U.S. Deputy Representative to ECOSO
New York, New York
June 21, 2022
Thank you, Madam President and Executive Director Bahous for your opening remarks.
The United States appreciates its long standing relationship with UN Women, particularly at the country level, and acknowledges the organization’s critical contributions to advancing gender equality around the world. From Honduras to Egypt to Tanzania, we have seen the value of UN Women’s presence in cultivating and uplifting women leaders, enhancing gender awareness, and supporting national policies that advance gender equality.
As the United States mainstreams our commitment to gender equality across our foreign and domestic policy through the first ever U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, we call on all parts of the UN system to elevate gender equality as a priority in all aspects of international peace and security.
The United States would like to acknowledge UN Women’s critical contributions in several areas:
- First, we commend UN Women for elevating discussion around the challenges women and girls face in Ukraine because of Russia’s war of aggression. Your collaboration with civil society has helped meet the country’s humanitarian needs, accelerate recovery and peacebuilding efforts, and realize long-term national reforms. The United States supports the provision of gender experts to the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council.
- Second, we commend UN Women for tracking and reporting on Taliban policies in Afghanistan, no less than 12, that have rolled back the rights and freedoms of women and girls, affecting access to education and employment, protective services for survivors of gender-based violence, and freedom of movement and choice in dress.
- Third, we thank UN Women for continuing country-specific Gender Alerts and Gender Assessments, which call attention to evolving gender needs and considerations, including with timely documented evidence in humanitarian situations.
- Fourth, we take the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment (SEAH) seriously and commend UN Women’s increased attention to this issue, including their co-chair role for the interagency PSEA network in eight countries, and their focus on PSEA in Moldova in response to the evolving situation in Ukraine. How will UN Women measure both progress and lasting impact of its 2022 trainings to prevent SEAH?
To close, the United States calls on all UN agencies to strengthen the independence of their ethics, evaluation, and audit and internal investigation functions and to ensure whistleblower protections meet all required standards and are easily accessible to staff. Specifically, we call on the Executive Board and UN Women:
- To ensure that our annual workplan includes a discussion on ethics;
- Reconsider whether a one-day board meeting constitutes sufficient oversight. The United States firmly believes that all meetings should be at least two days, while also ensuring inclusivity and efficiency; and
- To include the participation of staff in future Board meetings to ensure their inputs are appropriately captured in our oversight efforts.