Remarks at a Meeting on the UN Women Executive Board

Ambassador Kelley Currie
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
February 13, 2018


Madam President, Excellencies, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to congratulate Madam President and thank our energetic Executive Director for her opening remarks.

The United States thanks the Executive Director and her team for working to make UN Women more efficient and streamlined in order to advance its priorities. Highlighting women’s empowerment and gender equality is important for developing and developed countries alike, and we support activities in broad areas of women’s political and economic empowerment, including eliminating violence against women; working with women in conflict, natural disaster, and other emergency situations; and countering violent extremism against women and girls.

We note that UN Women’s earmarked funding has nearly doubled since 2012 and that the organization has nearly met its benchmark goal of $500 million for 2018 global activities. This is in part because it has initiated effective partnerships with member states and private sector actors – including civil society, businesses, foundations, and the media. We appreciate that UN Women has emphasized results-based management practices and strong monitoring, reporting, and evaluation functions.

We thank you for the briefing on UN Women’s follow-up to recommendations from the UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board, leveraging innovation and technology to empower women, and look forward to the briefing later today on operational activities in Haiti. We have some brief comments on the background papers that have been provided. We understand that UN Women supports countries in incorporating gender and human rights considerations into their HIV/AIDS strategies and advocates for survivor participation in decision-making processes. Further, we note UN Women’s role in promoting evidence-based strategies to equip women and girls with essential skills, including STEM education and access to information and communication technologies. We appreciate programming that is field-driven and results-oriented and that improves the lives of women on the ground.

UN Women’s role in improving the situation of Haitian women illustrates how the organization can promote women’s political participation and economic and employment opportunities; promote resilience; provide protection against the effects of natural disasters; and form partnerships to provide the needed resources for recovery.

Finally, we acknowledge UN Women’s commitment to humanitarian reforms, and its engagement with the UN’s main humanitarian actors. In this regard, I want to commend UN Women for their good work in the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh. In addition, we look forward to additional progress from UN Women on their plans and timelines for work in humanitarian response, especially in avoiding duplication of mandates and efforts of other UN agencies already operating in the field, while also promoting partnerships and achieving greater accountability.

Finally, we urge UN Women, as we urge all UN Funds, Programs and agencies, to focus on its core competencies, target its resources to the most vulnerable and resist the temptation to engage in areas where it offers no or limited comparative advantage. In doing so, UN Women can continue to serve as a model for effective implementation of its mandate.

Thank you.