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UN Women Executive Board - Annual Session 2022 - Joint Nordic Statement

UN Women Executive Board – Annual Session 2022

Agenda Item 2: Annual Report of the Executive Director

Joint Nordic Statement

Delivered by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,

Permanent Representative of Iceland


Madam President, dear colleagues.


I deliver this statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Iceland. We also align ourselves with the statement to be delivered by Ireland on behalf of group of states.


Let me begin by thanking the Executive Director and her team for the Annual Report, which includes a comprehensive - and final - update on the implementation of the 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, as well as lessons learned and a forward-looking summary of the new Strategic Plan.


We wish to commend you, Madam Executive Director, and your predecessor, on your work in strengthening the strategic focus of UN Women during the past four years and we encourage you to keep up with the good work.


Madam Executive Director,


While UN Women saw progress in certain areas during the implementation of the previous Strategic Plan, a reversal on key indicators, such as extreme poverty and women’s labor force participation, threaten the achievement of SDG5. During COVID-19, social protection has emerged as a key tool to respond to crises.


However, as highlighted in your annual report, less than half of the world’s population had access to at least one social protection benefit in 2020 and less than a quarter of covid-related social protection and labor market measures were gender-sensitive. What measures has UN Women taken to ensure that social protection programmes are gender-responsive?


Public services, including transformative social protection systems, require adequate funding. A difficult task given the further tightening of fiscal space. We urge UN Women to continue expanding new partnerships, including with IFIs, and to complement efforts to increase national level financing with new and innovative financing approaches such as gender bonds.


When the Executive Board last met, we were concerned about the trajectory of gender equality due to COVID-19, climate change and conflicts. The situation has not improved since, with serious disruptions to the food, energy and financial markets. Findings of the Secretary General’s Global Crisis Response Group indicate that vulnerable populations in developing countries are particularly exposed to these price fluctuations. This undoubtedly means that women and girls in low-income countries will be disproportionately impacted. The Nordics firmly believe that gender equality should be at the forefront of all policy decisions. In that regard, could we ask what your contributions have been to the Global Crisis Response Group?


In the Strategic Plan, digital technologies and innovations are mainstreamed as tools across thematic areas. Could you provide us some concrete examples on how you plan to implement this, also keeping in mind that it will serve as a CSW priority theme next year? In addition, could you clarify how you ensure synergies between the Strategic Plan and the Generation Equality Campaign?


Madam Executive Director,


We welcome that UN Women expenditures in field offices has increased proportionately over the past five years and that almost one third of total programme expenditures were through joint programmes. We congratulate UN Women for ensuring that more than two thirds of the 29 Cooperation Frameworks developed last year featured gender equality results at outcome levels. What steps is UN Women taking to strengthen its coordination mandate and how can member states support your coordination work?


We also note that UN Women has developed country, regional and headquarters typologies to better ensure appropriate presence. Could you give us a brief update on the implementation of these typologies and a concrete example of change at country-level?


The Nordic countries would like to congratulate UN Women on receiving its tenth consecutive unqualified audit opinion on its financial statements and reaching a score of 87 from the International Aid Transparency Initiative. We applaud these results and urge UN Women to continue on this path. Now, more than ever, the Executive Board needs to adequately execute its governance obligations and oversight function and we rely on UN Women to continue to report to the board in a transparent and comprehensive manner.


In closing, allow me to reiterate the Nordics’ full support for UN Women’s 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, with its human rights-based, transformative, intersectional and Leaving No One Behind approach, and underscoring UN Women’s unique triple mandate.


Thank you.


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