Promoting gender equality and womens empowerment is an essential part of the UN mandate. There is strong evidence that improving gender equality reduces poverty and stimulates growth and provides channels to attaining other MDGs.
The EU has always stressed the importance of strengthened gender architecture. The process will pose us challenges, but will also open great opportunities. Let us all recall: We discuss a new gender entity because we want to mobilize forces of change at the global level and bring about enhanced results at the country level. We also discuss it because the current system is incoherent, under-resourced and fragmented.
Without intending to present a full-fledged framework for reform at this present stage, the EU is convinced that the following principles are essential:
Firstly, we need to gain true added value. We should strive to create a genuinely new entity that consolidates parallel functions and creates synergies. A new entity must deliver better. It must work more visibly and more coherently, also with respect to other UN entities working on gender issues. Let me emphasize that it also has to be better resourced. In short: We have to go beyond a mere replication of the existing gender entities under a new umbrella.
Secondly, our common aim should be more coherence by bringing together the normative and analytical functions of the existing architecture with its technical, policy and programmatic role. In so doing, a new entity must be able to assist all States to address gaps in the implementation of our international gender commitments, whenever and wherever they request such assistance. We therefore have to retain and strengthen the normative and analytical work and the rights-based approach of the UN in the further implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as well as CEDAW, but we also have to ensure a catalytic and innovative role in programming in support of gender for a new entity. This is all the more relevant as we have all recognized and reaffirmed many times the link between eradicating poverty and reaching the MDGs and progress on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Thirdly, we need to strengthen effective gender mainstreaming throughout the entire UN system. But while all UN entities are critical and responsible to delivering on gender, we also believe that we need a central driver with the ability to access, coordinate and influence. This requires convincing and authoritative leadership that goes hand in hand with a stronger mandate and an adequate structure. Leadership at the USG level is an appropriate way to achieve the desired strengthening of the Gender architecture.
So how can we ensure that a new gender architecture responds to those key needs? Like others, the EU is convinced that the structure of a new gender entity should follow from what we wish it to do. Let us therefore now first focus on its functions and purposes its structure and staffing should flow from this. The EU believes that the recommendations of the High-level Panel provide a solid starting point for our discussions. We believe that by joining all our efforts, we can make swift progress towards advancing gender equality and empowerment of women worldwide.
Thank you very much.