NEW YORK – In her capacity as President of the UN Women Executive Board for 2017, Her Excellency Mrs. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in New York, opened the Board’s Annual Session, which convened from June 27 to 28. As President of the Executive Board for 2017, Ambassador Nusseibeh was the key facilitator of the discussions.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador Nusseibeh underlined the UAE’s support of UN Women’s critical role in leading global efforts in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women. The partnership between the UAE and UN Women has resulted in the launch of a UN Women Liaison Office in Abu Dhabi under the patronage of the UAE’s First Lady, Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak. Ambassador Nusseibeh noted that this Liaison Office will serve as the first of its kind in the region, and will undoubtedly strengthen UN Women’s work in accelerating efforts to deliver for women and girls everywhere.

Ambassador Nusseibeh also highlighted the UN’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, on which Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, served as a key member.  The panel released a ground breaking report in March 2017, which provided concrete recommendations to accelerate progress towards women’s full and equal participation. Ambassador Nusseibeh lauded the report, underlining that women’s economic empowerment is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ambassador Nusseibeh remarked that the UAE believes in UN Women’s ability to promote and further gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world, and stated, “As the President of the Executive Board, I can assure you of my commitment to strengthening coordination, transparency, and collaboration of UN Women’s programs and initiatives.”

Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, thanked Ambassador Nusseibeh for her dedication and engagement as President of the Executive Board and for her enthusiastic support for UN Women and the promotion of gender equality. She further praised the UAE for making UN Women its top funding priority within the UN system, underscoring its commitment to the empowerment of women around the world.

The Executive Board discussed the draft Strategic Plan for 2018-2021, which will be adopted during the Board’s Second Regular Session in September 2017. The Annual Session also addressed UN Women’s operational efforts in Somalia, as the country undergoes state and peace building processes, in addition to UN Women’s evaluation of its strategic partnerships for gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Annual Session concluded with the successful adoption of three decisions related to the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2014-2017, as well as the Evaluation Function of UN Women, and the Internal Audit and Investigation Activities in 2016.