Executive Boards of UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, UNICEF and WFP jointly visit Colombia

Date: Monday, June 3, 2019

Executive Boards of UN Women, UNICEF, WFP discussed the binational project supported by the Peacebuilding Fund to protect people at Ecuador- Colombia border who are affected by the conflict and human trafficking. Photo: UN Women/Luis Ponce
Executive Boards of UN Women, UNICEF, WFP discussed the binational project supported by the Peacebuilding Fund to protect people at Ecuador- Colombia border who are affected by the conflict and human trafficking. Photo: UN Women/Luis Ponce

From 11-18 May, members of the Executive Boards of UNDP/UNFPA/UNOPS, the Executive Board of UNICEF, of UN-Women and of WFP visited Colombia as the first joint field visit of the Executive Boards in that country. This joint visit purpose is to assess the way the UN operational agencies are supporting the national development priorities of the Government of Colombia. The delegation was composed among others, of the four Presidents of the four Executive Boards, representing Egypt, Morocco, Republic of Korea and Trinidad and Tobago.

The UN Women delegation included President of the Executive Board, Pennelope Beckles, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the UN; Vice President Katalin Bogyay, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN; and other members of the Executive Board. 

Executive Boards of UN Women, UNICEF, WFP visited sustainable organic farming project in Nariño, Colombia. Photo: UN Women/Luis Ponce
Executive Boards of UN Women, UNICEF, WFP visited sustainable organic farming project in Nariño, Colombia. Photo: UN Women/Luis Ponce

The delegation met with the national government in Bogotá to learn about the impact of the joint programmes of UN Women together with other UN agencies on peace and security issues, political participation, ending violence against women and girls, etc. and emphasized its commitment to continue working with the Government of Colombia, including through coordination and programmatic support to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment for sustainable peace and development.

The Executive Board also met with civil society representatives to recognize their efforts that have been essential for many of the country’s key advancements, including the adoption of the Final Peace Agreement. UN Women Representative in Colombia, Ana Guezmes said, “UN Women is committed to continue working closely with the Government and civil society, to strengthen institutional capacity for the protection of women and girls, adolescents and youth, and to ensure the promises for women’s human rights are fulfilled. We consider this a critical part of our work to make sure that no one is left behind, which is a goal in itself, as well as a pre-condition for sustaining peace in Colombia.”

UN Women Representative Ana Guezmes and Ambassador Katalin Bogyay of Hungary pictured here, along with the Executive Board members visiting facility for migrants at the Colombia- Ecuador border, at Rumichaca Bridge. Photo: UN Women/Luis Ponce
UN Women Representative Ana Guezmes and Ambassador Katalin Bogyay of Hungary pictured here, along with the Executive Board members visiting facility for migrants at the Colombia- Ecuador border, at Rumichaca Bridge. Photo: UN Women/Luis Ponce

A visit to the department of Nariño in the south of Colombia showcased more interagency collaboration, as well as collaboration with gender mechanisms of the department of Nariño and the municipalities, to carry out gender-responsive budgets, which among other activities, has enhanced women’s economic empowerment and awareness of their rights. 

The delegation visited the border with Ecuador next, to meet migrant women who are calling for more opportunities to lead a dignified life with their children.

President of the Executive Board, Ambassador Pennelope Beckles visits child-friendly space at Rumichaca International Bridge. Photo: UN Women/Luis Ponce
President of the Executive Board, Ambassador Pennelope Beckles visits child-friendly space at Rumichaca International Bridge. Photo: UN Women/Luis Ponce

In addition, the delegation participated in a dialogue with the local Government about the first bi-national project of the Peace Building Fund for Latin America, that will be led by UN Women along with UNICEF and UNHCR, aiming to eliminate sexist stereotypes and gender-based violence. The project will serve as a valuable learning exchanges between the respective agencies in Colombia and Ecuador.

“For UN Women as the lead agency for the project, it constitutes an opportunity to reinforce the coordination mandate of UN Women within the UN as well as a strategic opportunity to promote gender mainstreaming in the different actions carried out by the two countries, by international actors and by civil society working on the border of Ecuador and Colombia,” said Ambassador Beckles.

The Executive Board also met with changemakers from other UN Women programmes, including young leaders who promote women's political participation and men who promote new masculinities.  

After decades of armed conflict, Colombia is at a pivotal moment, as efforts to fully implement the 2016 peace agreement continues, in tandem with initiatives to fulfill the country’s sustainable development goals, in the midst of new and emerging challenges, such as the migration crisis, resurgence of illegal groups and violence.  UN Women works closely with other UN agencies, international and local partners to accelerate progress towards gender equality, sustainable peace and development.