New UN Agency for Women Coming, Coming…
A longstanding proposal for the creation of a special U.N. agency for women, the – “gender entity” as everyone calls it – is taking its time going anywhere.
“It’s shameful that we have to come back time and time again to explain why the new entity is needed – and why it’s needed fast,” Daniela Rosche, policy and advocacy advisor on gender justice at Oxfam Novib, tells Terraviva. The plan was conceived in 2006 but has been “going on forever.” Governments signed the deal last year, but she says it’s not sealed yet.
Some reports suggest that the United Nations and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are being held hostage by some countries demanding system-wide reforms. Some members of the Group of 77 (G77) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), as well as Russia and Japan, are now asking for further clarifications before moving forward, Colette Tamko, coordinator of the gender and governance programme at the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) tells Terraviva.
The “unofficial, untold reason for the delay is that G77 countries are using the gender architecture as a bargaining chip to advance their still undisclosed agenda,” says Tamko. “They want the same level of progress on all areas of the system-wide coherence (including funding and governance), when they know that gender is by far the most advanced, and that there is enough progress in that area to achieve a concrete decision.”
Ban said at the CSW meeting that “we hope soon to have a dynamic entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment within the U.N. system…I urge the (192-member) General Assembly to create this new entity without delay by adopting a resolution.”
Britain’s minister for women and equality Harriet Harman said: “We have to counter the false arguments that this is an imposition from the North on the South.” She said “system-wide coherence” is important, “but women will not forgive us if we let the best be the enemy of the good.”