The statement was made on 28 September 2009 during the annual debate on the integration of a gender perspective in the work of the Human Rights Council.
With the establishment of the Human Rights Council in 2006, it was decided that all UN member states shall report and be examined on the status of the implementation of their human rights obligations. Norway is subject to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in December 2009, and the Norwegian intervention accordingly focused on its experience with integrating a gender perspective in the preparation of its national report which forms part of the basis for the review.
Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Larsen underlined that the national report on the human rights situation in Norway was the product of a broad process of consultation in which national authorities and civil society took part, and that one of the challenges in Norway's reporting process was establishing ownership of gender issues in society as a whole.
Human Rights Council 12th session
Annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective in the work of the HRC Integration of a gender perspective in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
Statement by Norway
Delivered by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Gry Larsen
Thank you, Mr. President,
I welcome this opportunity to discuss practical ways to integrate a gender perspective in the UPR process. Gender equality is given high priority by my government.
Norway has recently submitted its first UPR-report. It will be reviewed in December. The UPR provides us with a unique opportunity to critically and comprehensively assess our implementation of human rights. A gender based approach becomes an imperative, if the process is to render a report representative of all parties.
Discrimination based on gender takes place in Norway. Institutional, structural and cultural factors in our society are underlying contributors to de facto discrimination. The Norwegian report discusses these challenges.
The report focuses on several issues posing gender related challenges. In addition to a broader chapter on gender equality, we address issues such as trafficking, forced marriages, multiple forms of discrimination, lack of women on the boards of limited companies and gender based differences in wages.
Norway prepared for the review through a broad consultation process at the national level and with all relevant stakeholders. We made sure to include stakeholders from both government and civil society.
Our aim is to ensure that gender perspectives and gender equality is central in all stages of the UPR-process.
However, integrating gender issues remains a challenge. In some sectors we note that gender is still seen as an “add-on” – and not as an integral part of the process. The level of real commitment to and understanding of gender mainstreaming within government agencies varies. This will affect the outcome.
We found that establishing ownership of gender issues in society as a whole was a challenge in our reporting process.
In closing I would like to put forward the following questions to the panelists:
What further steps can countries like mine take to ensure ownership of gender issues within all sectors of society?
Can we come up with improved methods to highlight the benefits of a gender approach across society?
And finally, what are the key factors facilitating gender mainstreaming in sectors of society that do not have gender issues as their primary concern?
Thank you for your attention.