Press release 129/2014
United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will visit Finland on 9–10 June. She will meet Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto, Chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Timo Soini, and representatives of Finnish NGOs and society. Mlambo-Ngcuka and President Tarja Halonen will be the keynote speakers at a seminar examining the role of women in peacebuilding and statebuilding. The seminar will be opened by Minister for International Development Haavisto.
Finland regards gender equality as one of the key prerequisites of development in general. Limited involvement of women in decision-making is a big problem. Finland and UN Women want to support participation of women in conflict prevention and resolution; peacekeeping and mediation missions; and building of societies both in conflict and post-humanitarian crisis situations.
UN Women began its operation in January 2011, when various UN gender equality entities were brought under one roof. It has operations in more than 90 countries, where it cooperates with governments, NGOs, and other UN agencies.
The primary task of UN Women is promote gender coordination within the UN system. It lays emphasis on the political leadership and involvement of women; increasing economic empowerment of women; prevention of violence against women and girls; enhancement of the role of women in peace and security issues; and inclusion of gender equality perspective in all operations.
Finland is strongly committed to UN Women’s work, and has significantly increased its core funding for the agency in recent years. At the moment, Finland is the third largest donor of the agency. This reflects the importance of gender equality in the Finnish government programme, the Development Policy Action Plan, and the Foreign Service’s UN strategy.
Executive Director Mlambo-Ngcuka was actively involved in the South African politics for a long time, serving, for example, as Minister of Minerals and Energy in 1999–2005, and the country’s first female Deputy President in 2005–2008. In recent years, she has been promoting the education of girls and entrepreneurship of women in South Africa in various ways. Mlambo-Ngcuka was appointed to the position of the Executive Director of UN Women, headquartered in New York, in August 2013.
Additional information: Tiina Nikkinen, First Secretary, Unit for UN Development Issues, tel. +358 40 132 1798; Pirjo-Liisa Heikkilä, Press Officer, Unit for Development Communications, tel. +358 50 571 5659; and www.unwomen.org