Video message delivered by UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet during the high-level global meeting Increasing Accountability and Development Effectiveness through Gender-Responsive Planning and Budgeting in Kigali, Rwanda, 26 July 2011.
I would like to begin by thanking the Government of Rwanda for hosting this high-level meeting on gender-responsive planning and budgeting. I believe that in this room today we have national partners and donors that have had leading experiences in ensuring that national planning and budgeting responds to women’s needs and priorities. Although I am unable to be with you in person, I am delighted to address such an august gathering through this message.
Last month, the first Strategic Plan for UN Women was approved by its executive board marking an important moment in the history of the UN System. The strategy outlines a road map for the work of this new organization to support the realization of the goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment. One of the six objectives of this Strategic Plan is “ensuring that planning and budgeting processes promote gender equality.” I consider this a strategic objective that is meant to help us achieve our goals for women’s empowerment and gender equality in all areas and sectors.
Achieving this objective requires the commitment and leadership of Ministries of Finance. These ministries are not only the gate keepers but also in charge of putting in place systems that recognize gender equality as a key component of achieving development results at sector and local level. Ministries of Finance can ensure tracking of allocation and spending towards the priorities of women and girls. Amongst many present in this room, are some of the most advanced experiences from around the world. As policy makers, there is a nothing more useful than data and evidence that help address the development challenges and make informed decisions about budget priorities. Data on budgets and on results can make sure that the needs of women and girls are not invisible for ministries of finance and sector ministries.
Effective development is one that achieves prosperity and equity for all. This would not be possible to achieve without powerful alliances between governments, academia, civil society, donors and UN organizations. The work of civil society organizations and parliamentarians, who play the important role of budgetary oversight, cannot be under-estimated. UN Women has supported efforts of non-governmental organizations to demand greater accountability on financing gender equality. We will continue to support strengthened capacities of women parliamentarians and women’s organizations for effective budget oversight.
Donors play a key role in supporting national efforts and priorities in addressing gender inequality. In this respect, I want to acknowledge the support of the European Commission, the governments of Belgium and Spain who have provided immense support to efforts that aim at building gender responsive systems of planning and budgeting. This support has made possible important experiences in integrating gender in public finance management systems and public sector reforms that are cited around the world.
We are also looking closer to home. UN Women is working with UN partners to assess the feasibility of a system-wide approach to disaggregating budgets by gender, building on the work of other UN organizations — including UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and UN-OCHA — all of who have gender markers in their financial management systems, which aims to increase UN accountability on gender equality.
This meeting comes at an important time.
UN Women is working with women’s networks and machineries worldwide, the OECD and the UNDG to prepare for the fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) hosted in Korea in November 2011. It is our hope that we see a strong voice for gender equality at this meeting with clear commitments to increasing investment in financing to address gender inequality and track the impact of such investment in promoting gender equality. The HLF-4 offers an opportunity for bold and concrete action on gender equality and women’s empowerment.
On behalf of UN Women, and the entire UN system, I wish you well in your deliberations and look forward to the outcome of the meeting.