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UN Women Agency

Volume 523: debated on Wednesday 16 February 2011

9. What plans he has to provide support for the new UN Women agency; and if he will make a statement. (40979)

The coalition Government strongly support the new UN Women agency, which has the chance to make a hugely positive impact on the lives of millions of girls and women in the developing world. I look forward to receiving its strategic results plan, which will allow us to decide on funding by the British taxpayer for future years.

I thank the Secretary of State for that encouraging response, and for the part he and his colleagues have played in the establishment of UN Women so far. When does he anticipate he will come to a decision on funding for UN Women?

We expect to see a strategic plan from UN Women probably in June this year, and as soon as we see it, we will be able to make decisions about British support for the agency. I am sure the hon. Lady and other Members will understand that I want to see the plan first, before committing hard-earned British taxpayers’ money to it.

From the experience of the many visits my right hon. Friend has made across the world, does he agree that very often it is women who are the agents for change in development? Just as UNICEF has helped to support the focus on children, so it is to be hoped that UN Women can help support women as agents for change and development.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We cannot even begin to address development without realising the centrality of girls and women in every aspect of what we do, and we share his aspirations for the role of UN Women within the international structures.