Women: Statement by Ambassador Herman Schaper on the occasion of the special session on the Fund for Gender Equality
H.E. Ambassador Herman Schaper
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
on the occasion of the special session on the Fund for Gender Equality during the
2012 second regular session of the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality
and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women)
New York, 30 November 2012
UN Women’s objectives are overall very much in line with the objectives of the Dutch international policy for gender equality and we look forward to continuing and intensifying our cooperation.
The Netherlands welcomes UN WOMEN’s strong focus on evidence based policies and measurable development results. Indeed this approach, and sharing evidence with and among development partners, is in our view key to the success of all gender policies.
On the question why the Netherlands supports the UN Fund for Gender Equality, I can say that the Netherlands wholeheartedly supports and contributes to the UN Fund for Gender Equality. We do so for solid reasons.
Firstly, we know that investing in women has a formidable multiplier effect. It is simply smart economics and smart politics.
Secondly, the Fund’s distinction between small-scale catalytic grants and large-scale implementation grants allows testing innovative approaches and upscaling them when circumstances permit. Both the competitive nature of the grants and their focus on co-operation between government and civil society are markers of the Fund’s quality. The requested amounts run in the billions, reminding us all of the need for more funding. The approach chosen by the Fund deserves support of many more donors
Thirdly, this approach allows both the Fund and UN WOMEN to be effective and legitimate operators for women’s empowerment in the Middle East and North-Africa. The very reason we support UN WOMEN in a number of programmes in the region.
As for the manner in which we are Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW), the Netherlands this year closed its bilateral MDG3 Fund, that has offered strong support and achieved great success in empowering women. Its successor fund in the Netherlands is in operation since this year and is called FLOW: Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women.
The coming four years, 34 recipient organizations will focus on women’s economic and political empowerment, on eradicating violence against women and on women’s leadership in processes of peace and reconciliation. FLOW is not open to government entities, and only supports women’s organizations and ngo’s. FLOW and the UN Fund for Gender Equality are therefore complementary vehicles for women’s empowerment.
Two closing remarks on why invest in women, especially now.
The amount of funding for international women’s empowerment involves a tiny part of development spending. ODA is in decline, but we need more spending on women, not less. Women offer a clear choice for development and we encourage all partners to invest more in them.
Finally, we hope that gender equality and women’s empowerment will also figure prominently in the post 2015 development agenda, building upon the Rio outcome document and on best practices on the ground. To this end, we look forward to further cooperation with UN Women and other development partners.