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), will enable the new Board to come together prior to the official establishment on 1 January 2011 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 from Western Europe and 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 and Tanzania.
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, 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.