Fifty countries voice support for UN Women at pledging event
Date: Friday, June 28, 2013
(28 June, 2013) Fifty Governments voiced their support for UN Women and dozens announced funding commitments during a special pledging event for the organization on 26 June, during the 2013 annual session of its Executive Board at UN Headquarters in New York.
UN Women’s programmes and activities are sustained by voluntary financial contributions from Governments, foundations, corporations, organizations and individuals. In 2012, UN Women received an estimated USD $218 million in total contributions from Governments, well below its annual operating budget target of USD $300 million.
“Even though the situation is challenging, we have rolled up our sleeves, and we have done more with less; we have shown value for money,” said UN Women Acting Head and Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri. “Today I call on you to recognize our strong performance and on the basis of our results and achievements, to invest significantly in UN Women in order to give us the necessary stability and sustainability needed to deliver on our mandate.”
Pledges announced at the event include 10 from countries that will increase their contributions to UN Women’s regular budget; 14 countries announcing multi-year pledges; and five countries committing funding for the first-time.
Among the countries announcing increases, Finland will double its current contribution, from 7 to 14 million euros (approximately USD $18 million) next year – making it one of UN Women’s top donors.
“We want already to take the opportunity, at this crucial moment in the life of UN Women, to indicate our intention to double our contribution to UN Women next year … hoping that it will encourage others to do the same,” said Jarmo Viinanen, Finnish Permanent Representative to the UN. “This is not ‘business as usual’. This is an extremely significant signal on the importance that we place on gender issues, on the crucial role of UN Women, and our high expectations for its work.”
Another 10 countries also pledged to increase their funding for 2013 and/or future years.
“In order to see UN Women live up to its full potential and high expectations for the organisation that we all share, the organisation must be appropriately funded,” said Gary Quinlan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN.
He reiterated Australia’s four-year USD $44.3-million contribution and urged Member States to not only increase levels of funding but attempt to make their pledges multi-year. “Such multi-year commitments are imperative to allow UN Women the predictability in its budget situation and allow it to effectively plan for the future.”
First-time donor countries announced at the event include Burundi, Mali, Malawi, Monaco and Romania.
Speaking on behalf of the Ambassador of Malawi, Janet Karim said the establishment of a UN Women country office in Malawi, had “vastly added value to the work in my country of promoting and achieving gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and unlocking progress for women in Malawi. The delegation of Malawi is therefore proud to join other pledging delegations.”
Malawi’s commitment mirrors previous trends of a growing number of developing countries contributing to UN Women.
Ms. Puri thanked all Member States for their political as well as resounding financial support and vowed to deliver life-changing results worldwide.
“Given the crises confronting our world today, from financial instability to climate change, the mission to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment remains as visionary and as relevant as ever,” concluded Ms. Puri.