collaboration and coordination among the UN system by ensuring effective gender mainstreaming among its sister agencies – both in development and humanitarian settings.

Allow me, Madam President, to touch briefly on a couple of issues that are important to Denmark:

The rights of women and girls are basic human rights and cover all aspects of life from health, over education, to political and economic participation. We therefore note with appreciation that the human rights based approach is reflected as a guiding principle in the Strategic Plan.

Human rights also include the rights of all women and girls to have control over and decide freely on matters related to their sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are key values and priorities in Danish development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. They are vital and integrated elements of gender equality and of human rights. We would have appreciated to see a stronger emphasis on these rights in the Strategic Plan, but – again – recognise that the Plan has sought to strike a balance between different perspectives. 

Furthermore, we welcome that the Strategic Plan reflects the need to involve men and boys in achieving gender equality. And we specifically welcome the fact that youth are highlighted as enablers and beneficiaries of a gender equal world. 

Madam President, let me now turn to UN Women’s operational work:

Winning the rights for women and girls is about more than providing opportunities to any individual woman and girl; it also entails changing how countries and communities work. UN Women’s operational work is instrumental in displaying that gender equality is smart economics, and it is about development for individuals, communities, societies and countries at large. UN Women’s activities contribute to supporting reform of laws and policies to promote women’s inclusion, winning hearts and minds, and building women’s organizations and movements.

It is paramount that UN Women focuses its efforts where they are most needed. In order for the entity to contribute to the achievement of the 2030-Agenda and specifically SDG 5, it is important that UN Women’s activities ensure that no one are left behind and are targeted those individuals left furthest behind.

Finally, Madam Chair, allow me to touch briefly on reform and innovation. 

Along with the other UN Funds & Programmes UN Women has an important role in actively contributing to the realisation of the Secretary-General’s reform agenda specifically on development issues. It calls for the UN organisations to find new ways of working – separately and together.

For that reason, we welcome the inclusion of the common chapter in the Strategic Plan. We see it as an important tool to ensuring that UN Funds & Programmes will be working better and more coherent together going forward. Let me also stress that it is not only about the chapter in itself. It needs to be a guiding principle for the general implementation of the strategic plan as a whole. We therefore also look forward to seeing UN Women to a bigger extent than previously take part in joint UN-programmes where appropriate during this next strategic period.

The changing financial climate calls for innovative approaches. Innovation is a priority for Denmark and the reason why we have provided funding for the innovation efforts of UN Women and other funds and programmes. Innovation has the potential of reaching more people in a more effective manner, at less cost and with better end-results. We encourage UN Women to continue promoting innovation, looking to harness the full potential of partnerships, both within UN Women and within the UN-system as a whole and with partners around the world.

I thank you Madam President.