Gender Team: What are some of the changes and progress you have seen in terms of promoting gender equality since the adoption of the first UNOV/UNODC Gender Mainstreaming Strategy? Are there any moments and achievements that stand out?
Hanny Cueva-Beteta: The fact that we have a Gender Team and a gender strategy is an accomplishment in itself! However, while I understand organizational culture is slow to change, I believe that we have made a lot of progress in UNODC on the need to address gender and intersectionality in our work. Awareness has increased at all levels at UNODC and has coincided with the arrival of the first female Under Secretary General leading UNODC, which I believe helped to provide further momentum on awareness raising.
I have also noticed more discussions and knowledge products on gender (both mainstreaming and targeted efforts) and the key thematic areas under UNODC’s mandate, such as those linked to corruption, transnational organized crime, criminal justice reform and law enforcement. These discussions are essential for us to have an adequate understanding of what can be done and what remains to be done. I believe progress towards increasing women at the P4 and above professional levels needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.
Gender Team: What do you think are the next big steps towards closing the gender gap in the work that your Regional Office does and where would you like to be in 2026 in terms of gender equality?
Hanny Cueva-Beteta: I believe that there are three key areas that we need to prioritize in the upcoming years:
Firstly, more intersectional representation (at least gender and geographic origin), both with senior management in HQ and among Field Office representatives and within key teams at UNODC. I know this takes time, but we are slowly getting there and the more progress we make in this area, the better our chances are to improve gender sensitive delivery of our work in the mandated areas.
Second, the strengthening of the internal gender network and the compilation of internal good practices in programming and other knowledge exchanges would be helpful to further mainstream gender within our own work. In the spirit of one of the recommendations of the Strategic Vision for Latin America and the Caribbean, having gender advisors supporting its implementation in the region would also help in supporting practical approaches to mainstream gender in our work in the mandated areas.
Third, and finally, we need to develop a gender marker / tracker to assess progress. This is probably the most complex element of it all, but it is essential to have a better sense of the extent to which programmes and projects invest in ensuring gender mainstreaming and/or specifically in promoting targeted efforts to promote gender equality.
Gender Team: How do you view the role of leadership in successfully promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in UNOV/UNODC’s work and its working environment?
Hanny Cueva-Beteta: The commitment of our senior managers has been essential for progress at UNODC – at least when it comes to reaching a gender parity zone (40/60) among P4 staff and above. All categories (except D2) in UNODC have reached the parity zone by 2020. More specifically, in the Division of Operations, we have a woman Director, parity at the D1 level (1 man/1 woman) and among my peer Chiefs of Regional Sections, we have also achieved parity with 2 women and 2 men.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, we are proud to be among the first regions that are about to reach parity among representatives as well, with 3 female and 3 male representatives of Field Offices. In terms of personnel, UNODC has a total of 797 personnel in the region of which 51% are women. Furthermore, I believe the equal representation of women at the decision-making level within UNODC helps in progressing towards delivering our mandated areas in a more gender sensitive approach.