The Canadian National Committee of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM Canada)

The Canadian National Committee of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM Canada)

July 07, 2010 10:10 ET

United Nations General Assembly Votes on the Creation of a Strong United Nations Women's Entity on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 7, 2010) - On July 2nd 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created a new gender entity to accelerate progress for women's rights and programs in the developing world and meet the increasingly important challenges facing women and girls across the world in the near future. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – to be known as UN Women - has been established as part of the UN reform agenda, to bring together resources and mandates for greater impact.

UN Women, which will be operational by January, 2011, merges the four previously distinct parts of the UN system which focused exclusively on gender equality and women's empowerment:

  • Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW, established in 1946)
  • International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW, established in 1976)
  • Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI, established in 1997)
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, established in 1976)

UN Women will have two key roles: It will support inter-governmental bodies such as the Commission on the Status of Women in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms, and it will help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, as well as forging effective partnerships with civil society. It will also help the UN system to be accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will appoint an Under-Secretary-General to head UN Women, so as to ensure the necessary authority and leadership. The Under-Secretary-General will be a member of all senior UN decision-making bodies and will report to the Secretary-General.

One of the main aims of creating UN Women is to strengthen the UN's ability to provide coherent, timely and demand-driven support to UN Member States, at their request, in their efforts to realize equality for all women and girls. It will be up to each Member State to decide what kind of support UN Women will provide in that country. UN Women will initially continue to work in the 80 countries in which UNIFEM currently has a presence. Priority for enhanced capacity will be given to country-level efforts and, over time, UN Women will scale up to support every country that requests assistance. Achieving that goal, however, will depend on the availability of human and financial resources.

UNIFEM's National Committee in Canada is looking forward to this new era of working towards gender equality and women's empowerment in a more effective, collaborative and coherent way. To optimize the success of UN Women, it is crucial that strong and dynamic relationships between UN Women and civil society partners be built across the globe in order for the goals of the UN to be achieved. The UN Resolution which creates UN Women urges Member States to ensure that adequate financial resources are committed and supports an increased operational presence at the country level, to build on the work of all the four parts of the UN that are being consolidated, including UNIFEM's programmatic work.

At least US $500 million — double the current combined budget of DAW, INSTRAW, OSAGI, and UNIFEM — has been recognized by Member States as the minimum investment needed for UN Women.

Almas Jiwani, President of United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Canada expressed her sincere gratitude to the Canadian Government and CIDA for their outstanding support to UNIFEM for past several years and has appealed to the Government to support the new entity "We are very excited and highly supportive of the UN's new strategic direction on gender equality, which I believe will bring us into a new era of a much broader and more ambitious collaborative effort in the empowerment of women. I look forward to working with civil society partners and the UN System to further women's rights on an international and national scale. The creation of UN Women marks a great new beginning, not an end. The kind of work that UNIFEM has supported will continue as we merge into an institution that will be more robust and coherent, better positioned and resourced than the sum of its constituent parts. Through UN Women, we will be stronger in our mutual goal to end violence against women. Let's seize this moment, and the momentum, and work with renewed energy and enthusiasm." stated Ms. Jiwani.

About UNIFEM and UNIFEM Canada:

UNIFEM is the women's fund at the United Nations, dedicated to advancing women's rights and achieving gender equality. UNIFEM's National Committee Canada is one of eighteen national committees of UNIFEM worldwide. UNIFEM provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that foster women's empowerment. UNIFEM works on the premise that it is the fundamental right of every woman to live a life free from discrimination and violence and that gender equality is essential to achieving development and to building just societies.

UNIFEM National Committee Canada is a registered charity with the Federal Government with a charitable number of BN:892989765RR0001

Contact Information

  • For more information and interviews with Almas Jiwani,
    President of UNIFEM Canada, please contact:
    UNIFEM National Committee Canada
    Mr. Ovais Shah, National Board of Directors
    (613) 232-5751 Ext. 235