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UNDP Gender Equality cross-regional statement – UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS Executive Board

Executive Board of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS

Annual Session 2022



Delivered on Wednesday 8 June 2022

by H.E. Mr. Jörundur Valtýsson

Permanent Representative of Iceland



I am delivering this Statement on behalf of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Israel, The Republic of Moldova, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye, United Kingdom, the United States, and my own country Iceland.


Madam/Mr President,


  • We have been through some distressing years due to the pandemic. Although circumstances are tough, it is crucial that we continue to strive for gender equality.


  • We would like to congratulate UNDP on its new gender equality strategy. We appreciate the level of ambition and the need to address structural barriers and root causes, while at the same time delivering on shorter-term changes.


  • While it is positive that UNDP has developed this strategy on previous experiences, we believe the strategy would benefit from reflecting upon why UNDP has not achieved all of its goals in this area.


  • So, could you share some thoughts on why this has been, and what lessons this holds for the achievement of this strategy’s goals?


  • The priorities set for signature solution 6 – gender equality – contain targeted initiatives and give direction to the implementation across the other signature solutions.


  • We view it as useful that the Country offices will be encouraged to develop engagement strategies for each programme portfolio in the new Gender Equality Strategy, while keeping it lean and agile.


  • Do you plan any guidance on how this integration of gender equality will be implemented?


  • UNDP has a central convening role in the UN system, including the integrator role – also important for the work on gender equality. We welcome this and the emphasis on partnership with UN Women in this regard.


  • In this respect, can you perhaps share more about your plans to work with UN Women to support the integration of gender expertise across the UN system, in particular at the country level?


  • And to leave no one behind, the strategy focuses on addressing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. How are you going to put this focus in practice?


  • We also want to reiterate the importance of adequate investments and resources to match the ambition of the Gender Strategy. In this regard, we strongly support the goal of allocating at least 15% of UNDP regular budget to the gender equality strategy.


  • Can you, perhaps, share more about your plans in this regard?


  • We welcome that the new strategy is focusing on how to change the internal culture in UNDP and strengthen its leadership for gender equality, to transform how UNDP thinks about and acts on gender equality.


  • Can we ask UNDP what concrete measures will be taken to truly prioritize gender equality and the empowerment of women in all their diversity during the next four-year period?


  • UNDP is one the co-leads of the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice. We would appreciate to know more about the interlinkages between the action coalition and the gender strategy, especially the Signature solution 4 - Environment.


  • I began with a call to strive for gender equality. Let me conclude by saying that there will be no progress for one, without progress for all – and reiterating our full support to UNDP.


Madam/Mr President,


Allow me also to deliver very brief remarks in my national capacity.


  • Earlier this year, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland was awarded a gold certification from the UNDP Gender Equality Seal Programme - becoming the first donor country to receive such a recognition.


  • This rigorous certification process was challenging for us but also a valuable learning experience as it required us to look at what we are doing right and, more importantly, where we can improve.


  • We are now equipped with tools and ideas on how to further strengthen our work and we have a roadmap in place, with the aim of reducing inequalities both in the workplace and in our development co-operation projects.


  • The certification is, therefore, not a destination but an on-going journey – a worthwhile one and we would encourage other member states to consider the UNDP Gender Equality Seal Programme.


Thank you.



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