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Statement by H.E. Mr. Margus Kolga, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN at the UN-Women 1st Regular Session 2013

23.01.2013

Thank You Mr President, Madame Under Secretary General and Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, distinguished colleagues,

 

At the outset, allow me to say, that it has been a great honor for Estonia to serve as the member of the Executive Board of UN-Women in 2011-2012 and as the Vice President of the Bureau during 2012. We value the opportunity we had, to contribute to developing of the founding principles of the structure and functions of UN–Women that will, during the next years, serve as a basis for the work of UN-Women.

 

Concerning the regional architecture, we are certain that the new structure will further improve the Entity’s capacity to deliver its mandate. Decentralization of authority and transfer of some technical and operational functions from headquarters to the field makes the institution to be more operational and needs-oriented. We are happy to recognize that also the guiding document on the evaluation policy has been approved in the last session and we are confident that based on this an independent, credible and useful evaluation function is developed and carried out.

 

I would like to thank Ms Bachelet for a comprehensive introduction of the report of UN- Women operational activities. We commend the structure and composition of the report, but first and foremost we would like to commend UN-Women for its extensive work on so different aspects in the field of gender equality and empowerment of women. The list of activities described in report is a proof of the indispensable role of UN-Women in the UN system.

 

Today I will concentrate on three aspects: violence against women, women, peace and security and cooperation with the civil society. 

First I would like to commend the activities of UN-Women in combating violence against women. The work, as personally led by Ms Madame Bachelet, is exceptional. Assistance to initiatives that expand and improve services for survivors of gender-based violence, provision of technical guidance and resources to country-level practitioners, building capacity on advancing policy and legal reforms and on developing new national action plans are only some examples of the extensive work. In promoting womens rights and combating violence against women, we would like to draw attention to the need for paying also even more attention to the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights and praise the activities intended for involving men and boys.

We are glad to see that also the priority theme of this year`s session of the Commission of the Status of Women is violence against women and we are looking forward to fruitful discussions and a forward-looking concrete outcome document to be agreed on in March.

As to women, peace and security, the statistics shows that there is clearly a lot of room for improvement in this field. Even in regards to UN for example (according to the SG report on “Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution”) only 4 of the UN negotiating party delegations out of the 14 peace processes underway in 2011 included a woman delegate. We are deeply concerned that, as noted in the latest SG’s report, sexual violence and the threat of sexual violence continues to be employed as a weapon of war in a range of conflicts. In this regard we would especially like to commend the work of UN–Women in promoting women’s participation, access to justice and contributions to post-conflict and peacebuilding processes; the support rendered to the development of national action plans and also regional trainings on effective mediation and negotiation skills for women politicians and peace and security experts and peacekeepers. 

 

In addition to the fields mentioned, Estonia would like to highlight the cooperation with civil society and we are glad to note that UN-Women`s dialogue with civil society is intensifying and civil society advisory groups at the regional and country levels are being established, eight of which have already been set up, with 11 more in process.

When speaking about the activities, it is hard to avoid the topic of financial resources. It is unfortunate that as noted in the report of the Under Secretary General, the contributions will still fall short of the $300 million target. Estonia has increased its voluntary contributions steadily, also so for the year 2013. With the same token we call other member states to increase their contributions in the future too.

Mr. President, finally I would like to welcome the new members of the Bureau and Executive Board, thank the UN Women Secretariat for your excellent work and wish you a successful meeting!

 

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