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Joint Nordic statement on agenda item 3: Evaluation: A meta-synthesis on UN-Women’s advocacy and communication

Joint Nordic Statement by H.E. Mr. Erik Laursen,
Deputy Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations
First Regular Session of the UN Women Executive Board 2024
Agenda item 3: Evaluation: A meta-synthesis on UN-Women’s advocacy and communication
13 February 2024


I deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Denmark.

The recently published Gender Social Norms Index found evidence of widespread gender biases across time and geographies that impede women’s economic empowerment and political participation and their full enjoyment of human rights. Achieving gender equality requires eliminating biased gender social norms. UN Women’s advocacy and communications work is essential to achieving transformative shifts in gender social norms and attitudes to enable the full achievement of SDG5 as a catalyser for the 2030 Agenda.

We thank the evaluations office for report. This work is a core part of UN Women’s normative mandate of UN Women, and essential for the entity’s delivery on its triple mandate as a whole. We underscore our appreciation for the strong delivery on this area.

The evaluation at hand also provides important lessons learned that can inform a strengthened approach. We therefore welcome and commend the managements proposed responses, including developing an updated Communications Strategy in 2024. We also hope that the lessons learned will inform the upcoming Midterm Review of the Strategic Plan and encourage deepened exchange of knowledge between country and regional offices to leverage expertise and lessons learned across the organisation.

We would like to highlight a few key issues:

Firstly, we note the importance of close cooperation with local actors, including civil society organisations, to ensure the success of campaigns and awareness-raising raising initiatives. The evaluation pointed to the limited consideration of local contexts as a key impediment to delivering effective results in this area.

For advocacy campaigns to have meaningful impact on addressing root causes of gender inequality – especially in challenging contexts – they must be tailored to local contexts, including cultural sensitivities and languagebarriers. At the same time, attention should also be paid to accessibility for vulnerable groups.

We welcome the management’s commitment to strengthening the regional networks of communications specialists and focal points.

Secondly, we emphasize the importance of engaging men and boys in awareness-raising initiatives. Viewing men and boys as partners in gender equality is necessary to addressing the risk of backlash. The evaluation found that many of UN Women’s campaigns had contributed to changes in attitudes and behaviours, by engaging men and boys to raise awareness of gender equality and social norms change. The Nordic countries encourage UN
Women to continue this practice.

Thirdly, weak monitoring practices were identified as an impediment for assessing the effectiveness of advocacy and communications activities. This links to the need to ensure well-developed strategies for advocacy and communication initiatives. Measuring transformative impacts, particularly when it comes to shifting gender and social norms, requires thorough planning. We acknowledge the difficulty of setting baselines for measuring these changes, but encourage strengthened efforts in this regard.

We welcome the management’s response and commitment to addressing the recommendation to promote the development of monitoring and evaluation frameworks. How is UN Women drawing on lessons learned from other UN entities to inform the design of tools and resources for monitoring and evaluation of advocacy activities?



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