UN Women Australia welcomes $16.5 million boost for UN Women in Federal Budget

UN Women Australia has welcomed last night’s Federal Budget measures that have increased Australia’s commitment to the work of UN Women over the next four years.

The Federal Budget has re-affirmed Australia’s commitment to the work of UN Women by allocating an additional $16.5 million in core funding to UN Women over four years.

Executive Director of UN Women Australia, Julie McKay welcomed the budget announcement and said it confirmed Australia’s support for the work of UN Women and recognised the integral role of the UN’s new gender agency.

“While the overall delay to the timeframes for the foreign aid assistance program is very concerning, we are pleased the Australian Government has recognised the work of UN Women in advancing gender equality across the world,” Ms McKay said.

“Australia is UN Women’s fifth largest donor and last night’s Budget commitment demonstrates the continued support for UN Women’s work, particularly within our neighbouring Pacific region.

“I also congratulate the Australian Government and AusAID on their clear commitments to assist women in our region through training and leadership opportunities.

“UN Women Australia looks forward to continuing to work collaboratively with AusAID to promote the work of UN Women and its efforts to empower women across the region and internationally.”

The commitment of funding follows Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s announcement last month that Australia had secured a position on the UN Women Executive Board.Australia and Solomon Islands will both take up seats on the UN Women Executive Board from 1 January 2013.

Last month, the Australian Government also announced it will provide $400,000 in 2011-12 to support the development of kits and other material to help countries implement UN Women’s Critical Services initiative.

The Critical Services project aims to ensure that women and girls who are subject to violence have access to critical services including emergency hotlines, police protection, shelter and housing, crisis counselling and health care regardless of where they live.

The funding is part of a $96 million package focused on combating violence against women in developing countries. This package was announced in 2011-12 and will run for four years.

UN Women Australia also welcomes the announcement that AusAID have committed that by 2015-16 40% of leadership positions in AusAID will be held by women.