Stjórnarfundur UN Women - Ræða Íslands

Madame President,

At the outset let me start by expressing my Governments strong support for UN Women and its Strategic Plan. Iceland fully supports the vision, and priorities set out in the Plan and we would like to thank Madame Bachelet, for her informative statement and open dialogue yesterday which shed a further light on the way forward.   We very much welcome the cooperation mentioned with Civil Society Organizations and the private sector.  We would also like to use this opportunity to emphasise the importance for UN Women to continue its good cooperation with the National Committees of UN Women.  In Iceland the role of the National Committee is of great importance both in mobilizing resources for the organization, as well as in generating dialogue at the national level about gender equality and women’s empowerment and the crucial role of the UN in making progress world wide.

Iceland is fully committed to the ongoing transformation of the work of UN Women both at its normative and operational levels. As a result of the Government’s longstanding commitment to gender equality, the gender gap in Iceland has consistently measured among the lowest in the world. We therefore feel that we can share our knowledge and lessons learned in this process.

As we all know, the international financial and economic crisis has taken its toll on national treasuries all over the world, including on development budgets. In this regard, my own country is no exception. Nevertheless, an effort has been made to safeguard Iceland’s support for UN Women in line with our priorities and our belief that gender equality and the empowerment of women are a prerequisite for sustainable development, peace and security in the world.

Accordingly, the Icelandic Parliament recently adopted a Strategy for Iceland’s Development Cooperation 2011-2014, where UN Women is identified as one of our four key mulilateral organizations. The Strategy outlines the Government’s target for ODA, aiming at reaching the UN target of 0.7% of GNI in 2019. This target will be revisited if national income grows faster than predicted and will then be accelerated. The guiding principles of Iceland´s development cooperation are responsibility, credibility and results.

UN Women is an important partner for Iceland in its development efforts.  Accordingly, in the course of cutbacks in Icelandic ODA, contributions to UN Women have been safeguarded. I am pleased to announce that the Government of Iceland will increase its core contribution to UN Women in 2011 about 56%. Iceland’s new Development Strategy also gives hope for further increases in core and non-core contibutions over the coming years, even though we are not yet able to pledge on a multi year basis. The UN membership has high expections towards UN Women.  We count on UN Women to live up to these expections.  We believe you can and will do our best to support you.

Thank you Madame President

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