The new United Nations entity on promoting women’s empowerment will focus its efforts on improving local capacity and ownership of gender-responsive policies, according to the agency’s chief.
Michelle Bachelet, executive director of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, or U.N. Women, outlined a 100-day action plan for the agency at the inaugural session of U.N. Women’s executive board on Jan. 24.
Bachelet said U.N. Women will focus on five thematic priorities, including enhancing women’s leadership and participation, ending violence against women, supporting women’s role in peace and conflict resolution, bolstering economic opportunities for women, and placing gender equality high on the agenda of national, local and sectoral planning and budgeting.
The new U.N. agency will put together a U.N. strategy on gender and implement a gender resource tracking system. It will provide grants worth USD16 million in the coming months to government and non-governmental organizations to advance women’s political and economic empowerment, Bachelet said.
Bachelet also laid out the agency’s five core principles, which include helping national partners implement national accords, supporting intergovernmental processes on strengthening the global framework on gender equality, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, harmonizing U.N. gender response, and acting as a global broker of knowledge and experience.
Susan Rice, U.S. permanent representative to the U.N., expressed support for U.N. Women’s priorities.
“One of the most urgent tasks facing U.N. Women’s Board during our inaugural session will be adopting a transitional budget. Without this budget, UN Women will not be able to appoint its two Assistant Secretary-Generals, hire other needed staff, or strengthen country and regional offices―all tasks that must be accomplished as soon as possible for U.N.Women to become fully operational. We cannot wait for the annual Board meeting in June when UN Women will present its first annual plan,” Rice said during the first U.N. Women’s board session.
The transitional budget of U.N. Women in 2011 costs USD51.1 million. U.N. Women will be formally launched on Feb. 24 at the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.