In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly established UN Women.The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, consolidating the Organization’s resources and mandates on gender equality for greater impact. UN Women brings together four pre-existing entities, calling on UN Women to have universal coverage, strategic presence and ensure closer linkages between the norm setting inter-governmental work and operations at the field level. Partnership is recognized as central to the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment and UN Women has placed strategic importance on the development and maintenance of partnerships as a core approach of the entity.
The work of UN Women is guided by the Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the United Nations Millennium Declaration, relevant General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Commission on the Status of Women and other applicable United Nations instruments, standards and resolutions. UN Women has three core mandates:
- Normative work: to support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women and the General Assembly, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms;
- Operational work: to help Member States to implement international standards and to forge effective partnerships with civil society; and
- Coordination work: entails both work to lead and coordinate the UN system’s work on gender equality, as well as promote accountability, including through regular monitoring of system-wide progress, and also the broader role of the entity in mobilizing and convening key stakeholders and partnerships.
Partnership is one of UN Women’s core approaches, and is seen as fundamental to the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The founding documents of UN Women mandate partnership, in particular with civil society, UN entities, and Member states, and through the Strategic Plan with the private sector and regional and international organizations. Furthermore, United Nations Member States, through the resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (A/RES/67/226), encouraged the UN system to engage in partnership not only with government but also with international financial institutions, civil society, the private sector and foundations (para 20), and highlighted the importance of partnerships, for UN Women in particular, for ensuring gender-responsive operational activities (para 85)