UN Women Panders to EU in Draft Agreement on Women
NEW YORK, February 8 (C-Fam) The UN agency for women put divisive abortion-related language in a draft agreement on women’s issues. Insiders say they did it to bow to powerful European donors in an attempt to stay relevant.
The first draft of the annual agreed conclusions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women was published this week. The draft uses controversial language about “sexual and reproductive health and rights” rejected multiple times by UN Member States. It is associated with abortion rights, LGBT rights, and other divisive agendas.
A disappointed delegate told the Friday Fax, “They should be starting from the language of last year.” He was referring to an agreement that qualified abortion-related term “sexual and reproductive health” to exclude an international right to abortion.
The draft prepared by the UN agency for women uses the phrase “sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
It confuses two separately defined terms, “sexual and reproductive health” and “reproductive rights.” The new phrase has no clear definition and has been used in association with abortion and LGBT rights. The new term is especially controversial because it implies “sexual rights.” African and Arab states take issue with this notion because of their conservative social mores.
UN diplomats told the Friday Fax this was a calculated move. The UN agency for Women probably took an extreme position to give Europeans a bargaining chip in upcoming negotiations.
“UN Women put it on purpose so that we will request to go back to the agreed language of last year,” a delegate said unsurprised. According to her, it was done so that the compromise of last year would become the fall-back position during upcoming negotiations.
But the language should also be seen as reflecting the influence of the EU bureaucracy on UN agencies and UN negotiations.
The language in the draft matches the language used by the European Council of Ministers in their annual directions to EU diplomats.
One delegate pointed out this was “acquiescing to the instructions of the EU countries who continue to be the main donors of [UN Women].” While the U.S. funds twenty-two percent of the UN core budget, the EU collectively funds roughly thirty percent of the UN budget, and therefore has more leverage in setting the UN agenda.
“They add their own language to show progress to the donors and wait for the negotiations to at least take up half of their suggestions,” the delegate explained.
“UN Women has increasingly moved away from their mandate of promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women,” he told the Friday Fax.
He suggested UN Women was going through an organizational crisis: “UN Women is trying to maintain relevance and not be subsumed into another UN agency. They seek to expand their issues so they have more leverage within the UN system. Promoting abortion is not in their mandate form the General Assembly, nevertheless they promote this, as well as LGBTI issues now.”