Monday, March 09, 2009

Q&A Time has Come for a New UN Women's Agency

by: Nergui Manalsuren, Inter Press Service

A mother and child in Suva, Fiji.
A mother and child in Suva, Fiji.

Nergui Manalsuren interviews Stephen Lewis, AIDS and gender expert. United Nations - After being blind for years to the needs and rights of women, the United Nations is finally well on its way to create a "fully resourced" women's agency, says Stephen Lewis, the former U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. A long-time vocal advocate for women's rights, Lewis helped promote the creation of a billion-dollar gender institution, saying it is reasonable to ask for such an amount considering that the agency will deal with issues affecting half of the world's population, and that the funding is just a third of that given to the U.N.'s children's agency UNICEF and a quarter of the U.N.'s Development Fund's (UNDP) budget. "We have an agency for children, we have an agency for health, we have an agency for sexual and reproductive rights, we've got agencies for all kinds of things, but not for women who need one, and I think the time has come," he told IPS correspondent Nergui Manalsuren. The proposal calls for a new "gender architecture" including the consolidation of three existing U.N. entities - the U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women - under a single new U.N. agency. Read More»

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