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

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August 2010 – In This Issue:

Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman and UNIFEM Executive Director Stress Women’s Equality as Central for Recovery in Haiti

Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman and UNIFEM Executive Director Stress Women’s Equality as Central for Recovery in HaitiDuring a visit to Haiti on 28–30 July, Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of UNIFEM (part of UN Women) and UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman highlighted the urgency of addressing gender-based violence among affected populations, and stressed the critical need to support long-term initiatives that advance women’s livelihoods as part of the rebuilding efforts.

In Haiti, Ms. Alberdi and Ms. Kidman met with survivors of violence living in a temporary camp, with Haitian and UN officials, and with national non-governmental organizations working to support women’s needs in recovery efforts after the devastating earthquake in January.

"During this trip I saw first-hand how this humanitarian disaster is impacting women and girls. The lack of shelter and security makes them more vulnerable to violence, in particular sexual violence," Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman said. “Yet, I have also seen the determination and resilience of women and men in Haiti to rebuild their country.”

Violence against women and girls was already pervasive in Haiti before the earthquake. Women also carry a disproportionate burden of care for children and other dependents. Some 45 percent of households in Haiti are headed by women, while their average annual income is considerably lower than for men. Meetings with women advocates during the visit highlighted women’s economic empowerment as a priority, including access to job programmes, credit and training opportunities.

"The women of Haiti are working hard to rebuild every aspect of their life, but they need adequate and sustained support for their safety and security," said UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi. "Both as a matter of right and as smart development and security policy, women must be centrally included in the planning of post-disaster relief and recovery. Significant funding must be directed to increase gender equality and gender equality must be a priority in Haiti. We must support the efforts of Haitian women and men to build a fairer and more durable society out of this tragedy." Read more. View photos.

Preparing for UN Women

UN Women - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of WomenPreparations are underway to make the newly established UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, fully operational by January 2011.

Guiding the transition is a Senior Management Team, led by the UN Deputy Secretary-General (DSG) and comprised of the heads of each of the four constituent entities. They are supported by a Steering Committee of senior managers from the four constituent entities and the Office of the Deputy Secretary-General, as well as a Transition Team, made up of seconded staff from each organization, external change management experts and staff from the Office of the Deputy Secretary-General. As part of the transition plan, Task Teams composed of staff from the four entities are operating or being established in all of the areas where the four need to work together, including operations, strategic planning, communications, coordination and in key thematic areas.

For further information, visit the interim website of UN Women.

Global Open Days Highlight Women’s Concerns on Peace and Security

Global Open Days for Women and Peace were held in more than 20 post-conflict countries around the world in June and July. Special Representatives of the UN Secretary-General and other high-level officials met with women peace advocates to hear their concerns, and discuss how to increase women’s participation in sustainable conflict resolution, peacemaking and peacebuilding.

The Open Days were organized in the context of the 10th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 by UNIFEM, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Read more.

On the occasion of the anniversary, UNIFEM’s Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign invites supporters to say NO to sexual violence in conflict, by signing a petition asking governments to ensure the implementation of resolution 1325.

UNIFEM around the World

Fund for Gender Equality Announces Grants to Accelerate Action on Women’s Empowerment
The Fund for Gender Equality announced in July the selection of 13 programmes from 13 countries to receive grants of up to US$3 million, totalling more than US$27.5 million. The grants fall under the Fund’s Implementation Grant category, which aims to accelerate action on national laws and policies to advance gender equality. The Fund is a multi-donor initiative, currently supported by the Governments of Spain and Norway and managed by UNIFEM. In its inaugural granting cycle in 2009-2010, the Fund has delivered more than US$37.5 million to 40 high-impact programmes on women’s economic and political empowerment. In addition to the recent Implementation Grants, 27 Catalytic Grants were awarded to programmes in 26 countries in December 2009. Read more.

Report Identifies Strategies to Advance the Involvement of HIV-Positive Women in Decision-MakingReport Identifies Strategies to Advance the Involvement of HIV-Positive Women in Decision-Making
At the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna in July, UNIFEM and the ATHENA Network launched a new report, demonstrating that the voices of HIV-positive women are largely missing from decision-making on the HIV and AIDS responses that affect their lives. The report identifies strategies that can be adopted to advance the involvement of HIV-positive women in policy mechanisms. "This report highlights the importance of effective participation of women, especially HIV-positive women, in being part of the solutions and in finding sustainable, effective strategies to address HIV and AIDS," said UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi. Read more.

Chief Executives Worldwide Support Women’s Empowerment Principles
UNIFEM and the UN Global Compact announced in June the 39 lead signers of the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles. The chief executives come from all regions of the world and represent diverse global and national companies. The CEO Statement of Support encourages business leaders to use the seven Women’s Empowerment Principles as guide posts for actions that advance and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The signers underscore that equal treatment of women and men is not just the right thing to do — it is also good for business and needs to be a priority. Read more.


Kenya: Third Phase of Gender and Governance Programme LaunchedKenya: Third Phase of Gender and Governance Programme Launched
The third phase of the UNIFEM-supported Gender and Governance Programme (GGP) in Kenya was launched in Nairobi in June. The programme promotes equal opportunities and access to services for both men and women, addresses the need to include women’s issues in governance structures, and supports women’s leadership at national and local levels.
The programme is funded by a group of development partners through a basket fund, and implemented by a consortium of women’s organizations, under the management of UNIFEM. GGP III will focus on providing technical support to government institutions, national gender machineries and civil society organizations. Read more.

Mali: Promoting Women’s Participation in Democratic Governance
In Mali, UNIFEM will be supporting women’s participation in the upcoming legislative elections in 2012. Funded by Spain, the second phase of a UNIFEM-supported project, Promoting Gender Justice in Democratic Governance in Mali, will promote the adoption of gender-sensitive electoral processes, seek to increase the political participation of women at national and decentralized levels, and build the capacity of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to mobilize women around a common agenda. Read more.

Rwanda: National Action Plan on Security Council Resolution 1325 Launched at International Forum
Rwanda’s National Action Plan on UN Security Council resolution 1325 was officially launched during the International Forum on the Role of Leadership in Promoting, Accelerating and Sustaining Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Kigali in May. The UNIFEM-supported forum, which was attended by more than 400 participants, was officially opened by the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, with the participation of the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Asha-Rose Migiro. Read more.

Senegal: Empowering Women Living with HIV and AIDS
A project on the political and economic empowerment of women living with HIV and AIDS in Senegal was launched in Dakar in June, supported by UNIFEM’s Fund for Gender Equality. The project aims to contribute to the consideration of women’s empowerment in key legislation and strategic documents on HIV and AIDS, through advocacy and policy dialogue. Read more.

South Africa: UNIFEM Partners with Man Up Campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls
UNIFEM has partnered with the Man Up global campaign to activate youth to stop violence against women and girls. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, UNIFEM supported Man Up in convening a Young Leaders Summit in Johannesburg, where around 200 young women and men from 50 countries came together to learn from human rights leaders and each other about how to address violence against women in their communities. During the five-year campaign, they will be able to share best practices and support through a global network. Read more.

Uganda: Photo Exhibition at AU Summit to Raise Awareness on Violence against WomenUganda: Photo Exhibition at AU Summit to Raise Awareness on Violence against Women
The African Union (AU) in partnership with UNIFEM presented a photo exhibition during the 15th AU Summit in Kampala, Uganda in July. Under the theme “Make Peace Happen: Prevent Violence against Women and Girls,” the exhibition featured a series of pictures that aimed to raise awareness on the ruthless reality faced by women in conflict situations. The thirty photos cast light on the various forms of gender-based violence and the reasons why women and girls are particularly vulnerable in conflict and post-conflict situations. The exhibition also presented strategies that have been developed to address the issue. Read more.

Consultations on Women in Cross-Border Trade in Africa
Following a regional meeting in February on women in informal cross-border trade in southern Africa, national consultation workshops were held in Swaziland and Zimbabwe in June, with the aim of devising strategies to improve their operating environment. A UNIFEM study has indicated that a fast-growing number of women in southern Africa is involved in informal cross-border trade. The women face various challenges, including a complicated trade regime, vulnerability against corrupt customs officials, harassment and lack of access to financial services. Read more. A conference was also held in Monrovia in May, where an association of women in cross-border trade in Liberia was established. Read more.


Brazil: Regional Conference Calls for New Social Covenant to Achieve Equality in the Workplace
UNIFEM participated in and co-organized events in relation to the 11th session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean in Brasilia, Brazil in July. The conference, organized by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), focused on women's autonomy and economic empowerment. In a position paper, ECLAC proposes a new social covenant to redistribute total workload between men and women, in order to facilitate women's access to the labour market. Read more.

The Caribbean: Portraying the World through a Gendered LensThe Caribbean: Portraying the World through a Gendered Lens
The Caribbean Sub-Regional Office of UNIFEM announced in May the results of a regional photo competition, held in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which has been ratified by all Caribbean countries. Contestants were invited to capture expressions of gender equality, such as with images showing boys, girls, men and women challenging restrictive gender stereotypes. Read more.


Women Share a Vision for Israeli-Palestinian Peace
At a two-day conference in Madrid in June, attended by government leaders and experts on women’s rights and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the International Women’s Commission for a Just and Sustainable Israeli-Palestinian Peace (IWC) reaffirmed its commitment to a two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace. The conference was supported by the Government of Spain and hosted by UNIFEM and the IWC, a commission that brings together Israeli, Palestinian and international women leaders to speak in one voice for a just and sustainable resolution of the conflict. Read more.

Occupied Palestinian Territory: Towards a National Strategy to Combat Violence against WomenOccupied Palestinian Territory: Towards a National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women
The Palestinian Ministry of Women’s Affairs and UNIFEM organized a workshop in Ramallah in May to discuss the first draft of a four-year National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women. The National Strategy is the first of its kind in the Arab region, developed through a participatory process that has involved a wide range of actors from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Building on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the National Strategy presents violence against women as a public problem, affecting Palestinian society as a whole. Read more.


India: Survey Casts Light on the Problem of Harassment in Delhi
A survey supported by UNIFEM as part of the Safe Delhi for Women project in India has confirmed that sexual harassment is common in New Delhi and affects a large proportion of women. The survey included more than 5,000 respondents and the results revealed that two-thirds of women had experienced 2-5 incidents of sexual harassment in the past year. Nine out of ten respondents had witnessed acts of harassment. Read more.

Timor-Leste: Law Passed on Domestic Violence
The National Parliament in Timor-Leste passed a long-awaited law on domestic violence in May. UNIFEM provided support to the Government in drafting the legislation and worked with the Parliament to inform legislators about the issue. Domestic violence is prevalent in Timor-Leste, and the most common form of gender-based violence reported to the police. Read more.

Viet Nam: Improving Climate Change Strategies by Including Gender Perspectives
Viet Nam is one of the nations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and women tend to disproportionately suffer from the negative impacts. Yet, the specific concerns of women have largely been absent from the climate change debate. To address this gap, UNIFEM and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) organized a three-day training workshop on gender and climate change in May, attended by representatives from government ministries, the National Assembly, the Viet Nam Women’s Union and national and international non-governmental organizations, as well as UN agencies and donors. Read more.


Georgia: Facilitating the Delivery of Assistance to Conflict-Affected WomenGeorgia: Facilitating the Delivery of Assistance to Conflict-Affected Women
As part of a UNIFEM project in Georgia, a series of meetings has been organized in cooperation with local authorities and government bodies, to facilitate the delivery of effective assistance to internally displaced and conflict-affected women and their families. The meetings give conflict-affected women the opportunity to voice their concerns directly with representatives from government agencies and other decision-makers, in order to receive prompt response and redress. Read more.

Kyrgyzstan: Flash AppealKyrgyzstan: Flash Appeal
In the aftermath of the deadly violence that rocked Kyrgyzstan in June, UNIFEM has issued a call for US$670,000 to provide urgently needed services. Specifically, UNIFEM seeks to provide assistance to women survivors of sexual violence and conduct an assessment to obtain accurate data on the immediate needs of women in the conflict-affected areas. The call for funding is made through the UN system-wide flash appeal for US$73,045,639 to provide assistance over the next six months to more than 1 million people affected by violence and displacement in the country. Read more.

Russian Federation: Memorandum of Understanding Signed with Academy of Public Administration
A Memorandum of Understanding between UNIFEM and the Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation was signed in Moscow in June, during the official mission of a UNIFEM delegation to Russia. The Memorandum of Understanding focuses mainly on introducing gender issues, including gender-responsive budgeting, into the curriculum and professional training for civil servants, university students, experts and civil society activists from Russia and other countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States. Read more.

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Recent Speeches & Statements

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Recent Publications

UNIFEM Annual Report 2009–2010UNIFEM Annual Report 2009–2010 (2010). The Annual Report documents UNIFEM’s work to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality around the world. The 2009–2010 edition highlights the efforts at the grassroots and policy level to enhance women’s political and economic empowerment, improve women’s safety and security, and involve the private sector in advancing women’s rights. It also commemorates the 10th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

Addressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence – An Analytical Inventory of Peacekeeping PracticeAddressing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence – An Analytical Inventory of Peacekeeping Practice (2010). This publication captures best practices and emerging elements for a more effective response by peacekeepers to women’s security concerns, especially in combating sexual violence, the premise of Security Council resolutions 1820 and 1888. It is also part of a broader agenda to improve the capacities of peacekeepers to protect civilians effectively.

Democracy: With Women, For WomenDemocracy: With Women, for Women (2010). This publication presents an overview and analysis of the first round of grants issued by the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF) in partnership with UNIFEM in 2006. The following pages probe, in a concise fashion, what was achieved through seven grants to improve women’s political participation in a diverse set of countries and regions.

Evaluation Report: UNIFEM’s Work on Gender-Responsive BudgetingEvaluation Report: UNIFEM’s Work on Gender-Responsive Budgeting (2010). The evaluation, split into three sets of reports, provides critical lessons on what conditions and mechanisms enable or hinder UNIFEM’s work in increasing gender equality in budget processes and practices. It also analyses UNIFEM’s overall approach to gender-responsive budget programming.

Evaluation Report: United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against WomenEvaluation Report: United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women (2010). This evaluation looks into the implementation and overall effectiveness of the 2005–2008 United Nations Trust Fund Strategy in advancing the fund’s work on ending violence against women at country levels.

Evaluation Report: UNIFEM’s Partnerships with Regional Organizations to Advance Gender EqualityEvaluation Report: UNIFEM’s Partnerships with Regional Organizations to Advance Gender Equality (2010). This report assesses UNIFEM’s partnerships with regional organizations in order to affect progress towards gender equality at regional and national levels. It reviews existing partnerships and discusses areas for development, and includes profiles of six partners and the work undertaken by the organizations to promote and enchance gender equality.

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Featured UNIFEM Videos

UNIFEM on YouTube: Spanish, French and Russian Playlists Released
In August, UNIFEM introduced its first language playlists in French, Spanish and Russian. The playlists come packed with the latest language additions of the following videos:

Timor-Leste: Women Make a Difference in PoliticsTimor-Leste: Women Make a Difference in Politics
Women risked their lives to gain Timor Leste's independence. Today, they are succeeding in changing the politics of this tiny South-East Asian island, but many issues have yet to be addressed within this sphere to advance women’s rights.
Watch video: English | French | Spanish | Russian

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: English | French | Spanish | Russian

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: English | French | Spanish | Russian

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Current & Upcoming Events

Job Vacancies

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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.

(part of UN Women) 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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