UN-Women expresses its appreciation for the Corporate Evaluation of UN-Women’s Contribution to Women’s Political Participation and Leadership. The evaluation assesses UN-Women’s cumulative contribution between 2011-2017 towards women’s ability to “lead and participate in decision-making at all levels” (Impact Area 1 of UN-Women’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan) and informs future planning and implementation. Women’s political participation (WPP) is defined as their participation in governance and decision-making bodies, particularly parliaments, local governments, constitutional and other drafting bodies, political parties, executive branches, and as heads of state and/or government, while leadership is considered as a cross-cutting theme. It considers the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of UN-Women’s work on WPP, following extensive document review and consultations with stakeholders, partner agencies and UN-Women staff at Headquarters, Regional Offices and Country Offices. In addition to those listed in the evaluation Synthesis Report, UN-Women also wishes to acknowledge the support of the Political Participation Policy Unit throughout the evaluation process.
UN-Women is pleased to see that the evaluation views UN-Women as well-situated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It cites WPP progress as one of the key drivers for the SDGs, acknowledges UN-Women as the main UN actor and thought leader on WPP and underscores that by grounding its work in normative frameworks and international commitments, UN-Women is considered an impartial, highly credible actor on WPP that is effective in assisting Member States to strengthen norms, policies and implementation. The evaluation also recognizes that with a clear, corporate-wide vision on WPP and strong partnerships, UN-Women has been responsive to country contexts by successfully adapting to political opportunities and challenges. The evaluation arrives within the first year of UN-Women’s second Strategic Plan 2018-2021, affording an opportunity to address its conclusions and recommendations in the new Strategic Plan’s implementation.
The evaluation offers reflections and opportunities for UN-Women to consider lessons learned, leverage its promising practices and explore additional dimensions to approach WPP more systematically, holistically and with expanded capacity. UN-Women takes note that achieving results for WPP requires a long-term, strategic vision, institutionalized knowledge and cross-cutting thematic approaches, and will ensure their application in implementing the new 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. UN-Women appreciates that the evaluation connects WPP, environmental sustainability and local governance, which are altogether critical for realizing the SDGs, while recalling that neither environment nor local governance were included as part of Impact Area 1 programming commitments under UN-Women’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. UN-Women has committed to programming that meets the needs and interests of marginalized women across the board in the new Strategic Plan, and this is no less a priority for WPP.
As UN-Women strives to enhance its structure, capacity and capability to impact on the lives of women and girls who are left behind, it takes note of the staffing capacity gaps cited in the evaluation, and will seek increased resources to address these to ensure UN-Women is sufficiently capacitated to support SDG implementation. The Flagship Programme Initiative on Women’s Political Empowerment and Leadership, aligned with the current Strategic Plan and the SDGs, has prioritized and streamlined areas of programmatic intervention. These considerations, and the evaluation’s recommendations and observations, will inform UN-Women’s WPP work and assessment of its impact on women’s lives around the world.