Statement by UN Women Finland regarding the partnership between UN Women and the Government of Finland
UN Women is the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and UN Women Finland is the Finnish National Committee of UN Women. Finland has a longstanding partnership with UN Women, and Finland’s support to UN Women has been crucial in the organization’s work globally and in Finland. The priorities of the Finnish Development Policy are closely aligned with UN Women’s strategic priorities.
In 2021, Finland’s contribution to UN Women’s regular resources was 19 million euros, and Finland has consistently remained as a top 5 largest funder of UN Women’s regular resources. Core resources are essential for UN Women’s work at country level where women and girls need UN Women the most. Core resources ensure that UN Women stays agile and flexible to respond to upcoming urgent needs and allow offices to respond to crises and conflicts, which is particularly important in the world we currently live in. They are also the funds that allow offices to invest in new and emerging areas of work such as climate change or the digital divide. Finland’s role as one of UN Women’s largest donors to core funding has been vital in the organization’s work, and we not only welcome but expect careful scrutiny into our finances and operations and applaud efforts such as those being driven by Minister Skinnari and the Finnish government to ensure the highest possible standards of financial management in UN Women and the United Nations more broadly.
UN Women’s regular resources have made possible, for example, the following results during the implementation of UN Women’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021:
- 41 countries developed and implemented national action plans on gender equality and gender-responsive budgets
- 44 countries, home to 1.6 billion women and girls, have a stronger legal, regulatory and policy environment on women’s economic empowerment
- 43 additional cities supported by UN-Women have data on the prevalence of sexual harassment against women and girls in public spaces
- 22 additional countries have adopted or strengthened legislation addressing violence against women and girls in private and public spaces that (1) is in line with best practices (2) has allocated a budget and (3) has an oversight mechanism for monitoring
- 12 additional countries have legislation (in line with best practices) to prevent, investigate, sanction and redress femicide/feminicide/gender related killings of women
- 57 countries, home to 2.5 billion women and girls, have strengthened national action plans (NAPs) and strategies to end violence against women with a component that addresses social norms, attitudes and behaviour transformation
- 69 countries, home to 2.7 billion women and girls, have improved access to quality support services for survivors of violence
- 83.7 million people (including over 22.5 million women and girls in 2021 alone) reached through grants from the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women (UN Trust Fund)
- A 12 percentage-point increase (2017–2021) in Peacebuilding Fund resources allocated for peacebuilding projects that address women’s specific needs, advance gender equality and/or empower women as their principal objective
None of this work would have been possible without UN Women’s regular resources, and throughout UN Women’s history, Finland has remained one of the organization’s top donors to regular resources.
It is also worth noting that the Finnish general public donated an unprecedented amount to UN Women through the Finnish National Committee’s fundraiser to Afghanistan during the current crisis, followed by yet another record-breaking donation amount to Ukraine as a response to the ongoing war. The trust placed in UN Women by both the government of Finland as well as the Finnish general public is highly appreciated by UN Women, and we recognize and value the commitment and partnership that has been built between UN Women and Finland over the years. UN Women remains committed in ensuring that this trust and partnership continues and grows stronger.
Further information about Finland’s support to UN Women can be found here and here.
UN Women fully understands possible concerns that the Finnish government or general public may have regarding the use of funds allocated to UN Women by Finland, and UN Women welcomes any actions, financial audits and scrutiny that may be deemed appropriate to ease any questions and concerns that may arise from the situation regarding United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). This week, Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle published a detailed article regarding the possible misuse of funds by UNOPS and its S3i programme (Sustainable Investments in Infrastructure and Innovation).
UN Women has completed clean, transparent and independent audits since the establishment of this entity, and recently UN Women passed an EU Pillar Assessment exercise which scrutinized UN Women’s financial management and found it to be meet EU standards.
The Finnish government and Finnish taxpayers have placed a great deal of trust in UN Women’s work and ability to deliver tangible, life changing results to women and girls around the world, and we take this trust and the financial support given to us extremely seriously. UN Women will continue to work in close partnership with Finland and others to ensure that we continue meeting the highest possible standards of financial management, transparency and accountability in our operations both globally and in Finland.
UN Women Finland is one of the fastest growing National Committees of UN Women, which is a concrete reflection of the deep trust both the Finnish government and the Finnish general public have placed in both UN Women, and the Finnish National Committee. It also demonstrates Finland’s commitment to advancing the gender equality agenda locally and globally, and UN Women takes pride in being a key partner to Finland in delivering results for girls and women around the world.
The Finnish government has requested UN Women, along with other UN agencies, to complete a questionnaire and assessment to ensure that the organization has an independent oversight system in place to monitor the use of funds, and to confirm that employees have tools and systems in place that enable them to report possible wrongdoings or concerns. UN Women is happy to provide any details and further information to ensure that our crucial partnership with Finland continues. UN Women is not currently under any investigations regarding the organization’s use of funds. The request that has been made to complete the questionnaire and assessment was made to all UN agencies that Finland gives financial support to, as a general precaution. UN Women wholeheartedly supports this effort by Finland to ensure the upmost transparency and accountability.
We are confident that UN Women not only meets but exceeds all the requirements and benchmarks for financial and operational transparency, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Finland to deliver concrete, tangible results for girls and women on the basis of mutual trust, cooperation and commitment to our commonly shared values.
Questions and media inquiries can be directed to:
Jaana Hirsikangas, Executive Director, UN Women Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Winiecki, Communications Manager, UN Women Finland, email@example.com