Australia and UN Women reaffirm partnership

Date: Thursday, January 19, 2017

In December 2016, the Government of Australia and UN Women signed a new four-year Partnership Framework Agreement, reaffirming their shared commitment to the advancement of women’s empowerment and gender equality in the Indo-Pacific region and globally.

The 2016-2020 Partnership Framework establishes a comprehensive set of shared principles and objectives, and lays out the future direction for the continued collaboration, including strengthening the coordination and promotion of gender equality within the United Nations system, enhancing women’s economic empowerment in the Pacific region, and ending violence against women and girls, among others.

“By signing this significant partnership framework, Australia and UN Women have reaffirmed their shared commitment to expanding economic opportunities for women, preventing violence against women and girls and amplifying the voices of women in leadership roles, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. “This is work will help build more resilient, sustainable, peaceful communities. These shared goals are at the heart of the drive to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

UN Women’s Aleta Miller with Hon Parveen Bala Kumar (Fiji’s Minister of Local Government), and Suzanne Bent (First Secretary of Gender Equality for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Fiji) in Rakiraki at the handover of tents that act as a temporary market space while the new market house is being built. Photo: UN Women/Murray Lloyd
Rakiraki Market vendors in Fiji greet (L-R) Aleta Miller, UN Women's Representative at the Fiji Multi-Country Office, Parveen Kumar, Fiji's Minister of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and the Environment, and Suzanne Bent, First Secretary Gender Equality - Fiji with the Australian Government, which funds the Markets for Change programme. Photo: UN Women/Murray Lloyd

The Partnership Framework also outlines Australia’s multi-year contribution of USD 22.74 million (AUD 31.16 million) to core resources over the next four years, providing UN Women with greater funding predictability and flexibility to support the implementation of the current Strategic Plans for 2014-2017 and the upcoming Plan for 2018-2021, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

A key strategic partner, Australia has provided critical financial and political support since the establishment of UN Women. In 2015, Australia was the third largest donor to non-core resources and eighth largest to core resources,making it the sixth largest overall donor to UN Women. 

As UN Women’s largest donor in the Pacific, Australia funds a range of initiatives to enhance women’s economic empowerment, strengthen women’s leadership and address high rates of violence against women in the region.

Since 2014, Australia has supported the Markets for Change, programme which is ensuring that marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive, and promote women’s participation in decision-making and leadership in Market Vendors Association (MVAs) Executive Committees. To date, 10,000 market vendors, most of whom are women, are now represented through MVAs, and advocate for their interests with market management and local authorities. The majority of MVAs have 50 per cent of women in leadership positions. In the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Winston, which devastated Fiji in February 2016, Australia provided USD 3.5 million (AUD 4.7 million) to support recovery efforts for the Markets for Change programme, which included establishing temporary market space for women market vendors.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop speaks at the launch of the "Making Every Woman and Girl Count" initiative. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop speaks at the launch of the “Making Every Woman and Girl Count” programme in New York on 21 September 2016. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

A longstanding advocate on the importance of gender statistics for evidence-based policy development, in 2016, Australia became the first donor to fund UN Women’s Gender Statistics flagship programme, Making Every Woman and Girl Count. Australia will contribute USD 4.73 (AUD 6.5 million) to the programme, which seeks to increase the availability of accurate data on gender equality and women’s rights to inform policy and decision-making.

Australia also supports UN Women through the provision of technical expertise. In 2016, it funded the engagement of former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, to work with senior business leaders in the UN Women Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council to promote gender equality within the private sector.

The Government is also a longstanding supporter of the Australian National Committee for UN Women, and collaborates annually on International Women’s Day events held across the country.