||We welcome these recommendations and will endeavor to take them on board.
We agree that we need to be more transparent about our approach to choosing themes for the reports. For the 2019-2020 report, we spent considerable time consulting with different internal stakeholders on the theme, both at HQ and the field, presenting a number of options and proposing our preferred theme. In the next cycle, we will consider a more open-ended process in which we survey colleagues for their most pressing information needs. However, we are also keen to retain the innovative, horizon-scanning element of Progress reports, and we note that taking this approach may mean that we end up with a theme that reflects UN Women’s current themes, rather than more cutting edge and emerging issues.
We acknowledge the need to develop a long term, strategic, outreach strategy for Progress (beyond the global launch plan), and implemented this recommendation for our flagship report on gender equality and the SDGs, which was launched in early 2018. In terms of engaging end users early, we took steps to do this by announcing the theme of the next Progress report on the International Day of Families on 15 May 2017 and putting out a short animation, and blog posts by Shahra Razavi on why the theme of families posted on the UN Women website.
We will also ask the Communications Team to better integrate our flagship reports into their strategies and ask them to take responsibility for periodically mining the reports and making better use of their rich contents.
More generally, we agree that we need greater support and buy-in for outreach and advocacy work from other parts of UN Women. As part of our work to position the 2019-2020, we worked with an internal working group made up of colleagues from the Executive Director’s office, the communications team, civil society team, intergovernmental team and regional offices. Senior management were very positive about this approach to getting organization-wide buy-in.
We note that the evaluation found that take-up of the 2011 report was greater among those constituencies that were either involved in the research process (eg. field colleagues who were asked to contribute information for boxes etc) or who were on the advisory group (eg. CEDAW committee members). We had already selected the advisory group for the next report before the evaluation was finalized, and in this case, it is made up mainly of leading feminist scholar/activists on different aspects of families. However, we supplemented their expert advice with a number of other steps. We held a series of pre-briefings before the report was launched with key stakeholders, including member state and key civil society stakeholders, which helped to generate buy-in for the report and its findings before the report was launched.
The proposal for a research blog is well taken and would help to ensure that Progress stays on our audiences’ radars in between editions, but would require a devoted outreach specialist to ensure quality and sustainability (see below). We have instead launched a Progress News newsletter, which includes highlights and updates on the report, and we also have a new twitter hashtag to highlight the publication of UN Women research papers and briefs, including background papers for the report.
We accept and will implement the recommendations on engagement with the traditional and new media, recognizing that some aspects of this approach have been part of the process that we have followed in previous years.
We accept the recommendation to develop and implement a robust monitoring plan. We have already taken steps in this regard: we are now able to track downloads of our publications from the UN Women website and related microsites; and we are working on using DOIs on our publications, via a partnership with the UN Publications’ iLibrary. A more expansive monitoring plan is in process, but we will need to be modest in our aims, because we lack staff capacity to implement it on a sustained basis.