Remarks By Laurie Shestack Phipps, Adviser, at the Executive Board of UN Women

Laurie Shestack Phipps
Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs 
New York, NY
November 28, 2012


Thank you, Ambassador Kim, and thank you, Executive Director Bachelet, for your continued support for women worldwide. Your statement today served as an excellent reminder of how important our working together is to empowering women around the world.

Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates, as we saw in this morning's engaging video, UN Women has already done much to promote and protect the human rights of women. UN Women’s work in this area has important benefits for girls as well. We appreciate that more needs to be done. Our shared commitment to women’s empowerment is about equality and fairness. It is also about the fact that empowering women brings significant benefits to the communities in which the women participate. It bolsters the development, economic prosperity, and stability of their nations.

The United States continues to encourage UN Women to build its capacity to coordinate the UN system’s efforts on behalf of women and girls. In that regard, we strongly support ensuring that women are fully represented in the UN quadrennial comprehensive policy review. Their voices are so instrumental if we want to ensure the UN continues to advance women’s economic and political empowerment worldwide and to protect women from violence.

We know that we cannot accomplish this without a QCPR that takes women fully into account. That’s why, in the QCPR resolution, we seek to mainstream a gender perspective and pursue gender equality and the empowerment of women across all organizations of the UN development system. We call for increased investment in and focus on achieving goals relating to women’s empowerment and gender equality, as well as increased accountability and concrete benchmarks to accurately measure progress toward those goals. We also welcome the System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, under the leadership of UN Women, and call for it to be fully implemented as soon as possible. In this QCPR, we seek to send a strong and unequivocal message about the critical importance of the gender perspective to development, and reiterate our continued support for improved integration of a gender perspective and women’s empowerment issues throughout the UN system.

We are pleased to see that this meeting of the Executive Board focuses on UN Women’s new regional architecture plans. We are hopeful that these changes in the regional and country focus will allow better and quicker knowledge sharing. We champion UN Women’s efforts to minimize costs, especially within the framework of restructuring to a more decentralized model. We emphasize that UN Women should continue to prioritize putting strong leaders in the field who are willing and able to coordinate well with UN and other relevant actors. We look forward to efficient and effective implementation of these constructive changes.

Of course, a good deal of time and effort must be devoted to financial, budgetary, and administrative matters, including progress toward harmonized cost recovery and the costs of the regional architecture changes, especially as discussed in the Report of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions on those issues. We are concerned by the ACABQ’s assessment that UN Women might not have taken into account all of the associated costs of its regional architecture reforms. As a result, we’re pleased to see that UN Women will consider these issues moving forward. We also look forward to UN Women’s final proposal on a harmonized cost-recovery methodology.

As the ACABQ report also notes, effective oversight and suitable accountability mechanisms need to be in place prior to implementing the proposed regional architecture. We appreciate that UN Women is addressing these issues. We further encourage UN Women to achieve greater transparency and accountability. It remains too difficult for the public, press and member states to access budget, financial, and audit information of the diverse UN bodies. Audits and reports by UN funds and programs should be online and available to the public. We applaud recent commitments to transparency from UN Women’s leadership, and we look forward to the adoption of a UN Women policy during this session on the disclosure of internal audit reports.

This summer, ECOSOC adopted a consensus resolution on the importance of mainstreaming gender throughout the UN system, giving UN Women some new tools to use with their sister agencies, including the System-Wide Action Plan on gender mainstreaming. We believe this plan provides an important step for UN Women to be able to gather data on what succeeds and what really does not. Mechanisms that help measure our success in empowering women worldwide are crucial in supporting and developing policies and programs that work. We look forward to SWAP’s further implementation as an accountability framework for gender equality and the empowerment of women, and will continue to urge all parts of the UN system to use this new tool effectively.

As you know, in September, Secretary Clinton launched Equal Futures, a partnership between the U.S. and other nations to enable women to participate fully in public life and to lead and benefit from inclusive economic growth. As part of its broader efforts in these areas, UN Women will work with the Equal Futures Partnership in the areas of economic and political empowerment and ending violence against women, through technical advice, knowledge and capacity development, facilitating and sharing of best practices, and supporting implementation of commitments at the country level. UN Women will also use its existing knowledge networks to help disseminate the experience coming from this initiative, in order to benefit those working for gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the world. We thank you in advance for your collaboration on this important initiative, which fits in with the organization's strategic plan.

The United States would like to commend UN Women for its use of the Paper Smart approach to providing documentation for the Executive Board. Mr. President, the United States appreciates our collaborative and productive relationship with UN Women’s management team and the other Board members. We will continue to work together for a world where women and girls can fulfill their own potential, fully enjoy their rights, and play a central role in national growth, security, and development.

Thank you all.


PRN: 2012/279