UN Women and UNIFEM Australia

on Tuesday, 15 May 2012. Posted in Milestones for Australia

UN Women and UNIFEM Australia

In 2010 Member States today took the next step in enabling the newly-created United Nations agency on gender equality and women’s empowerment to begin its work by electing countries to serve on its Executive Board.

The elections, held in the 54-member Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), are an important milestone in establishing the governance structure of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

The 41 board members were selected on the following basis: 10 from Africa, 10 from Asia, 4 from Eastern Europe, 6 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 5 fromWestern Europeand 6 from contributing countries.

Elected from the African Group were Angola, Cape Verde, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria andTanzania. Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Republic of Korea and Timor-Leste were elected from among the Asian States.

Estonia, Hungary, Russia and Ukraine were elected from among the Eastern European States, while Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden were elected from the Western European and Other States.

In addition, the Council elected Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada and Peru from the group of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The Council also elected Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Kingdom and United States from among the “contributing countries,” for three-year terms beginning today.

The 35 members elected from the regional groups will serve two-year and three-years, beginning today, as determined by the drawing of lots.

Chosen to serve two-year terms were Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, El Salvador, Estonia, France, India, Italy, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania and Timor-Leste.

Angola, Cape Verde, China, Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Grenada, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sweden and Ukraine were selected to serve three-year terms.

Headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, UN Women is the merger of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI), and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

The new agency was established on 2 July by a unanimous vote of the General Assembly to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs. One of its goals will be to support the Commission on the Status of Women and other inter-governmental bodies in devising policies.

It will also aim to help Member States implement standards, provide technical and financial support to countries which request it, and forge partnerships with civil society. Within the UN, it will hold the world body accountable for its own commitments on gender equality.

In carrying out its functions, UN Women will be working with an annual budget of at least $500 million — double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.

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Australia takes up seat on UN Women Executive Board

Senator the Hon Bob Carr - Media release

27 April 2012

Australia's appointment to the UN Women Executive Board will further strengthen our commitment to women's empowerment, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said today.

Australia and Solomon Islands will both take up seats on the UN Women Executive Board from 1 January 2013, providing a unique opportunity to increase the profile of issues facing women in the Pacific, in particular the prevalence of violence against women.

“When I met with Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, earlier this month, I reaffirmed Australia's commitment to the cause of gender equality,” Senator Carr said.

“Through the Australian aid program, we bring about tangible improvements in the lives of women and girls by reducing violence against women, improving access to education, increasing economic empowerment and women's involvement in government, business and the community.

“With Australia's assistance, more women are being promoted to leadership roles in Papua New Guinea. Our support has helped to increase the number of female magistrates in the village courts system from 10 in 2004 to 685 in 2011,” Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr also announced Australia's support for UN Women's new Critical Services Initiative.

“This initiative aims to ensure that women and girls who have been subjected to violence can access critical services including emergency hotlines, police protection, shelter and housing, crisis counselling and health care,” Senator Carr said.

Australia will provide $400,000 in 2011-12 to support the development of kits and other material to help countries implement the initiative.

This is part of a $96 million package focused on combating violence against women in developing countries. This package was announced in 2011-12 and will run for four years.

(Photo: UN Women's Michele Bachelet)