Commission on the Status of Women - Panel IV -Nordic statement

Statement by

H.E. Ambassador Gréta Gunnarsdóttir

Permanent Representative

On behalf of

the Nordic Countries,

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

1 March 2012

Commision on the Status of Women - 56th session

High Level Panel IV

Progress in financing for gender equality from the perspective of international organizations and multilateral development partners

Mr/Madame Chair,

Investing in gender equality, with a special focus on women and girls, has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth. Investing in gender equality will not only improve women’s ability to claim and exercise their human rights but also result in a better and more just society for all. Yet, both official reports as well as our experiences show that progress has been slower than anticipated.

While the main responsibility of implementing gender equality measures and  establishing appropriate mechanisms lies with national authorities, international organisations and multilateral development partners must live up to their commitments. While most have a gender equality policy or action plan, their financial investments in gender equality and women’s empowerment do not match their commitments. In this context, the Nordic countries would also like to underline the crucial role of senior level commitment for the realization of gender equality.

The Nordic countries place great emphasis on gender equality and women’s empowerment and are thus concerned that insufficient budgetary resources are allocated for gender equality by international organisations and multilateral development partners.

International organizations and multilateral development partners must do more to find effective financing mechanisms and partnerships for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, including through working with civil society organizations, research institutions and the private sector.

We also need to strengthen mechanisms to effectively measure resources allocated to incorporating gender perspectives in all sectors and thematic areas of development assistance. Furthermore, we need to develop and make active use of gender disaggregated data and monitoring tools.

Mr/Madame Chair,

Structural adjustment programmes have been criticised for not taking gender equality into consideration. We therefore welcome the inclusion of gender equality as one of the special focus themes of the 16th replenishment of  IDA. Furthermore, we hope that the example set by the Governing Instrument of the Green Climate Fund, to include gender considerations from the outset, will become standard practice. Additionally, UN Women has in its first year of operation shown that we have a powerful entity that lives up to the expectations of strengthening the gender equality agenda within the UN.

Last but not least, we need to raise women’s and girls´ awareness, expand their knowledge and skills. We need to create an enabling environment to encourage and foster women’s participation and presence, and strengthen their rights in in all areas where decisions that concern their lives and livelihoods are taken.

We would like to see development assistance specifically targeting gender equality, as well as to increase the emphasis on the empowerment of women and girls, in line with national development priorities. Gender mainstreaming and funding of targeting activities, as well as enhanced dialogue on those issues, can be used as a means to an end, including amongst high level stakeholders in government and opinion-leaders.

Thank you Mr/Madame Chair.

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