UN Women will vote this month on strategic plan
Summary of story from Women’s eNews, June 2, 2011
Following months of consultation earlier this year, the executive board of UN women will vote on the organisation’s strategic plan later this month.
The group asked governmental agencies, civil society and academic organisations as well as UN members from 71 countries for their views.
Executive Director and former Chilean president Michele Bachelet has herself travelled widely, visiting Liberia, Panama, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Kenya and several European countries asking people for their views.
Lucia Salamea-Palacios, UN Women’s representative for Ecuador and Colombia, confirmed that Bachelet specifically prioritised the views of indigenous women in the Andean region.
Colombia, along with Guatemala, is considered a high-priority country and an increase in the number of staff placements in priority countries is likely to be one outcome of the strategic plan.
Guatemala, which has a large population of indigenous women, also has the highest femicide rate in Latin America.
According to Salamea-Palacios, those surveyed said they want UN Women to ensure that gender equality is taken into account as national governments devise their policies and programs.
The final strategic plan will, however, depend on the funding that UN Women receives.
The organisation budgeted for an annual base budget of $500 million. Since January, UNIFEM (the United Nations Development Fund for Women) and three other offices have contributed a total of $300 million to UN Women, while $103 million was received from UN member nations for 2010 and 2011.
Bachelet has made clear, however, that this should not mean that grassroots organisations in the women’s movement end up competing with UN Women for funds.
Nighat Khan, founder and president of the advocacy group Institute of Women’s Studies in Lahore, Pakistan, said:
‘I heard Bachelet speak with grassroots women and her first sentence was, “I hear it loud and clear that UN Women must not be a threat to the women’s movement.”
‘Now that she has made that open statement, we will have to see where it goes from there.’