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DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF UNESCO

Director-General at joint biennial workshop of the UN Interagency Network on Women and Gender Equality and the OECD-DAC Network on Gender Equality

Director-General at joint biennial workshop of the UN Interagency Network on Women and Gender Equality and the OECD-DAC Network on Gender Equality
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On 28 January 2008, the Director-General participated in the opening session of the joint biennial workshop of the UN Interagency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) and the OECD-DAC Network on Gender Equality (GENDERNET), which took place at the OECD’s newly renovated Conference Centre in Paris.

Also participating in this session were Mr Mario Amano, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, and Mr Eckhard Deutscher, Chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. Mrs Rachel Mayanja, Chair of IANWGE and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women was unable to attend. She was represented by Ms Marcela Villarreal, Director for Gender, Equity and Rural Employment Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Mr Matsuura began his address by congratulating the organisers of the meeting on this initiative given the undeniable importance of enhancing partnerships between multilateral and bilateral agencies in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment, especially if MDG 3 is to be realised. In this regard he underlined the importance of the Monterrey Consensus, and the Third High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, and expressed the hope that they would come together to prioritize financing for gender equality.

While he commended the past efforts in mobilizing funds by those working for gender equality, he nevertheless called for enhanced efforts, including through the commitment by traditional funding of regular resources to the promotion of gender equality and the adoption by them of gender-responsive budget. “But this alone is not enough”, he said. “We must also look towards new and innovative sources of funding such as private foundations”.

The Director-General went on to inform the meeting on how UNESCO is demonstrating its renewed priority for gender issues, including through its designation as one of two global priorities in the Medium-Term Strategy for 2008-2013 and the Programme and Budget for 2008-2009. “The Medium-Term Strategy commits UNESCO to prepare a results-based Gender Equality Action Plan for 2008-2013, which will identify the actions envisaged by UNESCO in its fields of competence, with concrete results, timelines and budget allocations”, he stated.

Mr Matsuura also informed the meeting of his recent reclassification of the Section for Women and Gender Equality of the Bureau of Strategic Planning – UNESCO’s central coordinating and monitoring entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment – to the Division for Gender Equality, of his promotion of its head, Ms Gülser Corat, to the Director level, and of his invitation for her to join the Directorate.

To demonstrate the manner in which complementary innovative partnerships and practices can work, the Director-General made reference to UNESCO’s two flagship partnerships: the L’OREAL-UNESCO partnership “For Women in Science”, which awards outstanding female scientists around the world with fellowships and prize money to pursue their careers; and the UNESCO-Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Global Partnership for Gender Equality, which involves top female tennis stars such as Venus Williams in global fundraising efforts to support projects for women’s leadership and gender equality around the world. “Initiatives such as these partnerships cannot and should not take the place of bilateral or multilateral funding” he said. “However, given the tremendous resources needed to achieve international commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of women, new partnerships must be considered and sought out”.

Mr Matsuura highlighted the importance of the UN family working together to pool resources and expertise in the pursuit of gender equality and women’s empowerment, including through the “Delivering as One” pilot projects at the country level, or through interagency mechanisms such as the IANWGE developed system-wide gender equality policy, strategy and action plan, and the UNDG Task Team on Gender Equality’s Gender Equality Scorecard for UN Country Teams.

In concluding his remarks, the Director-General expressed his willingness to submit, on behalf of the participants, the conclusions and recommendations of their deliberations to the next meeting of the Chief Executives Board (CEB), to take place in Berne, Switzerland, in April 2008.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info N° 013-2008
  • 04-02-2008
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