VIENNA, 14 June 2017 – Li Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), represented by Ms Fatou Haidara, today joined counterparts from other Vienna-based Organizations and representatives of the Diplomatic Corps to launch the Vienna Chapter of the International Gender Champions.
The International Gender Champions (IGC) is a leadership network that brings together decision-makers who commit to promote gender equality.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, conveyed his congratulations on the launch by way of a video message. He said he joined the Gender Champions when he was High Commissioner for Refugees and that he proudly renewed his commitment when he became Secretary-General.
Guterres commended the senior UN leaders who are signing on as Gender Champions, adding, “When we keep our promise to achieve equality, we will have a more promising future for all.”
As an International Gender Champion, UNIDO Director General Li will support the IGC Panel Parity Pledge to ensure that there is an active conversation each time a panel is composed, and that the process of including high performing dynamic female experts (and in the case of 'women's issues' panels, dynamic male experts), will eventually become reflexive. Li has personally pledged to ensure that equal numbers of women and men are speaking at events on inclusive and sustainable industrial development.
Two further pledges are that UNIDO will develop an action plan to improve the gender balance of the organization’s workforce, and that UNIDO will track progress on the use of the gender marker to assess and report on the organization’s contribution to gender equality through its programmes and projects.
In her address on behalf of the UNIDO Director General, Haidara, who is Managing Director of Policy and Programme Support, said, “At UNIDO, we know that women are powerful agents of change. Gender equality is not only a matter of human rights. Gender equality is critical for inclusive and sustainable industrial development.”
Haidara added, “It is our firm conviction that women must be involved across the board, and be at the decision-making table at all levels.”
Other speakers supporting the initiative included Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the UN Office in Vienna, the heads of the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Slovenia, and the United States, and the heads of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.