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Onderstaande oproep werd op 5 november 2003 verspreid door het secretariaat van de Women's International Coalition for Economic Justice

From: Carol Barton
To: ;
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 8:37 PM
Subject: [wicejlist] ALERT: UNIFEM funds threatened

ALERT: UNIFEM funds threatened as Dutch propose gender mainstreaming to replace Women's Programs in the UN or at the National Level (Your urgent action required)

The Dutch government has taken the decision to eliminate their funding for UNIFEM next year. Currently the Dutch funding represents 20% of the UNIFEM's core budget. What does this mean for UNIFEM? According to Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer, the loss of these funds could lead to cutbacks in all regions and programs, and up to a 50% cut of UNIFEM funding in the African region alone. It appears that the Dutch government decided to prioritise support for gender mainstreaming over support for women-specific programs, on the basis that women's agencies have not been successful in mainstreaming gender equality. This also marks a dangerous trend for women's NGOs who depend on donor dollars.

We urge you to:
*      Write the government of the Netherlands requesting full funding to UNIFEM for fiscal year 2004 and a continued commitment to women's programming within the UN system and bi-laterally
*      Mobilize to support UNIFEM and women-specific programming in the UN and globally
*      Alert the Dutch press and international press to this situation
*      Open a broader debate about the failure of gender mainstreaming in the UN and globally, due to a flawed understanding of the concept-which for most officials has meant simply adding women to failing development policies, or paying lip-service to gender while ignoring women's concerns.

Please act this week! Below, find a sample letter and contact information for the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more information please contact: Joan Ross-Frankson ( or Carol Barton (

To: The Honorable Anna Maria Agnes van Ardenne-van der Hoeven, Minister for Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands



Dear Minister van Aardenne,
I are writing to you out of our concern over pending budget choices of your office that will effectively weaken UNIFEM as a strong voice for women within United Nations policymaking and implementation processes, and as a staunch proponent of women's advancement at the country level.
     UNIFEM is the only UN agency with a mandate to advance women's rights and empower women. It was created not from the bureaucracy itself but from the demands of the women's movement. Any reform should be in the direction of strengthening UNIFEM with more resources for regional level activities and more political clout within the UN itself.
     While I share the frustration of many over the slow progress of gender mainstreaming within the UN system, we view this as a failure of the institutional leadership to give serious recognition and resources to women and gender concerns. The weakening of UNIFEM, therefore, will only result in the further marginalization and diminution of women's concerns, throughout the UN system.
     I stand ready to work with you, UNIFEM, the UN and other stakeholders to truly integrate women's concerns into UN policy and programs.

Yours sincerely,

In Dutch

Minister Anna Maria Agnes van Ardenne-van der Hoeven
Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken
Postbus 20061
NL-2500 EB Den Haag
The Netherlands
Fax: 31 70 - 3 48 4848

In English
Minister Anna Maria Agnes van Ardenne-van der Hoeven
Minister for Development Cooperation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Postbus 20061
NL-2500 EB Den Haag
The Netherlands
Fax: 31 70 - 3 48 4848