Remarks by Ambassador Frederick Barton, U.S. Special Representative to the Economic and Social Council, Upon the Adoption of the System-Wide Coherence Resolution

Ambassador Rick Barton
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
July 2, 2010


Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Delegates,

The United States welcomes the adoption of this landmark resolution creating UN Women – a new, consolidated agency that will give one powerful voice to UN efforts to strengthen gender equality and empower women around the world.

This resolution is the product of years of effort and months of intensive negotiations over the final details. It shows what we can accomplish when we transcend traditional differences and work across boundaries towards a common purpose. Let me express our deep appreciation for the skill and dedication of the two co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Estonia and Tunisia, and for the guidance that you, the President of the General Assembly and your designated representative, the Permanent Representative of India, provided in the crucial final stages of the negotiations.

Our efforts have also built on groundwork laid by co-facilitators from the 61st, 62nd and 63rd General Assemblies. They also benefited from the personal commitment of Secretary-General Ban and Deputy Secretary-General Migiro. We thank them, along with all the experts who labored so hard to create this new body.

Let us be clear on why this agency is so needed. So many women and girls around the world face daunting challenges – some common to all women, some particular to their own unique circumstances. So many women and girls will have high expectations for this vital new agency. The United States looks forward to working with UN Women, which has an impressive mandate to deal with the full range of issues that affect women’s lives – from women’s rights to women’s economic empowerment; from women, peace and security to women’s political participation – to make sure that these high expectations are realized.

This new agency must be a catalyst within the UN system, ensuring that UN Funds and Programs and the UN Secretariat fully address the issues within their mandates that affect women and girls. We also expect UN Women to undertake new activities on the ground to support women in areas that have not yet been fully addressed by the UN system.

To play this challenging and ambitious role, UN Women will need a dynamic, strong, and innovative leader—one who will bring fresh perspective, great energy, and deep skill to the UN’s efforts to improve the lives of women in the 21st century. We urge the Secretary-General to appoint such a leader before the start of the next General Assembly in September, as mandated by the resolution we have just adopted.

While we have naturally focused today on the establishment of UN Women, we should also take note of the significant progress that this resolution represents in other areas of the System-Wide Coherence agenda. The resolution recognizes the importance of improving the system for funding operational activities and expanding the donor base. It also highlights the need to improve executive-board oversight by making it easier for national policymakers from developing countries to participate. The United States will continue to work with our partners on these issues as they arise.

Mr. President, the creation of this important new agency has been a collaborative effort involving many actors over many years, but in a sense, our work has just begun. Now that this entity is a reality rather than an aspiration, we will all be put to the test. Now we must demonstrate our collective commitment to make UN Women a success – and to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

Thank you.


PRN: 2010/134