Closing Statement to the First Regular Session 2011 of the UN Women Executive Board

Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Speech delivered on behalf of Ms. Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, by Ms. Gülden Turkoz-Cosslet, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director and Head of the UN Women Transition Team, at the closing of the First Regular Session of the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, 26 January 2011.

[Check against delivery.]

Madame President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

As our first meeting of the Executive Board of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women comes to a close, I want to thank you, Madame President, the Vice Presidents and all members of the Executive Board for your thoughtful and considered response to the Vision and Action Plan that Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director Ms. Bachelet presented at the opening of the session. Thank you also for your approval of the essential elements of the first Support Budget for UN Women.

It is thanks to your strong support to gender equality and your commitment to have a dynamic and effective UN Women that we have been able to make great strides in a short amount of time. This historic session has set an important precedent for our work together: the positive dialogue, your flexibility and the high level of consensus in your deliberations establish a valuable model for future interactions. The guidance and support you have provided will help shape our collective work towards developing the full Strategic Plan and achieving its goals.

Over the last two days, we listened to your views carefully. Several delegations expressed support for the demand-driven approach we outlined, with customized programmes in each country. We heard from many of you about the need for a strengthened country presence. The Field Capacity Assessment, which will be completed in mid-February, will help us understand where the gaps are and where we are most urgently needed. This will be a core component and priority in the Strategic Plan.

We know that we have a challenging road ahead. As Ms. Bachelet said in her opening remarks, a strong and predicable financial resource base is essential to our ability to provide strategic and sustainable support to the countries where we work. We look forward to your continued efforts in the coming months to help us meet this challenge. We thank those delegations that announced increased financial contributions to UN Women and those who indicated they would maintain previous contributions.

Your approval of the Support Budget allows us to enhance country-level programmes, UN system coordination, and national capacity building on gender equality and women's empowerment. We are aware of the complications presented by having to make a decision on the Support Budget before the Strategic Plan and Field Capacity Assessment have been presented — and appreciate your understanding and flexibility. With a qualified and robust management structure and staff, at headquarters and at the country level, we will be able to closely align the two in the coming months. We look forward to briefing you on our progress in implementing the budget when we present our Strategic Plan in June.

Before ending, I would like to thank, on behalf of UN Women and our colleagues in the Board's Secretariat, the conference service officers, the skilled interpreters, translators and technicians who made this event run smoothly and effectively.

Madame President, Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

In closing, let me say that this is an exciting and promising time for all of us. The expectations are high. In meeting the challenges we face, we, like you, are determined to help address the challenges faced by millions of women in their daily lives. Together with your oversight and guidance, and continued strong support, we are confident we can make a big difference in meeting those challenges and make the vision of UN Women a reality.