Remarks at a Meeting of the UN Women Executive Board

Ambassador Michele J. Sison
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
February 14, 2017


Thank you, Madam Vice President. And we thank Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and UN Women’s dedicated and energetic staff for advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. In Myanmar, the community workshops you organized are helping end violence against women. And in Pakistan, by teaching women farmers about their land tenancy rights, you empowered these women economically. These are just two of the many examples of your commendable work.

The United States is pleased to comment on UN Women’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2021. We thank UN Women for conducting several informative workshops about the plan. And we support the plan’s emphasis on empowering women economically; ending violence against women, including conflict-related violence; enabling women’s leadership and political participation; humanitarian relief for women; and encouraging Member States to account for measurable achievements on gender equality commitments in national plans. We also appreciate UN Women’s emphasis on concrete achievements. Finally, we are pleased to note UN Women’s response to the 2016 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review and apply the guidance to its Strategic Plan. We look forward to continued discussion on this issue.

We commend UN Women’s efforts to ensure that achieving gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment are recognized as stand-alone challenges even as they cut across implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda. We’re also pleased that UN Women is using its catalysing and coordinating role in the UN system to put gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment at the center of SDG implementation. We stress that it is essential for funds, programs, agencies, and others in the UN system to collaborate to empower women and girls and achieve gender equality.

We commend UN Women’s Flagship Programming Initiatives for contributing to the strategic plan’s objectives. The Flagship Programming Initiatives have the advantage of being tailored to the needs of a particular country; addressing multiple SDGs; amplifying the impact of UN Women’s core funding; and allowing UN Women to partner with other UN agencies.

We also thank the Independent Evaluation Office for its thorough report on the Regional Architecture program. We support the report’s four main recommendations to bolster UN Women’s field results: strategically determining its presence in a particular country; allocating headquarters staff and resources to respond to field needs; ensuring expectations correspond to what can be achieved given resources; and developing and strengthening knowledge sharing. We encourage UN Women to focus on its monitoring, including improving its baseline data and outlining expected results and performance indicators. Enhancing these capabilities will allow UN Women to present a complete picture of the organization’s outcomes and impact.

With regard to preparing the 2018-2019 integrated budget, we agree that UN Women’s core resources are the foundation for its operational activities. We support the organization’s cost recovery efforts aimed at ensuring its regular budget is not used to subsidize programs sustained by other resources. We think it will be useful to include a separate budget line item for internal audit and investigation activities. And going forward, to convince government and private sector donors to invest in its important work, UN Women must publicize its accomplishments transparently. It must show that it can catalyse gender-related work throughout the UN. And it must demonstrate that its programs, including Flagship Programming Initiatives, complement rather than duplicate UN gender-related efforts.


Thank you, and thank you very much for your good work.