Statement by Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson,
Permanent Representative of Iceland to the United Nations
Sixty-first Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit:
report of the Secretary General (A/61/836) 
“On Recommendations contained in the report of the High Level Panel on United Nations System-wide Coherence in the areas of
development, humanitarian assistance and environment”
I thank you for organizing this timely meeting and for your statement yesterday in which i.a. you appeal to all of us to offer our views and suggestions on the substantive issues. I furthermore thank the Secretary General for introducing his ideas on the follow-up of the Report of the High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence, which we broadly share with him.
Iceland, as a member of the European Economic Area (the EEA), aligned itself with the statement made yesterday by Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul from Germany on behalf of the European Union, but in addition I would like to make a few brief remarks.
Generally we support the proposals made by the panel and we should use this opportunity to make the UN more effective and coherent on the basis of the Panel’s report as well as the Secretary General’s report. It should always be kept in mind that the reason behind this exercise is to foster more effective development cooperation, focusing on the concerns and needs of the developing countries. There should be no “one size fits all” and the idea to use pilot countries to test the “One United Nations” approach is a good method to find the most effective way to respect the varying needs of each country.
Most proposals of the Panel could be implemented within the existing reform processes and Iceland shares the Secretary General’s views that on these issues we should move ahead and avoid duplication of efforts. There are, however, a few issues that need separate processes, such as governance and gender architecture.
I would like to place a special emphasis on gender equality and womens’ empowerment. The empowerment of women is a pre-requisite for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The MDG’s related to women are lagging behind and cannot be met without radical changes in the work of the UN. The recommendations of the panel provide us with an important opportunity to strengthen the UN architecture that promotes gender equality throughout the UN system. Establishing a post of an Under-Secretary General for gender equality issues is one important step in that regard. At the same time we emphasise that gender mainstreaming must be more thoroughly and systematically addressed throughout the whole UN system at all levels.
To conclude, Madame President, I would like to thank you again for organizing this meeting and we look forward to discussing these issues further and in more detail.