UN Women and Innovation Norway sign momentous partnership agreement to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment


UN Women and Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Government's instrument for innovation and development of enterprises, are partnering to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment through innovative technology solutions. UN Women’s Deputy Executive Director, Yannick Glemarec, and Innovation Norway’s CEO, Anita Krohn Traaset, signed the first Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations today at a high-level event in Trondheim, Norway, where the guests of honour included the Crown princess Mette Marit and Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende.

By the current rate of progress, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will not be possible, and women and girls in humanitarian crises impacted contexts are at most risk of being left behind. For example, maternal mortality in humanitarian crises and in fragile settings is 1.9 times the world average, and the number of maternal deaths in these countries represent 61 per cent of the total number of maternal deaths worldwide [1].

Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities to reach those who arethe farthest and hardest to reach by breaking isolation and creating economies of scale to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

By working together, UN Women and Innovation Norway will enhance innovative approaches and solutions in response to addressing gender inequality issues, particularly in humanitarian contexts. The collaboration will also help to identify future public-private partnerships and strengthen the private sector’s engagement in generating innovations.

“During our stay here in Norway we have visited incubators and met with Norwegian entrepreneurs that develop innovative humanitarian solutions that can strengthen women’s empowerment. UN Women believes that this agreement is the beginning of a close partnership that will enable us to build stronger ties between the needs that we identify in our work and the innovative products that are being developed,” said Mr. Glemarec.

The partnership between UN Women and Innovation Norway will create platforms and projects, which will include exploring making blockchain technology work for women and girls. Blockchain technology offers users the ability to build and maintain immutable and secure personal records and to directly transfer digital assets without the need for intermediaries and associated costs. Thus, women and girls in crises will be able to have safe records of documents that are essential to rebuilding their lives and for economic activities. UN Women will participate in a hackathon at the Katapult Future Fest taking place in Norway in May to explore the potential of blockchain as a solution to some of the problems that women face in humanitarian contexts.

“This agreement makes the Norwegian private sector and innovation a bigger part of the solution”, said Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende.

Broadly, the collaboration between UN Women and Innovation Norway will focus on:

  • Enhancing innovative approaches and solutions to address gender inequality issues;
  • Promoting women, especially marginalized groups, as both producers and consumers of innovations;
  • Promoting public-private partnerships and strengthening the private sector’s engagement in innovations to accelerate gender equality and women’s empowerment, notably through competency building and knowledge sharing;
  • Sharing best practices, methodologies, and lessons learned around innovations to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment;
  • Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals.

UN Women believes that strong partnerships such as this, can help women and girls to design, shape and benefit from the technological transformations and innovations changing our world.


[1] UNFPA (2015). Maternal mortality in humanitarian crises and in fragile settings. Available from http://www.unfpa.org/resources/maternal-mortality-humanitarian-crises-and-fragile-settings