Iceland hails plan to establish single new UN agency for women

26 September 2009

Iceland today welcomed recently announced plans to amalgamate four United Nations agencies and offices that promote the rights and well-being of women worldwide and encourage gender equality into one single entity within the Organization.

Iceland today welcomed recently announced plans to amalgamate four United Nations agencies and offices that promote the rights and well-being of women worldwide and encourage gender equality into one single entity within the Organization.

Speaking on the fourth day of the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, Icelandic Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson said the new unit – which will be headed by an official at the level of under-secretary-general – would be “very helpful,” particularly in promoting the idea that women should play a more active role in peace processes around the world.

On 14 September, the General Assembly adopted a resolution to set up a single agency after the proposal received unanimous support from UN Member States following years of discussions.

The new agency will represent the merging of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

Mr. Skarphéðinsson noted that next year marks the tenth anniversary of a landmark Security Council resolution of the rights of women to take part in peace processes in war-torn regions, and he called on the UN to actively use the milestone to reinforce the theme of the resolution.

He also noted that while he had heard some speakers criticize the UN during the high-level debate this week, “I would like to use this opportunity to praise the work of the UN. The UN has done well in times when the odds have sometimes been heavily stacked against [it].”

 

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