Thank you, Ambassador.
I would first like to thank His Excellency Mr. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia, for his committed leadership and excellent contributions during his term as President of the Board for 2016.
I am grateful to the Executive Board members for electing me President of the UN-Women Executive Board for 2017. I am truly honored to be the first representative from the Gulf Cooperation Council in this role, and look forward to advancing UN Women’s important priorities this year.
From my own country’s perspective, I am proud to note that gender equality is of paramount importance to the UAE. The Constitution of the UAE guarantees equal rights for both women and men, and underpins the fundamental belief that women and men are equal partners in society.
Through a series of public and private sector initiatives, women are playing an increasingly prominent role in business, military, and government. A key aspect of women’s advancement has been a steady focus on women’s political participation. Women make up 17.5 percent of the UAE’s consultative parliamentary body, the Federal National Council.
In November 2015, Her Excellency Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi was elected president of the Council, making her the first woman in the UAE and in the region to lead a national assembly. Furthermore, women constitute 28 percent of the UAE Cabinet, holding diverse and important portfolios.
With our strong record on women at home, the UAE has always looked for effective and constructive partners in the international and multilateral arena. That is why we have been a core supporter of UN-Women since its foundation in 2011.
We have been working to institute a UN Women Liaison Office in Abu Dhabi, the first of its kind in the region, and I am proud to say that the Office was launched this past October. We are honoured to be the hosts of this UN Women office, and we applaud the immense word they do in our region and around the world under the extraordinary vision and leadership of Executive Director Phumzile Mllambo-Ngucka, and Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri.
In terms of thought leadership and research, we have a strong and vibrant relationship with UN Women on critical issues of women, peace and security. From 2014-2015, we were pleased to support the Global Study on the Implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 through a panel series held in partnership with UN Women, which explored emerging issues in the field of women, peace and security.
Today, we are working with UN Women to implement a programme that aims to further gender-sensitive research and data collection to better understand the drivers of extremist violence, and the impacts of counter-terrorism strategies on women and women’s rights organizations.
This year 2017 will be very important year at the Executive Board of UN-Women as the Board will adopt the new Strategic Plan for 2018-2021 and the new Integrated Budget for 2018-2019 at its second regular session in September.
The new Strategic Plan will outline UN-Women’s work in the next four years towards its common goal of achieving gender equality by 2030, as well as how UN-Women supports the gender-responsive implementation of all goals of the 2030 Agenda.
It is important that the strategic plan is ambitious and responsive to the needs of women and girls on the ground.
It is of utmost importance that this process is consultative and transparent. The development of both the strategic plan and integrated budget has already started under the able leadership of Ambassador Khiari and will continue throughout the spring with close collaboration between UN-Women and the new Bureau.
I encourage all of you to follow this process and support UN-Women in this important endeavor.
The Executive Board will also be presented with several evaluations during 2017 in the second regular session. It will also review a report on structured dialogue in financing. It can’t be emphasized enough that in order for UN-Women to deliver its mandate, it will also need support. With this, Member States will need to know how UN-Women is utilizing the funding it receives and reviewing its results.
I am confident that together with the Vice-Presidents from Guyana, Switzerland, and Montenegro, and with the support of the entire membership, we will be able to build on the good work and successes of the 2016 Executive Board.