Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Women: Statement by Ambassador Herman Schaper on the occasion of CSW and International Women’s Day

3/1/2012

Statement by

H.E. Ambassador Herman Schaper

Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

on the occasion of CSW and International Women’s Day

the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality will reflect and celebrate on the successes of its economic and political empowerment grants from across the world ($ 45 million in 40 countries invested since 2010)

New York, 1 March 2012

 Madame Chair,

Introduction

The Netherlands is proud to be associated with the UN Women Gender Equality Fund and honoured to be invited to today’s panel on ‘Advancing National and Regional-led Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment and Leadership’. The Netherlands shares UN Women’s commitment to gender equality and is impressed by its investment of $ 45 million in 40 countries since 2010.

2011 Arab grant-making cycle

We would like to commend the thorough work done by the Fund for the 2011 Arab grant-making cycle as it focuses on the political and economic empowerment of women in the Arab region. This is particularly relevant in view of the processes of change in the region. In 2011 we contributed USD 1.2 million for the tender for the Arab region.

The diversity and quality of the selected proposals impress us. Organizations such as the Stars of Hope Society and Karama inspire us as they bring women across the region together. We would like to encourage the participating organizations and their partners to strengthen their cooperation. Focus of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Arab region Developments in the Arab region are often discussed in the Dutch parliament and the parliament requested the Minister of Foreign Affairs to support the political empowerment of women in the Arab region. Two examples of this are the 2 million euros which are reserved for the coming three years for projects in the Middle East and North African region focused on the United National Security Council Resolution 1325 on ‘Women, Peace and Security’. Secondly, the Netherlands contributes to projects of UN Women Egypt, UN Women Morocco and the UN Women Gender Equality Fund which together total 3 million euros.

Dutch international gender policy

As far as our international gender policy is concerned, a significant amount of attention is given to women’s economic empowerment and leadership. We fully support UN Women’s initiative to improve the working and economic conditions of rural women and communities. This will have long lasting positive impacts on agriculture and food security.

One of the priorities of the Dutch international gender policy is economic self-reliance for women. The Netherlands specifically emphasizes female entrepreneurship in economic diplomacy and corporate social responsibility. We strive to have all of our own funds that stimulate economic development assessed according to their promotion of gender equality.

In order to attain these goals, we have two four-year funds, which mainly focus on political and economic empowerment. One is the MDG-3 fund that will end this year and amounts to 77 million euros. The other is the Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW)-fund, which has just started, and totals 70 million euros.

Dutch international gender policy – gender-mainstreaming

Part of our gender policy is to integrate gender issues in the Dutch foreign policy and development cooperation, also known as gender-mainstreaming. For example, women in developing countries produce half of all food. Water is an important production factor for food and therefore the Netherlands focuses on increasing the participation of women in decision-making on water management. A subject on which my country has special expertise.

In conclusion, the Netherlands would like to encourage UN Women to continue to pursue its goal to advance women’s economic and political empowerment. The Netherlands fully supports UN Women’s efforts and the close cooperation with development partners, to reach this common goal.