At the occasion of this last newsletter in 2020, it is time to reflect about a difficult year for all of us due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to look to the future. I am proud of what UNITAR has achieved over the past 12 months despite the pandemic as our work has shifted almost entirely online while we strove to ensure the best quality of our trainings, research and capacity-building activities.
For the coming year, UNITAR’s focus will be on identifying new opportunities, for example by integrating a health focus into existing and new programming, as well as further developing the technical and digital capabilities to enable our work.
Many of the articles in this newsletter focus on gender equality. In November 2020, UN Women announced "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” as the theme for the 2021 International Women’s Day - 8 March. Our collaboration with UN Women through our "Women’s Leadership Programme" was launched 5 years ago, while partnering with many other stakeholders since then, to deliver training and capacity building for women’s leadership for peace.
In times when progress on establishing and accelerating women's’ participation and leadership in decision making, peace and security, is at stake, we need to ensure that women’s contributions reach the table of discussions and that find a fertile ground to be developed and thrive, as widely proven to result in.
Health can be both the driver and the valuable fruit of peace and security. However, women representation in leading roles, including those who determine policies to confront the current health situation, is far from adequate and proportionate. At UNITAR, we cross-institutionally mainstream gender in our programmes and activities as a top-most priority. We realize now, more than ever, the urgency to deliver change in support of women empowerment and gender equality, by raising awareness on taking steps towards implementing SDG 5, and by strengthening the skills and capacities of women in leadership contexts, in local, national, and regional levels.
I wish you a healthy and peaceful holiday season and look forward to continuing our work with you in 2021.