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Speaking with ‘One Voice’: Launch of the Asia Pacific Human Development Report on gender

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Regional UNDP HDR launch in Ha NoiThe regional UNDP Human Development Report (HDR) for Asia Pacific was launched recently in Viet Nam with a focus on gender equality and economic power, political decision-making and legal rights.  Because these are important issues for Viet Nam and relate to the work of multiple agencies, a joint UN approach was used for the national press launch on March 9.  

An interagency panel consisting of heads of agencies from UNDP, UNFPA, UNIFEM (part of UN Women) and ILO, along with the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN Gender Advisor, shared their views and answered questions from more than 40 media representatives. This approach strengthened the focus on the issues, with the UN providing a clear multi-dimensional perspective on gender in Viet Nam and representatives of each participating agency providing their unique insights. The event and materials were UN Viet Nam branded (with the exception of the report and presentation which were UNDP products), helping to portray a UN Country Team that speaks with one strong voice on this important development challenge.

“While we have seen before that we can truly advocate together around an issue rather than as individual agencies,” said the Resident Coordinator, “I don't think I've seen it done so effectively nor the UN speak with such a clear and coherent voice from many critical perspectives.”

To support more effective advocacy, the issues in the regional report were effectively localised through a set of key messages and a fact sheet for Viet Nam containing all the necessary background information to support the points made in the report and by the panel members. The launch received extensive media covered: it was included in prime time news reports on several national television channels; was highlighted in national radio broadcasts; and more than 20 news and articles were published, including in the National Assembly’s newspaper, the Communist Party’s online edition, and on the front page of one of the most popular national newspapers (Thanh Nhien).

A reporter asks a question at the regional HDR launch in Ha NoiThe press launch was part of a week-long series of activities supported by the UN or with UN participation to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8). These included participation by the Resident Coordinator in a national Women’s Union event, a brown bag lunch discussion on a UNODC-supported film on domestic violence, and a joint UN/Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs meeting in which the Government reported on progress since the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women, and the UN disseminated key global reports on gender equality in Vietnamese as well as key findings and recommendations from recent UN-supported research on gender equality in Viet Nam.  

Throughout the week the UN’s key messages on gender were shared via discussions, speeches, press releases, and other public information materials. This allowed the UN to have a strong common voice on issues that are particiuarly relevant for Viet Nam, including the impact of the economic crisis on women; migration and gender; women and informal/vulnerable employment; sex selection; implementation of gender quality legislation; gender-based violence; intimate partner transmission of HIV; and women’s roles in decision-making. The key messages and fact sheet will continue to support UN-wide advocacy on the key gender issues during 2010.

This event was an excellent example of the UN speaking with ‘One Voice’.  For more information on the publication and the event, click here.