France was elected, on 10 November in New York, to the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), a new organ which will become operational on 1 January 2011.
This election by acclamation underlines the international community’s confidence in France to play its full part within the UN Women Executive Board in promoting the role of women. This new structure brings together two entities financed by voluntary contributions from the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) as well as two departments funded by the UN general budget (mandatory).
It also represents a sign of recognition of France’s commitment to women, notably reflected by several recent initiatives:
France also instigated, together with the Netherlands, an annual UN General Assembly resolution calling for increased efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women;
our country also instigated the implementation by the Human Rights Council of a new group of independent experts with a mandate to eliminate laws and practices that discriminate against women.
within the European Union, France pushed through, under its presidency, the adoption of guidelines on violence against women and the fight against all forms of discrimination against them, which provide a framework for the action of the diplomatic network of the EU and its member States.
Furthermore, France has just implemented a new Priority Solidarity Fund (PSF) devoted to the fight against violence to women, with funding of €1.5 million; the main partner of this fund is the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). This year our country is also developing, together with UNIFEM, a project to provide legal aid to women in Afghanistan (with funding of €500,000).
Our action on the ground to promote the status of women, and to combat discrimination and violence against them also takes other forms: through funds dispersed from the Social Development Fund (SDF) for the period 2009-2010, France supports projects worth €4.8 million in 17 countries in the Priority Solidarity Zone (ZSP) in support of women’s associations and actions to promote gender equality; a PSF focusing on "gender and economic development in Africa" has enabled us to mobilize €3 million since 2009.