On 2nd July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted to merge the four agencies working for women’s empowerment, into one single entity.
The new agency, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women or ‘UN Women’ for short, brings together the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).
Speaking at the General Assembly on Friday, Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, said: “By bringing together four parts of the UN system dedicated to women’s issues, Member States have created a much stronger voice for women and for gender equality at the global level. It will now be much more difficult for the world to ignore the challenges facing women and girls – or to fail to take the necessary action.”
Set to become operational in January 2011, one of the main goals of UN Women will be to support the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and other inter-governmental bodies in devising policies.
The new body will also aim to help Member States implement standards, provide technical and financial support to countries which request it, and forge partnerships with civil society. Within the UN, it will hold the world body accountable for its own commitments on gender equality.
Based in New York, UN Women will be headed by an Under-Secretary-General, to be appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.