Closing remarks by Under-Secretary-General, Acting Executive Director of UN Women and Special Representative of Secretary General

UN Women

Excellencies, distinguished Delegates and colleagues, it is a great pleasure to be here in person with you, Madame President, and all Delegates and colleagues, as we move towards closure of this very important session of the Executive Board.

At the outset, I wish to acknowledge and express my appreciation for all the delegations who took the floor and for your expression of support to the mandate and your kind words of welcome to the incoming Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Sima Bahous.

2021 has been a significant year for UN Women. I would like to again thank the incoming President of the Executive Board and his predecessor, H.E. Alie Kabba, as well as H.E. Mrs. Victoria Sulimani, for her role in the transition process.

I also warmly thank and recognize the other Vice-Presidents of the Bureau for their contributions throughout 2021, and for their support and skillful facilitation leading to today’s adoption of the draft decisions.

It has been a pleasure to witness the committed engagement of the Member States in the work of UN Women as reflected in the opening interventions from 30 Member States and observers, including group statements. That engagement is indispensable and allows UN Women to deliver its mandate to its full potential as it enters its next decade.

In that regard, I would like to echo the words of congratulation from members of the Executive Board on the appointment of Ms Sima Bahous of Jordan as the incoming Executive Director of UN Women. At a time when the importance of our mandate is so urgently felt across the world, I extend the warmest of welcomes to Ms. Bahous.

Excellencies, we look ahead now to a new phase of UN Women. Your support throughout the transparent and consultative process of developing UN Women’s Strategic Plan has been deeply appreciated, as reflected also in your statements. UN Women is proud to have coordinated extensive stakeholder consultations across global, regional and country levels in order to ensure maximum inclusion.

I join my Deputy and Directors in expressing gratitude for the high-level of engagement of Member States during the year-long consultative process and reiterate our commitment for accelerated, sustainable and transformative change to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as its contributions to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Several of your interventions highlighted the alignment of the Strategic Plan implementation process with this moment, where women continue to be hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related socio-economic implications, and where multiple crises are disproportionately affecting the lives of women and girls. UN Women appreciates your emphasis on the relevance of the Strategic Plan 2022-2025 at this particular juncture and is thankful for Member States’ encouragement on the importance of its vision for the coming years.

I thank again all those who are, and have been, so courageously working to support, promote and protect the human rights of all Afghan women and girls and to carry their voices into all the UN’s engagement with the authorities. I am deeply grateful for the courage and dedication of the colleagues across the organization who are continuing the work on the ground in so many countries to support our Afghanistan office. Their work is truly vital to ensuring the protection and empowerment of women and girls.

Reflecting on the statement delivered by Japan, we hear your urging for UN Women to coordinate and collaborate with other UN agencies in order for UN Women’s presence to be fully capacitated on the ground.

I further thank Switzerland, on behalf of 32 Member States, for highlighting the impact of the 2020 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR). We note its role in providing the UN Development System entities with a renewed mandate to further strengthen their commitment to and implementation of the UN Development System Reform, as well as to ensure increased coherence and collaboration towards achieving the 2030 Agenda. We further note the role of the QCPR in supporting UN Agencies in rapidly responding to crises, particularly in Afghanistan and Haiti. UN Women continues to stand ready to work with its partner agencies to support women and girls in such hardship situations.

I thank the Board for the robust discussion under the Structured Dialogue on Financing. UN Women feels that both the quality and value of the dialogue continue to increase. Let me stress UN Women’s commitment both to continue with this dialogue and to do so in an increasingly harmonized way with our UN partners.

We share delegates’ satisfaction with our record resource mobilization performance and the fact that we exceeded the 30 per cent target of the Funding Compact for share of overall resources received as Regular or core resources. However, I would like to stress that we continue to believe that the appropriate ratio of Regular to other resources for UN Women is 50/50 and we aspire to achieve that.

I appreciate the positive reaction to our ongoing efforts to influence financial flows for the achievement of SDG5 well beyond funding for UN Women. It is noted that this is a labour-intensive process, however we see it as an important area of work.

We welcome the Board’s openness to UN Women’s efforts to leverage individual giving to make up an increased share of Regular Resources mobilization. We believe this to be an essential component to achieve our Regular Resources ambitions and appreciate the Board’s encouragement in this regard.

I would like to underscore that the proposed Regular Resource projection for 2022-2023 is ambitious yet still a realistic goal. With Member States’ support, UN Women is confident that it can meet its revenue targets and reaffirm its commitment to continue efforts to strengthen agility through more diversity and geographical representation.

Distinguished delegates, we all agree that UN Women’s role in promoting the empowerment of women and girls and ensuring that their rights are safeguarded has never been so critical as it is in this moment. The solidarity and commitment that you brought to this session will be essential in ensuring that UN Women can carry out its essential mandate on the road ahead.

In closing, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to our UN Women experts who offered presentations over this two-day session and thank the Secretary of the Executive Board, Mr. Jean-Luc Bories, and his team who have successfully delivered UN Women’s first virtual and in person hybrid Board session.

I thank you for your attention.

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