ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) on Wednesday signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to develop a common approach for better coordination and cooperation to work effectively on advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in Pakistan.
This initiative will support the government of Pakistan in increasing women’s economic empowerment opportunities. This joint collaboration will work to strengthen women’s economic capacities wherever their rights are violated their opportunities are suppressed and their contributions to the economy are ignored, UN Women and UNIDO under this LoI, will also provide technical assistance to Federal and Provincial departments working for women development and will ensure enhanced coordination with multi stakeholders including the UN system, Civil Society, microfinance institutions and the private sector to improve women’s access to economic opportunities.
On this occasion, UN Women Country Director Alice Shackelford said, “Both UNIDO and UN Women have been working on the issues of women’s economic empowerment to bring change in the lives of women and girls.” She emphasised that UN Women works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls, the empowerment of women, and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners in development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
UN Women’s objective is to enhance national capacity and ownership to enable national partners to formulate gender responsive laws and policies and to scale up successful strategies to deliver on national commitments on gender equality. She said, “UN Women is envisaging a close partnership with UNIDO on its key thematic areas including women’s economic empowerment, women’s leadership in disaster risk reduction and humanitarian response and gender equality in planning, budgeting and statistics.” She asserted that the joint partnership will be very beneficial in augmenting the relations with the private sector as well as other non-traditional stakeholders for better planning on women’s economic empowerment initiatives throughout the country.
UNIDO Representative Shadia Bakhait shared that UNIDO has been working towards improving the quality of life of the world’s poor by drawing on its combined global resources and expertise. She said that a competitive and environmentally sustainable industry has a crucial role to play in accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
UNIDO’s Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme has been working to facilitate gender-sensitized initiatives that focus on the integration of women in highly non-traditional sectors. The Programme has been implementing innovative strategies to train and connect women as producers and entrepreneurs with the value chain as productive members of the creative industry.
She emphasized, that in doing so, UNIDO has been working on bringing gender parity in the industrial sector by making it more inclusive for women. In order to strengthen its mandate, UNIDO is joining hands with UN Women to augment future interventions and maximize outcomes.
Both heads of UN agencies indicated combined efforts towards further enhancing advocacy initiatives for development of the women of Pakistan, which includes safeguarding the rights of women, uplifting their status and amplifying gender related issues in policies and relevant programmes. This initiative will also be a step towards, working on capacity enhancement of women in commerce, trade and production. Through a strengthened mandate, UNIDO and UN Women can better coordinate efforts with the private sector, non-government organisations NGOs, civil society and financial institutions to maximise outcomes and reach a common goal.