Four world conferences on women convened by the United Nations in the past quarter of a century have been instrumental in elevating the cause of gender equality to the very centre of the global agenda. The conferences have united the international community behind a set of common objectives with an effective plan of action for the advancement of women everywhere, in all spheres of public and private life.
The UN System-Wide Policy on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women was endorsed by the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) in October 2006, as a means of furthering the goal of gender equality and women’s empowerment within the policies and programmes of the UN system, and implementing the ECOSOC agreed conclusions 1997/2.
To operationalize the Board’s policy, a United Nations system-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (SWAP) was developed to promote a common understanding, enhance system-wide coherence, and advance a progressive approach to gender mainstreaming.
At its first regular session 2012, CEB endorsed the action plan paving the way for its implementation throughout the United Nations system. The action plan, which includes a set of 15 common system-wide performance indicators, constitutes a comprehensive framework for reporting and accountability that is expected to markedly advance gender equality and the empowerment of women by systematically mainstreaming a gender perspective into the policies and programmes of the United Nations system.
The system-wide action plan was prepared on the basis of an extensive inter-agency consultation process under the leadership of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.