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Statement delivered by H.E. Ambassador Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, on UN Women - Annual report of the Administrator, at Annual Session of the UN Women Executive Board, 27 June 2017 in New York

27.06.2017  17:46

(Check against delivery)

Thank you, Madam President, for giving me the floor, and thank you to the Executive Director for her statement and informative report. Also a warm ‘thank you’ to UN Women staff in headquarters and around the world. Denmark greatly values your work.

The key issue for this year’s Board is the Strategic Plan for the next four years of UN Women’s work at the global and national levels. It is important that we get that right. It must build on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and be aligned with the 2030 Agenda, the reform-agenda of the Secretary General, and the guidance provided through the QCPR-resolution of December 2016.

The Strategic Plan must ensure that UN Women becomes a results-based, innovative organisation that delivers on all three parts of its composite mandate and promotes collaboration and coordination among the members of the UN family not least to ensure effective gender mainstreaming across the UN system.

Allow me, Madam President, to touch briefly on a couple of issues that are important both for the new Strategic Plan, and in their own rights:

We note with appreciation that the human rights based approach is a guiding principle in the draft Strategic Plan. Women and girl’s rights are basic human rights and cover all aspects of life from health, over education, to political and economic participation.

They 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 and humanitarian assistance. They are part and parcel of gender equality and of human rights and we would encourage UN Women to go even further in integrating SRHR in the plan and its work.

Furthermore, we welcome that the need to involve men and boys in achieving gender equality is reflected in the Strategic Plan as well as youth as enablers and beneficiaries of a gender equal world. These aspects could, however, be elaborated further.

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

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

We congratulate UN Women on the many positive results achieved in this respect as highlighted in the report of the Executive Director. However, we note with concern the stagnant levels of political participation, enduring gender pay gaps, uneven economic participation, high levels of violence against women and girls and the targeting of women’s human rights defenders. We ask ourselves if the results achieved are good enough when the report states that 62% of country programmes are off track as regards development impact and when less than three quarters of the development targets are achieved or on track.

The strategic direction that guides the implementation must ensure UN Women focuses its efforts where they are needed the most. In this respect, we note with appreciation that the demand driven approach mentioned in previous drafts of the Strategic Plan has been replaced by a country level programming typology combining national capacity, gender inequality and other factors. Denmark would wish to see a further elaboration on this typology to ensure an even more focused and strategic direction while spelling out the main tools to achieve the results of the plan.

On UN Women’s work in humanitarian settings, we notice that this has been expanding in recent years. We believe that UN Women has an important role to play in coordination and mainstreaming gender equality issues everywhere - also in humanitarian settings - including taking part in UN-joint programmes where appropriate.

Building on UN Women’s comparative strengths and collaborative advantages vis-à-vis other UN actors, we would, however, not encourage UN Women to initiate and implement own programmes and projects in humanitarian settings.

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

UN Women - along with other UN entities, funds and programmes – has an important role in actively contributing to the realisation of the new UN reform agenda. The need for reform was articulated by Member States in the QCPR-resolution, and the reform agenda is a high priority of the Secretary General. It calls for the UN organisations to find new ways of working. We would wish to see this better reflected in the next version of the Strategic Plan.

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 results. We appreciate the work on innovation conducted in and by UN Women and encourage UN Women to continue to create an environment conducive to fostering innovation.

I thank you Madam President.