On Monday, 16 January 2017, the UN Women Executive Board elected the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, to the Presidency of the UN-Women Executive Board for 2017.

The Ambassador will be representing the Asia-Pacific Group at the United Nations, during her presidency on the Executive Board.

In her acceptance speech, the Ambassador expressed her gratitude to the previous president, Ambassador Mohamed Khaled Khiari, the Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations. for his committed leadership and excellent contributions during his term as well as to Phumzile Mllambo- Nguka, Executive Director of UN-Women for her dynamic leadership of UN women.

The Ambassador also thanked the members of the Executive Board for electing her as president for 2017, and said she looked forward to working with the Board and UN Women on promoting their priorities for the year.

Ambassador Nusseibeh highlighted the UAE’s important achievements towards attaining gender equality and the empowerment of women, and noted that “gender equality is of paramount importance to the UAE”. She underscored that “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.”

The Ambassador noted that a key aspect of women’s advancement has been due to a steady focus on women’s political participation, and that, today, women comprise 17.5 percent of the Federal National Council. She mentioned that H.E. Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi, President of the Council, was the first woman in the UAE and in the Arab world to lead a national assembly. She added that women constitute 28% of the UAE Cabinet, holding diverse and important portfolios.

Ambassador Nusseibeh emphasized the importance of partnerships in advancing gender equality and empowering women. “With our strong record on women at home, the UAE has always looked for effective and constructive partners in the international and multilateral arena.” The UAE has been a core supporter of UN-Women since its foundation in 2011, and has recently launched a UN Women Liaison Office in Abu Dhabi, the first of its kind in the Gulf, under the patronage of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Al Ketbi, First Lady of the UAE and Chair of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Mother of the Nation. She continued to say, “We are honored to be the host of this UN Women office, and we applaud the immense work they do in our region and around the world under the extraordinary vision and leadership of Executive Director Phumzile Mllambo-Nguka, and Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri”.

Ambassador Nusseibeh announced that 2017 will be a very important year for 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. She confirmed that 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 supporting the gender-responsive implementation of all goals of the 2030 Agenda, stressing the importance of a strategic plan that is ambitious and responsive to the needs of women and girls on the ground.

“It is of the utmost importance that this process is consultative and transparent,” adding that the development of both the strategic plan and integrated budget will continue throughout the spring, in close collaboration between UN-Women and the new Bureau.

Ambassador Nusseibeh also reviewed the Executive Board’s work program for 2017, which will include the presentation of several evaluations during 2017 in the second regular session, in addition to reviewing a report on structured dialogue in financing. She strongly emphasized 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.

Ambassador Nusseibeh concluded that she is confident that together with the Vice-Presidents from Guyana, Liberia, Montenegro and Switzerland, and with the support of the entire membership, the Executive Board will be able to build on the good work and successes of 2016.