A woman United Nations peacekeeper speaks with refugees at Farchana Camp in Chad. The U.S. strongly supports consolidating the U.N.'s current gender-related units into a single women's agency. Photo by: Olivia Grey Pritchard / UN Photo

The U.S. strongly supports consolidating the United Nations’ current gender-related units into a single women’s agency. It is, in fact, spearheading the next phase of the negotiation process in creating the agency, according to a top U.S. official.

U.N. member states are looking at completing the negotiations on a General Assembly resolution by late June to outline the mandate,  governance structure, reporting lines, staffing and funding of the proposed entity. The U.S., according to Esther Brimmer, has been collaborating with Estonia and Tunisia, co-chairs of this reform exercise, to set up the gender agency. 

The assistant secretary at the State Department’s Bureau of International Organization Affairs said the U.S. envisions that the agency will conduct research and analysis on gender equality, political participation, economic opportunities, violence, health, disabilities, gender aspects of peace negotiations, and discrimination against women.

The U.N. gender agency should also encourage the use of fieldwork particularly in providing political, legal and jobs skills training for women, set up centers for rape and violence victims, enhance education systems for girls, and provide assistance to women farmers, she said June 9 in a testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight.

The U.N. currently has four gender-related organizations including the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, Division for the Advancement of Women, Development Fund for Women, and International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

The U.S., along with other members of the U.N. Security Council, will also “take action” in an October ministerial meeting on a revised set of indicators to track the implementation of the council’s resolution 1325. The resolution aims to address the adverse effects of conflict on women and advance the role of women in promoting peace and security.

“Our hope is that the Security Council can support a final set of indicators in October 2010 enabling the UN to embark on its initial phase of their implementation. The United Nations-drafted indicators are being developed to measure global implementation of the provisions of 1325,” Brimmer said.

She also reiterated the commitment of the U.S. government to ratify the U.N.-led Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.