Interview with Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lövin

Date: Friday, July 7, 2017

 Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lövin. Photo: Kristian Pohl/Government Offices of Sweden
Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lövin. Photo: Kristian Pohl/Government Offices of Sweden

In 2016, the Government of Sweden donated a core contribution of USD 12 million to UN Women. In addition, the Government, through the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), contributed USD 30 million in multi-bi support – bringing its overall 2016 contribution to approximately USD 42 million and making Sweden UN Women’s largest donor. In an interview, Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister, Isabella Lövin explains why her Government believes UN Women’s work is such an important priority for its multilateral aid.

Why is gender equality important to your Government?

“Sweden has a feminist government and is the first country in the world to pursue a feminist foreign policy, so realising gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls is a top priority of the Swedish Government. Gender equality is not only a goal in itself, but also essential for the achievement of the Government’s other overall objectives, such as peace, security and sustainable development.”

How do you view UN Women’s global role for gender equality?

“The Swedish Government played an active role in the founding of UN Women. We attach great importance to both the organisation’s normative and operational roles for mainstreaming gender equality, women’s rights and empowerment. UN Women should secure increased capacity and expertise at regional and country level. A differentiated presence needs to be followed up by proper recruitment and support from HQ and regionally.

“I would like to see UN Women secure harmonised indicators on gender equality in the results framework of all funds and programmes. Moreover, UN Women should monitor and enhance the practical implementation of the women, peace and security agenda, and contribute to reporting to the main UN body.”

How do women’s empowerment and gender equality feature in your multilateral aid policy?

“The Swedish feminist foreign policy provides tools that will help to achieve concrete results that enhance both gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls within the entire Swedish Foreign Service. This will be done by implementing systematic gender mainstreaming, based on knowledge and analysis, throughout the foreign policy agenda, including Swedish development cooperation. Sweden gives 1 per cent of its GDI in ODA. We channel around half of our development assistance through multilateral organisations (and about half of that to the UN). We systematically advocate and convey key priorities such as equal rights and the role of women role in development.”