We welcome the new Executive Director. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and wish her the best for the year ahead.
The past year has presented us with some high profile reminders of the prevalence of violence against women, and the disproportionate impact that conflict and humanitarian emergencies have on women and their children.
And yet, despite these obstacles, the evidence suggests that gender equality and women’s empowerment are increasingly within reach.
This progress is vitally important because gender equality and women’s empowerment are drivers of sustainable development, poverty eradication, peace and security, and human rights fulfilment.
New Zealand supports the central role of UN-Women in promoting UN system-wide action on gender equality.
We were pleased to see this role was affirmed in the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011-2020 (Istanbul Programme of Action) adopted at the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries.
In developing the draft strategic plan 2014-17, UN-Women has built on its strengths in this role, including advocacy on women’s rights and engagement with civil society.
We support the UN-Women’s effort in building partnerships with other funds and programmes to capitalise on their respective strengths and avoid duplication of effort.
For example, as a partner of UNAIDS, in addressing HIV and AIDS; with the UN “Health Four Plus” group to support the Secretary-General’s “Every woman, every child” campaign; with UN-Habitat on a “New Urban Agenda”; and with the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
New Zealand commends UN-Women for its constructive response to the mandates of the
Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR).
We encourage UN-Women to continue its collaboration with the other funds and programmes, such as through “Delivering as One” and in developing a harmonised understanding of value for money.
We are pleased to see the Strategic Plan has incorporated lessons learned over the past two years, such as the need to be more nationally driven and more consistent in the quality of its coordination at country level.
Women are disproportionately affected by humanitarian emergencies, both conflict situations and natural disasters. Yet they remain excluded from peace processes and from preparedness, response and recovery processes.
Therefore we welcome the strengthening of UN Women’s work in humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction; and the commitment to take into account each country’s development level and income, and the needs ofof small island developing States.
We note that the recent evaluation of the impact of UN Women on elimination of violence against women has found that UN Women and its predecessors made “substantial contributions” towards increasing the number of countries with law penalising domestic violence.
Finally Mr President,
We acknowledge that UN Women is experiencing financial challenges at present. We support its decision to make a modest increase in expenditure on evaluation in this context. Achieving gender equality is not an easy task. Deepening our collective knowledge is an essential component of the Plan.
We aspire to a new reality where peace and security are shaped by women’s leadership and participation, where poor women are economically empowered, and where all women and girls live a life free from violence.
New Zealand supports the Strategic Plan and looks forward to its implementation over the next four years and beyond.