Thank you for joining us for the launch of the new Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women for the UN Office at Vienna and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime for 2022 to 2026.
The Strategy represents a commitment to achieving excellence through inclusion and equality, and a pledge to support our Member States in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, meeting the needs of all members of society and leaving no one behind.
Greater diversity and inclusion enrich our institutions and contribute to greater accountability. An investment in women’s representation and leadership, within our own organization and throughout our operations, benefits all of us.
Both in my personal and professional life, as a development practitioner, as a minister, and now as a UN official, I have taken deliberate and concrete steps to advance gender equality in the workplace, from setting up childcare spaces in the ministry I led to achieving and upholding gender parity at both UNOV and UNODC.
I am not doing this because it is good for women. I am doing this because it is good for society as a whole.
I have found powerful allies in other gender champions, both men and women, and together we have fought for women and girls, so that they can realize their full potential.
I am the mother of three boys, and I am convinced that a more equal world is a better world for my sons and their dreams and aspirations, and for their lives, families and careers.
These perspectives inform my approach to the UNOV/UNODC gender strategy, which I am proud to launch today.
The crime prevention and criminal justice mandates our Office has been entrusted with have a very direct and real impact on the safety and well-being of women and girls, and on their ability to exercise their rights and stand equal before the law.
Crime, drugs, corruption, and terrorism affect all of us, but they have differing impacts on women and girls, and on men and boys.
Conflict, humanitarian and economic crises, the Covid pandemic and the climate emergency have made it clear that the gains achieved by women and girls are fragile, and the threats that face them, from gender-based violence and terror, to human trafficking and child marriage, are very real.
Our Office therefore has a special responsibility to protect, enable, and empower women and girls, in our workplaces and through our work.
Through our support to 143 countries and territories over the past two years, we have implemented 91 projects addressing gender and trained over 900 personnel on related issues.
Women remain severely under-represented in the law enforcement and criminal justice sectors, with women accounting for less than one out of six police officers globally.
UNODC is helping to address the imbalance through its technical assistance and through networks such as the GLO.ACT Women’s Network of Gender Champions against Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling and women’s networks led by our biggest global programmes, including the Container Control Programme, AIRCOP and the Global Maritime Crime Programme.
In our own office, we have raised the number of women in leadership positions, and achieved an 88 percent female selection rate for security service recruitments in the past year.
In 2022, we also marked the first International Day of Women Judges on 10th March, which was adopted by the General Assembly with recognition of UNODC’s Global Judicial Integrity Network.
On that day, I launched the Women in Justice/for Justice initiative together with the Austrian Minister of Justice. Through this initiative, we are raising awareness and celebrating women and men justice leaders, as well as promoting UNODC programmes that are helping to advance women’s representation and leadership in the justice sector, strengthen integrity and gender-responsive criminal justice, and improve data collection.
In order to strengthen the knowledge base on gender and justice, UNODC has continued to publish flagship research on the gender-based killings of women and girls.
Together with UN Women, we developed a statistical framework to measure femicide, which was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission earlier this year.
The 2022 World Drug Report, which we are launching at the end of this month, features gender-disaggregated data on the use of different drug types both globally and regionally, and details disparities in treatment.
Furthermore, UNODC has examined the gender dimensions of corruption, and we continue to support Member States in providing equal access to justice, and sharpening responses to gender-based violence and other crimes.
Our new Gender Strategy will provide a foundation to further advance our efforts.
It takes a twin-track approach, addressing on the one hand internal structures and issues of recruitment, training, and career support, and on the other hand, our assistance to Member States in our mandate areas.
The new strategy strengthens the focus on male engagement and tackling intersecting challenges to better target persisting inequalities.
It also contains an important field component, to improve implementation on the ground, in support of the UNODC corporate strategy, our Strategic Vision for Africa 2030 and new Strategic Vision for Latin America and the Caribbean 2022-2025, as well as our global, regional, and country programmes.
The world is going through unprecedented challenges and difficulties, and while women have been suffering the most, I see them as the solution. Educating girls and empowering women holds the answer to many of the world’s problems.
Before I hand over the floor, I would like to thank Ambassador Markovic for moderating our event today, and for Sweden’s steadfast support.
I am grateful to the International Gender Champions and the Group of Friends of Gender, which is ably co-chaired by Ambassador Kitsell and Ambassador Ruiz, for their advocacy and efforts.
And I would like to thank UN Women and Executive Director Sima Bahous for their support and to commend our strong collaboration.