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- Category: World News
While countries such as the U.S. opposed Iran having a seat, Saudi Arabia has been chosen to have a seat on the board as a donor state. The six donor states with seats on the executive board are: Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States. Saudi Arabia won the seat as a Developing donor state.
Headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, UN Women is the merger of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI), and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW). The newly established entity will enhance the work of the four existing bodies and does not replace them.
According to the UN General Assembly resolution on nation- wide coherence (A/RES/64/289), the mandates of these four entities shall be transferred to UN Woman's mandate and the new body will act as a Secretariat that reports to ECOSOC. There will be a six month transition period before the mandate of UN Women is ready and the entity is fully operational, starting from January 2011.
UN Women will have two key roles: It will support inter-governmental bodies such as the Commission on the Status of Women in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms; and it will help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, as well as forging effective partnerships with civil society. It will also help the UN system to be accountable for its own commitments on internal gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
In his statement welcoming the decision, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “I am grateful to Member States for having taken this major step forward for the world’s women and girls. UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe.”
With such Human Rights violators as Saudi Arabia at the helm, there is much doubt as to the future effectiveness of UN Women. It is unclear how much binding authority UN Women will have to implement gender equality and women empowerment goals in sovereign states with rulers less pre-occupied with and ignorant of these issues. Is Iran’s exclusion a step towards these goals, or merely another international political play meant to isolate the country?
Furthermore, no decisions have yet been made about standardizing a global minimum standard for women’s rights, or whether there will be other minimum requirements for countries to be able to participate in different United Nations bodies. It seems that if the new entity is going to be effective, the UN system should pay more attention to Women Rights of different member states and not to their generous financial contributions.By Afsaneh Haddadian, Aslan Media Contributor
*Photo Credit: United Nations Photo
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