During the meeting, he had the opportunity to exchange views with the Group on concrete steps that could be taken to enhance UNESCOís action to promote the empowerment of women and gender equality in the Organizationís programmes and within the Secretariat itself.
The Director-General commended the establishment of this Group and expressed the hope that they would be able to contribute actively to UNESCOís action to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women in general. In this regard, he invited them to work with the Secretariat in the organization of its events to celebrate Womenísí Day on 8 March 2007.
The Director-General went on to endorse the view expressed in her opening remarks by the President of the Group, Mrs Indira Thacoor-Sidiya, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Mauritius to UNESCO, that UNESCO must continue to pursue its efforts to contribute to gender equality and the empowerment of women in all its areas of competence, as well as in the structure and functions of the Secretariat. He also underlined his own personal commitment and the priority he gives to gender issues, and informed them that UNESCO has for the first time achieved parity in the professional category, making it the first amongst UN agencies to reach these results. He nevertheless recognized that at the Director levels and above, the imbalance was still ongoing.
Mr Matsuura explained that one way in which he tries to ensure that gender concerns are mainstreamed into all the Organizations work is by keeping their management centralised in the planning unit. He expressed the hope that the United Nations would soon begin to implement the recommendation of the High-level Panel on UN Coherence to establish a coordination mechanism for all gender equality/womenísí empowerment activities in the UN system, and expressed the view that this would help concentrate the impact of the systemís activities in this area.
The Group of Women Ambassadors of UNESCO was established on the initiative of Mrs Indira Thacoor-Sidiya on 6 October 2006. Thus far, it has 45 members. Its aim is to assist the Organization in strengthening its work in the promotion of gender equality and womenís empowerment by playing a central role in the sharing of information on, and the promotion of these issues both within the Organization and in Member States.
Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info Nį 020-2007 - Publication Date: 09-02-2007