Joint Pacific Statement: Anual Session Of The UN Women: Agenda Item 4: Report Of The Regional Architecture Review
"...We welcome the update on progress of the transformation of the management and structure of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. The Regional Architecture Review marks the final phase of this transformation. We look forward to its implementation. We are expecting noticeable improvements at the country level as a result. Although, in the Pacific region there are some areas where we are already seeing improvements, as was noted in the report on the Progress on the UN Women Strategic Plan, 2011-2013..."
"Joint Pacific Statement on behalf of
Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu
Ms. Amanda Ellis
Deputy Secretary International Development
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
to the Annual Session of the UN-Women
Agenda Item 4: Report of the Regional Architecture Review
May 30, 2012
Thank you Mr President.
I have the honour today to speak on behalf Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and my own country, New Zealand.
I want to begin by thanking Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Women, Michelle Bachelet, for her statement to the Executive Board and her presentation of the Annual Report; and the Deputy Executive Director for his Report of the Regional Architectural Review.
We welcome the update on progress of the transformation of the management and structure of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
The Regional Architecture Review marks the final phase of this transformation. We look forward to its implementation. We are expecting noticeable improvements at the country level as a result. Although, in the Pacific region there are some areas where we are already seeing improvements, as was noted in the report on the Progress on the UN Women Strategic Plan, 2011-2013. So on behalf of the Pacific countries joined in this statement, I would like to say that we are happy with the direction UN-Women is taking even at this stage.
For many countries in the Pacific, regional organisations and regional coordination are of great importance. A good example of regional cooperation is the Forum Compact on Strengthening Donor Coordination. Therefore the review of the regional architecture has special relevance for us. We recognise this has been taken into account in the review, and we value the emphasis on accessibility to UN-Women offices for countries for which geographic distance is a factor.
We are also encouraged by assurances that the Pacific region will see a strengthened presence as a result of the Regional Architecture Review. The UN-Women Suva Office, we understand, will have the delegated authority and resources to continue and enhance its engagement in regional policy dialogue and regional coordination.
At the Annual Session in 2011, Samoa on behalf of a similar group of Pacific countries, raised three main issues of special importance. First was the issue of field coverage in the Pacific region: we strongly supported strengthening UN-Women's presence. This plays an important part in delivering on the expectations stakeholders have of UN-Women.
In many Pacific countries, UNIFEM in the past and now UN-Women have played a key role in supporting governments and women's organisations throughout the Pacific. All were keen to see this continue and enhanced. For example, in Timor-Leste, UN Women has successfully supported efforts aimed at increasing women’s participation at all levels of decision making, especially rural women at the district and village levels. These activities are also targeted towards reaching the goal set by the Timorese government of 35% women’s representation in Parliament by 2015. This will build on the current achievement of 29%.
Secondly, we asked for consideration for the early establishment and resourcing of Civil Society Advisory Groups compromising thematic gender experts to guide the implementation of the UN-Women Strategic Plan in the region.
Thirdly, we recommended greater authority and delegation for decision-making in the field. We see this decentralised authority, along the lines of UNFPA, as essential for the regional, multi-country and country offices to run smoothly and efficiently. Delegated authority has the potential to support tailored programming approaches to the particular opportunities and challenges at the regional and country levels.
We see all these improvements as strengthening UN-Women’s engagement in the important UN-wide initiatives such as Delivering as One, and partnerships across a range of sectors, including with the private sector.
We are therefore very pleased to note that all three requests have been well addressed in the report; and to hear in a recent briefing that UN-Women field offices have been directed to establish the national civil society advisory groups.
However, we also wish to stress the importance of retaining a regional focus for UN-Women in the Pacific. Strengthening UN Women's presence at the country level is important, but just as important is UN Women’s prominent voice on gender equality and women's empowerment in the Pacific through engagement with regional organisations. We welcome the assurances that this vision is shared by UN-Women.
Regional policy dialogue and advocacy by UN-Women is highly valued by the countries across the region. For example, the UN-Women's Suva Office works with regional groups such as the PIFS Reference Group on Sexual and Gender Based Violence, of which UN-Women is a member. It also engages in key regional meetings such as the Pacific Women's Ministers Meeting.
This is a significant and valued role within the Pacific region and we are encouraged by the message from UN-Women that this will be strengthened and properly resourced as a result of the review.
The announcement of the global civil society advisory group is also good news.
We welcome UN Women’s commitment to support women universally, and to consider how best to achieve this through a transformed regional structure – one that not only delivers UN-Women’s programme more efficiently, but builds on and coordinates better with UN agencies and other regional organisations that share the region. This will help to deliver results in a way that is truly coherent and doesn’t create gaps.
We look forward to the decision at the Second Regular Session on the best model so that implementation can begin speedily.
Finally Mr President,
On behalf of Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu and my own country, New Zealand., I want to warmly congratulate Madam Bachelet on her leadership in the structural transformation of the Entity. We very much support the direction being taken by UN-Women, including with the review of the regional architecture, and are eager to see its finalisation and implementation in the near future.
We look forward to working with UN-Women to strengthen gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Pacific region in the coming year, and of course across the globe.
I thank you."