Hoppa yfir valmynd

Joint Nordic Statement: Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS

Joint Nordic Statement by H.E. Mr. Jorundur Valtysson
Permanent Representative of Iceland
Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS - Annual Session 2024
Agenda Item 9: Gender Equality at UNDP
7 June, 2024

I am delivering this Statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Iceland.

Mr/Madam President,

Let me begin by expressing our appreciation for UNDP’s commitment to gender equality. We are pleased to see that UNDP is on track overall in the delivery of this strategy and reaching more targets than before.

In today’s global landscape of crises and conflict, existing gender inequalities have been both highlighted and exacerbated. It is therefore vital to prioritise the agency of women and girls and promote gender equality to make lasting progress for sustainable development and to ensure that the solutions are inclusive and equitable.

We would like to congratulate UNDP on the achievements reached through the Gender Equality Seal. It is excellent that the Seal has been implemented in 90 per cent of the country offices and we look forward to seeing the progress that this may continue to yield.

The Nordic countries welcome the increased engagement and partnership between UNDP’s country offices and civil society and women’s organisations. This collaboration is fundamental to achieving sustainable outcomes that reflect diverse opportunities and aspirations. Furthermore, UNDP’s enhanced support to women’s human rights defenders and climate justice advocates is of utmost importance as they are increasingly targeted in crisis and conflict settings. We encourage UNDP to continue to expand and strengthen these relationships in the field.

We would also like to highlight the importance of joint programming with other agencies and stakeholders for gender equality. We welcome the partnership with UN Women and encourage UNDP to continue to engage and collaborate closely with UN agencies that have extensive expertise on gender equality and the rights of women and girls, such as  UN Women and UNFPA.

o This is an important election year globally. How does UNDP support women’s participation in elections and engage with various stakeholders in this context?

The Nordic countries also welcome UNDP’s approach to step beyond a basic parity approach to women’s participation and encompassing aspects of the care economy,  such as unpaid care. Financial independence for women in all their diversity is fundamental for achieving gender equality and economic growth. Access to universal childcare is essential to support women’s economic participation.

o Can you share more about the work you envision in this regard,  more specifically how UNDP will support women’s economic empowerment through access to better paid jobs?

The midterm review highlights the importance of supporting fiscal policies for gender equality, especially in the current context of public debt distress and shrinking resources. We appreciate that UNDP has prioritised structural reforms through gender responsive fiscal policies and tax systems, as well as the support to expand financing for gender equality. 

o This is described as one of the most promising new areas of work. Can you share more about the potential impact and anticipated outcomes of this initiative?

We understand that designing and implementing interventions to transform norms, values and power structures remains a challenge. In this respect we would like to encourage UNDP to continue to engage men and boys to become agents of change.

o Could you share some thoughts on what the main challenges have been in this regard and what lessons can be drawn from them? 

We encourage you to engage with other UN agencies in using behavioural science - as envisioned in the Secretary General’s vision 2.0 - to support systemic change, removing barriers for women and girls to reach their potential.

It is positive that UNDP is also focusing on how to change attitudes and organizational culture within UNDP to strengthen leadership for gender equality. However, we note that work/life balance remains on of the greatest challenges for all offices and more women need to be in decision-making positions, particularly in crisis settings.

o Can you provide us with more details on UNDP’s initiatives to address this? 

Let me conclude by reiterating our full support to UNDP’s important work to strengthen gender equality and women’s empowerment. We appreciate the level of ambition and encourage UNDP to continue to push for progress on this front.


Contact us

Tip / Query
Please answer in numerics