Background

Attention was drawn to the Secretary-General’s letter dated 16 January 2006, in which he had asked both high-level committees to develop, in cooperation with his Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, a system-wide gender mainstreaming policy and strategy. In the same letter, the Secretary-General had sought an active engagement by the system in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), on women, peace and security.

The Chair of HLCP recalled that the Committee had reviewed the progress made in relation to the issues raised in the Secretary-General’s letter on the basis of a paper prepared by the Special Adviser. The Chair of HLCM also briefed the Board on the outcome of the Committee’s discussion on gender mainstreaming. The Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women expressed satisfaction that HLCM and HLCP had both agreed on the need for a system-wide policy and strategy for gender equality.

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Discussion

Following up on the high-level committees’ discussions, the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women said her office would start work, in consultation with all of the organizations of the system, on a system-wide policy and strategy and would report on the progress made to the Economic and Social Council in July. Prior to the session of the Council, the upcoming World Urban Forum, to be held in Vancouver in June, would provide an opportunity to highlight the plight of urban women slum dwellers. Interested United Nations organizations were invited to join in the side events on that theme, which the Office of the Special Adviser would co-sponsor together with UN-Habitat. 

On behalf of CEB, appreciation was expressed for the work of the two committees as well as for the presentation made by the Special Adviser, which had helped to place so squarely before the executive heads the issues involved.

Action

The Board endorsed the conclusions presented to it, on the basis of the discussions of the high-level committees: (a) it expressed serious concern over the lack of sufficient progress in achieving gender equality and empowerment of women and in the elaboration and implementation of a gender mainstreaming policy and strategy; (b) it called on the system to strengthen ongoing initiatives in this area and to take additional and concrete actions with timelines and benchmarks, building on the recommendations of HLCM, as set forth in its report; and (c) it committed itself to addressing ways of ensuring that adequate resources, both financial and human, were deployed by the organizations of the system, so that progress in both gender mainstreaming and the implementation of the system-wide plan of action might be effectively advanced.

CEB decided to revert to the issue at its second regular session of 2006, when it would consider further concrete actions to be taken by the executive heads on the basis of proposals to be submitted by the Special Adviser and the recommendations of the two high-level committees