UN approves new entity: UN Women

Ten years ago at the Millennium Summit, leaders from around the world adopted eight Millennium Development goals that were broadly viewed as the new blueprint for national and international development policy ranging from halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to cutting in half the cases of extreme poverty worldwide. With a 15 year timeline, now only five years from expiration, the United Nations has proceeded to approve a groundbreaking new plan that will see tremendous investment shifted to where it decidedly matters most: Women.

On July 2nd, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously in support of a proposal to create a new entity that’s sole focus will be “to accelerate progress in meeting the needs of girls and women worldwide” (United Nations 2010). This new entity, to be called UN Women, will subsume and build on the work of four previously distinct UN entities enabling the UN to more efficiently and effectively “promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe” (Ki-moon 2010).  These merging entities are the Division for the Advancement of Women, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, and the United Nation’s Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

While it seems unlikely that the world will successfully meet the MDG’s by their 2015 deadline, the creation of UN Women is a major step in the right direction and should be viewed as official recognition of the need to advance the rights and status of women, not only to address the goals of promoting gender equality, improving maternal health, and reducing child mortality, but as a fundamental route toward making progress in each of the designated 8 areas.

Personally, after having spent the past 8 years working with HIV/AIDS oriented civil society organizations, I can say with full confidence that the most effective route to combating HIV/AIDS, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa where women are by far disproportionately affected, involves empowering women and girls and promoting reproductive health.  For this reason, and many others, I applaud the decision to create this new entity, and I excitedly look forward to seeing what comes of it all.

The following links provide a good starting point to learn more about the theme of Gender and Development:

Gender and Development: a only journal focussed specifically on international gender and development issues.

UN: Millennium Development Goals

UN Women

– JP Bervoets

Ki-moon, Ban. “Statement by the UN Secretary-General on the Creation of UN Women — UN Women.” Welcome to UN Women —. 2 July 2010. Web. 04 Sept. 2010. <http://www.unwomen.org/2010/07/statement-by-the-un-secretary-general-on-the-creation-of-un-women/&gt;.

United Nations. UN Creates New Structure for Empowerment of WomenWelcome to UN Women —. 2 July 2010. Web. 04 Sept. 2010. <http://www.unwomen.org/&gt;.


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  1. Iran’s contested bid to join UN Women [Updated] « Notes from the Field - November 10, 2010

    […] “like a joke” that Iran and Saudi Arabia could end up with seats on the board of the UN Women, the new UN entity responsible for accelerating the needs of women and girls […]

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