United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) UNIFEM Currents: UNIFEM's Electronic Newsletter

Press Inquiries: Béatrice Frey, +1 212 906-5829, beatrice.frey[at]unifem.org

International Women’s Day 2010

The year 2010 is a milestone for women’s rights and gender equality, writes UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi in her message for International Women’s Day. Read more.

54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

54th Session of the Commission on the Status of WomenThe 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is in process at UN Headquarters in New York from 1 to 12 March 2010.

In accordance with its programme of work for 2010–2014, the Commission is reviewing the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 15 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. Reports from regional review processes feed into the Commission’s review. Emphasis is placed on the sharing of experiences and good practices, with a view to overcoming remaining obstacles and new challenges. The review also focuses on how the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action contributes to the full achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In a declaration adopted by consensus on 2 March, CSW delegates reaffirmed the principles of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and pledged to undertake further action to ensure the full implementation of those important instruments. The declaration stresses the need for integrating a gender perspective into the General Assembly’s high-level plenary meeting in September on accelerating progress towards achieving the MDGs. It also emphasizes that the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform is essential to achieving internationally agreed development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration.

A special section on CSW has been set up on the UNIFEM website, featuring relevant resources and links, as well as information about all parallel events organized or co-sponsored by UNIFEM. View website

UNIFEM is partnering with the Inter Press Service (IPS), Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network, Gender Links, and the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) to provide news and cyberdialogues at this year’s CSW. Read more.

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Say NO – UNiTE Platform Registers More than 180,000 Actions on Ending Violence against WomenSay NO – UNiTE Platform Registers More than 180,000 Actions on Ending Violence against Women
At a CSW side event on 2 March, UNIFEM announced that it had recorded 183,132 actions to end violence against women through its Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women initiative. This tally far surpasses the initial goal for Say NO of stimulating more than 100,000 actions by International Women’s Day. Launched in November 2009 as a web platform to facilitate, showcase and count efforts by individuals, governments and civil society to address gender-based violence, Say NO is a direct contribution to the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. Read more.

Voices of Haitian Women Highlighted
The Permanent Mission of Haiti to the UN, along with UNIFEM, UNDP and the Huairou Commission, hosted a side event to highlight the voices of Haitian women and their families on 3 March. The panel addressed Haitian women’s situation and needs in the aftermath of the 12 January earthquake, including the necessity of providing adequate shelter, supplies and security, as well as ensuring that women take equal part in the recovery process. Read more.

Launch of the Global Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and GirlsLaunch of the Global Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls
UNIFEM launched on 4 March a Global Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. The one-stop centre will support practitioners around the world in effective design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes. The web-based site brings together lessons learned and recommended practices gleaned from initiatives in all regions, whether originating from the women’s movement, civil society organizations, governments, the UN system or other actors. The centralized database is fully searchable and available in English, French and Spanish. Read more.

Women’s Empowerment Principles to Be Introduced
UNIFEM and the UN Global Compact will co-host an event on 9 March on the role of the private sector in improving the status of women around the world. The event will launch the Women's Empowerment Principles, a joint initiative of UNIFEM and the UN Global Compact. The Women’s Empowerment Principles offer guidance for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Subtitled “Equality Means Business,” the Principles emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. They are informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from multiple stakeholders across the globe. Visit UNIFEM’s website on 9 March to learn more.

Say NO – UNiTE March 2010 Desktop CalendarSay NO – UNiTE March 2010 Desktop Calendar
Every month, Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women releases a desktop wallpaper that incorporates the calendar for the month in three languages: English, French and Spanish. The March 2010 desktop calendar focuses on the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, highlighting the strategic objectives regarding the prevention and elimination of gender-based violence. Download this month’s calendar.

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UNIFEM Responds to the Crisis in Haiti

UNIFEM Responds to the Crisis in HaitiIn the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on 12 January, UNIFEM seeks to rebuild women’s shelters, expand the provision of urgently needed services, and protect women and their communities. As part of the United Nations Flash Appeal for Haiti, UNIFEM is requesting roughly US$2 million. For UNIFEM’s longer-term programme in Haiti, more than US$7 million are requested.

UNIFEM’s input into the UN Flash Appeal aims to strengthen the capacity of partners so that women’s needs and responsibilities are specifically taken into account in humanitarian responses and early recovery planning. The focus is on immediate relief for basic physical needs, such as shelter and protection against gender-based violence.

Moreover, a comprehensive two-year programme builds on the foundation of current UNIFEM work in Haiti on gender-responsive governance, economic security and advancing women’s rights. The funds raised will be channelled towards urgent humanitarian and early recovery efforts, including strengthening government capacity to ensure transparent and effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to people living in temporary camps; preventing the escalation of gender-based violence; building the capacity of the state and civil society organizations to deliver services and support women who are victims of violence; and meeting women’s economic livelihood needs. Read more.

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UNIFEM around the World

Fund for Gender Equality Announces Initial Allocation of Catalytic Grants
The UNIFEM-managed Fund for Gender Equality announced its initial allocation of more than US$9 million to 27 initiatives in 26 countries on 11 January. The recently established Fund, a US$68 million multilateral initiative, is designed to advance innovative programmes that focus on women’s economic and political empowerment at local and national levels. The 27 grants fall into the Fund’s Catalytic Grant category. Grantees will work on efforts ranging from changing attitudes towards women’s political engagement in Sri Lanka, to boosting economic independence of HIV-positive women in Senegal, to amplifying the voices of Palestinian women refugees in Lebanon. Read more.

Engaging Philanthropy to Promote Gender Equality and Women’s EmpowermentEngaging Philanthropy to Promote Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
UNIFEM co-sponsored an event hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on 22 February at UN Headquarters in New York, on the theme of Engaging Philanthropy to Promote Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Coinciding with International Corporate Philanthropy Day, the special event highlighted expanding and new partnerships between the United Nations, the private sector and philanthropies. UNIFEM partner Avon announced a grant of US$250,000 to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. Read more.


UNiTE Campaign Launched in Africa
Africa–UNiTE to End Violence against Women and Girls, the Africa component of the UN Secretary-General’s global campaign, was launched on 30 January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event was attended by representatives from Member States of the African Union, the United Nations system and civil society. As outlined in a presentation by Micheline Ravololonarisoa, Chief of UNIFEM’s Africa Section, the campaign aims to mobilize UN Member States, civil society, the private sector, the UN system, as well as individual men, women and youth, to join forces to turn existing commitments to end violence against women into a reality. Read more.

Great Lakes Region: Women Leaders Trained in Peacebuilding Skills
A workshop on conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding for women leaders from member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) was concluded on 12 January in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The conference was organized by the ICGLR with support from UNIFEM, and was attended by representatives from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The participants agreed on a number of recommendations, including that national women’s forums should be established in the ICGLR countries to provide a platform for involvement in conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding. Read more.

Rwanda: Gender Equity in Local Development StrengthenedRwanda: Gender Equity in Local Development Strengthened
A Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of the Gender Equitable Local Development (GELD) programme in Rwanda was signed in Kigali on 8 February. The programme aims to improve women's access to resources and services at the local level through gender-responsive planning and budgeting. It is implemented in five African countries with funding from the Belgian Government, the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and UNIFEM. Read more.


Documentaries about Women Domestic Workers Broadcast in 19 Countries
A series of documentaries about the situation of women domestic workers in Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala and Paraguay has been produced as part of a UNIFEM programme on the incorporation of gender, race and ethnic equality in poverty eradication. The documentaries were broadcast on national television in 19 Latin American countries in January and February, and they can also be viewed on the YouTube channel of the UNIFEM Southern Cone Sub-Regional Office. Read more.


Afghan Women Leaders Supported to Present Their Recommendations at London ConferenceAfghan Women Leaders Supported to Present Their Recommendations at London Conference
UNIFEM supported Afghan women’s advocates to present their recommendations on security, development and governance priorities for their country at the London Conference on Afghanistan, hosted by the UK Government on 28 January. The recommendations, derived from broad-based consultations, provided the only concrete input of Afghan women’s perspectives into the conference dialogue. Reminding international donors and the national government that women’s participation is critical for sustainable peace, and that women can spearhead efforts to moderate extremism, the advocates demanded that women be included in all security and development processes, including any negotiations and reconciliation programmes involving warlords and insurgents. Read more.

India: UNDEF–UNIFEM Grantees Discuss How Democracies Can Deliver Better for Women
Civil society leaders from eighteen countries, who have received grants from the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and support from UNIFEM, gathered in New Delhi, India on 13–15 January to discuss achievements and challenges in implementing their pilot projects, which seek to catalyse women’s engagement in politics and governance. Participants agreed that democracies offered women the only viable means of gaining public support for the shared objective of gender equality. However, practical actions were needed to strengthen accountability mechanisms, to allocate appropriate resources and to build the capacity of women leaders and voters. Additionally, they stressed the importance of electoral quotas as a means of increasing the proportion of women holding public office. Read more.


Kazakhstan: Gender Equality Law Comes into Force
A new law on Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities of Men and Women came into effect in Kazakhstan at the beginning of 2010, after years of activism by gender advocates and women’s organizations. UNIFEM has since 2004 provided national partners in Kazakhstan with technical support in advocating for the adoption of a gender equality law. Read more.

Moldova: UNIFEM Contributes to National Programme on Gender Equality
The Government of Moldova announced on 3 February the launch of a National Programme on Gender Equality for 2010–2015, with support from UNIFEM and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Read more.

Norway: UNIFEM National Committee InauguratedNorway: UNIFEM National Committee Inaugurated
A National Committee for UNIFEM was established in Norway on 7 January. The Norwegian National Committee is an independent non-governmental organization that will advance UNIFEM’s mission of fostering women’s rights and gender equality. UNIFEM now has National Committees in 18 countries, supporting its mission and activities worldwide. Read more.

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Recent Speeches & Statements

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Recent Publications

Making the MDGs Work Better for WomenMaking the MDGs Work Better for Women (2010). This publication provides knowledge on successful practices and approaches that governments, donors and civil society can take to make the Millennium Development Goals work better for women. It reviews the successes and challenges faced in meeting MDG targets and the extent to which national reports have addressed gender in reporting on each goal. It concludes with a set of key recommendations for advancing progress towards achieving gender equality.

UNIFEM Evaluation Policy (2009). This policy is developed in response to commitments in UNIFEM’s Strategic Plan (2008–2013) to strengthen its evaluation function and to ensure its utility, credibility, independence and alignment with the United Nations Evaluation Group’s Norms and Standards.

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Featured UNIFEM Videos

On the Move: Nepal's Women Migrant WorkersOn the Move: Nepal's Women Migrant Workers
Millions of women work overseas each year — almost half a million from Nepal alone. The money they send home is supporting their families, but sometimes the women are cruelly exploited. Now, Nepal is helping its female migrant workers fight for their rights. Watch video »

Sosan’s Story – Domestic Violence in AfghanistanSosan’s Story – Domestic Violence in Afghanistan
Eight years after the fall of the Taliban, targeted violence against women in Afghanistan is back at an alarming level. This video takes a look at one of the country’s six shelters where women enduring abuse find refuge. Watch video »

Breaking the Silence: Kenyatta National Hospital Addresses
Gender-Based Violence

Breaking the Silence: Kenyatta National Hospital Addresses Gender-Based ViolenceIn this short feature, Kenyatta National Hospital staff discuss its Gender-Based Violence Recovery Centre, highlighting the “pandemic” of violence affecting almost 70 percent of women at some point in their lifetime. Victims of gender-based violence also speak out. This video was produced as part of the Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women launch in Nairobi, Kenya, on 6 November 2009. Watch video »

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Current & Upcoming Events

Job Vacancies

  • Project Manager
    Location: Belgrade, Serbia
    Post Level: P-3
    Application Deadline: 15 March 2010

Subscribe to the UNIFEM Job Vacancies web feed.

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About UNIFEM Currents

UNIFEM Currents is the electronic news bulletin of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). It provides up-to-date information briefs on UNIFEM initiatives, successes, events, projects and activities worldwide. It is published several times per year and delivered by e-mail. Click here to subscribe to UNIFEM Currents.

is the women’s fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies to foster women's empowerment and gender equality. Placing the advancement of women's human rights at the centre of all of its efforts, UNIFEM focuses its activities on reducing feminized poverty; ending violence against women; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls; and achieving gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace as well as war. For more information, visit www.unifem.org.

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