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Joint statement at Executive Board of UN Women Annual Session 2021

Executive Board of UN Women

Annual Session 2021

Agenda item 4: EVAW corporate evaluation

22 June 2021



  • 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, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.
  • I would like to begin by thanking UN Women’s Independent Evaluation Service for the corporate evaluation of UN Women’s coordination role in ending violence against women.
  • The findings, conclusions and recommendations are well received, and we thank UN Women for its management response which clearly articulates when and how the recommendations will be addressed.

Madam/Mr. President,

  • No country has been spared from the shadow pandemic. The prevalence of violence against women has been rising and increasingly so over the past year due to the multiple impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A concerted effort in ending violence against women is needed now more than ever. UN Women, with its triple mandate, plays a key role here. Providing normative support, coordinating the UN system and implementing operational activities are all important elements in the global effort of ending violence against women and girls.

Madam/Mr. President,

  • I would like to highlight four areas of the evaluation: one – the value of coordination, two – accountability frameworks, three – the right skillset and experience among staff, and four – funding of coordination activities.

[Coordination mandate]

  • The evaluation rightfully highlighted UN Women’s position as the ‘go-to’ organization for external actors at country level for this thematic area.
  • However, the evaluation finds a lack of acknowledgement of UN Women’s coordination role when it comes to larger UN institutions. It points to UN Women’s responsibility to gain this acknowledgement while recognizing the duty of the wider UN system to request UN Women’s engagement. What steps can be taken by UN Women, the UN system as a whole and member states to address this challenge?
  • We take note of the evaluation’s conclusion that in the current strategic plan, UN Women’s coordination role is treated as a contributor to operational efficiency and not as a critical component in and of itself and that operational programme management often supersedes coordination as a priority.
  • Given that the size of UN Women’s field programme has an impact on its ability to coordinate thematic areas, and that coordination successes are more based on individual characteristics and capacity rather than institutional arrangements, how can these institutional arrangements be strengthened at country level? What role can the RC system play?


  • One of the major findings of the evaluation is the lack of a system-wide accountability instrument for ending violence against women.
  • This lack of an accountability framework for SDG target 5.2 ultimately leads to a voluntary, rather than mandatory, nature of coordination for UN entities in the global effort to end violence against women.
  • How does UN Women plan to operationalize a system-wide accountability and reporting framework on ending violence against women and do you currently have the capacity and resources required?


  • As noted in the evaluation, UN Women staff at country-level is often junior and inexperienced and lack the necessary capacity to fulfill UN Women’s crucial coordination role.
  • We strongly encourage UN Women to recruit experienced and more senior staff with the necessary skills, or to strengthen staff competence and capacity for this purpose.


  • Coordination requires resources and we take note of the lack of funding for UN Women’s coordination mandate. We urge all donors to contribute with core resources to enable UN Women to perform at its best and fulfill its mandate. We further encourage UN Women to contribute flexible and predictable funding to women’s rights organization, which are central to the work on eliminating violence against women.
  • In this regard, we echo the recommendations of the evaluation and encourage UN Women to capture the important results of its coordination role to the thematic area of ending violence against women, as well as the actual resources needed for coordination.
  • We would also encourage UN Women and donors to include coordination elements in its programme budgets.
  • Could you elaborate why coordination of e.g. thematic areas is currently not properly funded from assessed or core contributions?


Mr./Madam President,

  • To conclude, we would like to reiterate our appreciation for UN Women’s role in ending violence against women and girls and would like to thank UN Women for its support to the global COVID-19 response, ensuring gender equality is fully integrated.
  • We count on UN Women to coordinate and lead the way in improving the lives of women and girls around the world


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