Annual Report on the Implementation of UNDP Gender Equality Strategy, 2018-2021

Statement by Usha Rao-Monari UNDP Associate Administrator

June 8, 2021

Photo: UNDP Iraq/Claire Thomas

Madam Chair, Members of the Executive Board and colleagues, thank you for joining us today.

2020 was an unprecedented year on many fronts, including for gender equality and women’s empowerment. We saw how the pandemic worsened pre-existing gender inequalities, from a surge in gender-based violence to the increased feminization of poverty.

The COVID-19 pandemic also revealed the fault-lines in the global policy response of governments. The UNDP and UN Women COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker shows for example that only 13% of social protection and labour market measures in 214 countries and territories support women’s economic security.

Even with these challenges, we are happy to share that UNDP made strong progress on implementing the Gender Equality Strategy in 2020, including effectively contributing to a more gender-equitable COVID-19 response.

Last year, 11 out of 15 gender-responsive output indicators met or exceeded their targeted milestones. UNDP was also rated once again as one of the best-performing organizations in the UN system, and recognized in top 5% of all organizations in the 2021 Global Gender and Health Index.

  • Haoliang Xu, the Director of BPPS will go into more detail shortly, but let me first share a few highlights:
    • UNDP supported over 80 countries to address the alarming rise in gender-based violence. For example, as part of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, UNDP fast-tracked prosecution of gender-based violence cases in Malawi through mobile courts in hard-to-reach areas. We prioritized gender-responsive social protection at a time when it was needed most. Notably, 1.8 million people, of whom 69% women, benefited from UNDP cash transfer programmes last year. To support unpaid care work, for example, UNDP assisted with the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Care Policies in Argentina, which is composed of 14 agencies in the Executive Branch.
    • As part of UNDP’s climate work, 114 Climate Promise countries (out of 118) committed to strengthening gender considerations in their nationally determined contributions.

Despite these achievements, we recognize that we can do more to achieve structural transformation for gender equality. This includes further prioritizing gender equality in crisis and fragile settings, addressing the projected feminization of poverty due to COVID-19, and strengthening our capacities and financial investments to match the scope of development challenges.

Thank you, Members of the Board, for your continued support in these challenging times. This progress on our gender goals would not be possible without your valuable support and guidance.