Joint Statement at the Executive Board of UN Women First Regular Session 2021 delivered by Mr. Jónas G. Allansson, Deputy Permanent Representative
Thank you Madam/Mr President. I deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland as well as Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States.
I would like to begin by thanking UN Women’s Independent Evaluation Service for the evaluation of UN Women’s support to National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security. The evaluation’s findings, conclusions and recommendations are well received. We commend the evaluation team for finalizing this evaluation despite the limitations faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of focus group discussions with direct beneficiaries limited the ability to evaluate to what extent national action plans are valuable tools for driving the women, peace and security agenda, especially at national and local levels.
We thank UN Women for its management response, which clearly demonstrates its commitment to act on the recommendations provided, and we take particular note of the added focus on transformative change which we believe is important to guide future interventions. However, we would welcome more detailed information on when various measures should be implemented and how they will be followed-up.
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, emphasizing the importance, and the inherent right, of women to fully, equally and meaningfully participate in peace, security and reconstruction processes at all levels of decision making.
The National Action Plans, or NAPs, are important tools for translating global women, peace and security commitments into concrete strategies at a national level.
Currently about 90 UN member states have prepared their own NAPs, but unfortunately not all are adequately resourced, implemented or monitored. These action plans have the potential to move us from rhetoric to action and to achieving transformative results throughout the full 1325 agenda.
We welcome the new strategic plan’s further articulation of how UN Women will implement its coordination mandate and ensure increased synergies between its triple mandate at global, regional, and national level, both within UN Women and across the UN Development System and beyond.
While the responsibility for the implementation of NAPs lies with national governments, UN Women and its partners, including other UN Agencies, play a pivotal role at all levels, providing leadership, sharing knowledge, advocating for and mainstreaming the women, peace and security agenda. This demands strategic approaches to implementation based on evidence and well documented practices of what works. Hence, we welcome further elaboration of UN Women’s operationalization of findings and recommendations in the evaluation.
We note the evaluation’s finding that UN Women’s support to NAPs advances gender equality more broadly by promoting inclusive processes, supporting women’s empowerment and leadership, and raising awareness of gender equality.
UN Women’s strong focus on the importance of national ownership and implementation of NAPs for long-term sustainability is much appreciated. It could be further strengthened through the inclusion of actors not directly involved in NAP processes, as highlighted in the evaluation. This is important to build broader ownership among a wider set of actors.
In this regard, the evaluation also points to the importance of UN Women supporting the integration of NAPs into other national strategies and plans, integrating its WPS efforts into its other thematic result areas such as violence against women, women’s political and economic empowerment and participation, as well as preventing and countering violent extremism and promoting safety online. This approach would strengthen the NAPs.
Adequate level of funding and human resources is needed to provide meaningful support to NAP implementation. The funding also needs to be sustainable and long-term. Therefore, we fully agree with the evaluation’s recommendation that UN Women should assess the level and type of funding required and articulate how financial resources are linked to results. We would also welcome increased allocations of regular resources to the WPS agenda, noting 96 per cent of resources are non-regular.
Finally, we would like to thank UN Women for its support to the global COVID-19 response, ensuring gender equality is fully integrated. This also includes adapting and refocusing the WPS work to directly address the challenges posed by COVID-19. Ensuring flexibility to adapt to emerging situations is critical for a high-impact NAP.
With conflicts and crises becoming more complex and protracted, it is more important than ever to ensure women’s full, equal and meaningful participation and leadership in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts and that gender equality is mainstreamed throughout all stages of peace and security-related work. We count on UN Women to lead the way in enhancing women’s engagement for sustainable peace and to continue to advance the women, peace and security agenda.