Joint Nordic Statement
Delivered by H.E. Jörundur Valtýsson,
Permanent Representative of Iceland
Second Regular Session 2021
UN Women Executive Board, Agenda Item 2: Strategic Plan
Mr. Vice President, dear colleagues.
I deliver this statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Iceland.
Let me start by congratulating Ambassador Turay on his election. We look forward to working with the new President and his team. I also take the opportunity to congratulate Ambassador Sima Sami Bahous on her recent appointment as Executive Director of UN Women.
Madam acting Executive Director,
Thank you for taking on the role of interim Executive Director of UN Women. You can count on the Nordic countries to work with you and your successor on advancing gender equality globally, fulfilling women’s rights and empowerment, and delivering on the commitments made most recently at the Generation Equality Forum. Your opening remarks set the tone eloquently and we appreciate UN Women’s commitment to stay and deliver, not least in Afghanistan. UN Women’s role and mandate is clearly more important than ever.
Mr. Vice President.
We welcome and support the UN Women Strategic Plan for 2022-2025 and thank the UN Women staff for developing the Strategic Plan based on rigorous analysis and lessons learned. The consultation process was transparent and exhaustive. We appreciate UN Women for listening to and integrating member states inputs while bearing in mind that the Strategic Plan is indeed a UN Women owned document. Rest assured that the Nordic countries stand ready to endorse the new Strategic Plan.
First and foremost, the Nordic countries welcome the continued application of a human rights-based approach in the Strategic Plan and the enhanced focus on addressing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. As the Beijing review highlights, women and girls who experience multiple forms of discrimination are being left behind. This includes women and girls who face discrimination based on age, class, disability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity or migration status. We need to address the root causes of inequality to ensure we all benefit from advances made in recent years and lift as many women out of multidimensional poverty as possible. This is crucial to reach the goals set out in Agenda 2030.
Mr. Vice President.
Achieving impact at scale for gender equality through stronger implementation at the national level is an important step for UN Women. We follow UN Women’s ongoing business transformation with great interest as this is key to deliver measurable and sustainable development results. This includes moving away from short-term, small-scale projects, and rather focusing on gender transformative programs. Achieving this requires working with others, both inside and outside the UN System.
In fact, the entire UN Women ambition of transforming into an increasingly partnership-oriented organization is greatly welcomed. This includes deepening and enhancing partnerships with civil society, not least women’s rights movements and organizations through dedicated and flexible financing, capacity development and meaningful participation. Strong partnerships with men and boys are also crucial, especially when it comes to promoting positive social norms, and we commend UN Women for highlighting this through their systemic outcome approach.
We welcome UN Women’s strategic use of funds to manage the shift associated with the business transformation, and we acknowledge that donors’ flexible, predictable, and sustainable funding to UN Women’s core activities is vital as well as a precondition for the ability to respond to emergent and protracted crises. This has been most recently exemplified through the commendable work of UN Women in rapidly responding to the crisis in Afghanistan.
The Strategic Plan also clearly articulates UN Women’s triple mandate, and we welcome the commitment to significantly step-up UN Women’s coordination of the UN system. Achieving UN system-wide results for gender equality is vital and a prerequisite to achieve Agenda 2030. The common and complementary indicators presented in the Integrated Results and Resources Framework are important to track progress on this. We look forward to the completion of the results framework, which will provide us with the tools to monitor the results of the Strategic Plan.
In conclusion, the Strategic Plan before us provides a solid framework for the important and life-saving work of UN Women, of which the Nordics are longstanding supporters. If implemented fully, it will undoubtedly bring us closer to peace and sustainable development globally. A Strategic Plan will never please everybody fully, but we need to keep our eye on the ball: There is a growing need for a UN Women with an ambitious agenda, so that we can achieve gender equality, the Sustainable Development Goals, the empowerment of all women and girls and the full enjoyment of human rights for all.