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Women’s eNews Examines Launch Of U.N. Women

Women’s eNews examines U.N.’s new agency U.N. Women, which officially got off the ground on Jan. 3. According to the news service, U.N. Women’s “Manhattan headquarters remain unoccupied, said U.N. Women spokesperson Gretchen Luchsinger”; employees from the previous U.N. entities that focused on women’s issues remain in “scattered offices around the U.N. Secretariat building”; and “[s]even high-level staff positions” remain unfilled.

“U.N. Women activity is likely to remain low-key until the public ceremonial launch on Feb. 24 – pushed back from Jan. 20 – at the U.N. Secretariat, according to [Margot] Baruch,” spokesperson for the Gender Equality Architecture Reform, a civil society coalition that campaigned for the creation of U.N. Women. The public launch will “coincide with the start of the annual month-long session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which typically brings in thousands of women’s rights activists from around the world,” according to the news service.

Additionally, “[c]oncerns raised in the fall about the agency’s financing – a minimum annual $500 million budget is deemed necessary to scale up programming and see any impact – have continued into the new year,” Women’s eNews writes. “On its new Web site, U.N. Women says it so far has received nearly $77 million in country pledges, which will become a part of the budget that aims to scale up to $500 million by the end of 2011.”

“U.N. Women’s budget is going to be part of the first regular session of U.N. Women’s executive board, running Jan. 24-26, said Luchsinger” by email, according to Women’s eNews. “Luchsinger said U.N. Women couldn’t provide numbers on the entire staff size, including high-level positions, until after the budget is approved.”

The piece includes Baruch’s comments on what could be slowing down making U.N. Women fully operational and notes the high expectations U.N. Women and Executive Director Michelle Bachelet will likely face, as described by Paula Donovan, co-director of the New York City-based NGO AIDS Free World (Lieberman, 1/13).

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