United Nations Development Fund for Women

The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, from the French: Fonds de développement des Nations unies pour la femme) was established in December 1976[1] originally as the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women in the International Women's Year. Its first director was Margaret C. Snyder, Ph.D. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that promote women’s human rights, political participation and economic security. Since 1976 it has supported women's empowerment and gender equality through its programme offices and links with women's organizations in the major regions of the world. Its work on gender responsive budgets began in 1996 in Southern Africa and has expanded to include East Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central America and the Andean region. It has worked to increase awareness throughout the UN system of gender responsive budgets as a tool to strengthen economic governance in all countries.


Initially called the Voluntary Fund for the UN Decade for Women, the organization was given an expanded mandate by the General Assembly in February 1985, when it became the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). Under resolution 39/125, the new fund was called on to support and advocate for innovative and catalytic activities that give voice and visibility to the women of the developing world. UNIFEM became an autonomous organization working closely with UNDP, although the resolution also specified that the fund's resources should supplement, not substitute for, the responsibilities of other United Nations development cooperation agencies.[2]

UNIFEM was part of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG). Its role in the UNDG is now taken over by its successor, UN Women.[3]

Princess Basma bint Talal of Jordan was appointed UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador in 1996.

In 2001, in conjunction with International Alert, UNIFEM launched the Millennium Peace Prize for Women.[4]

On January 26, 2006 UNIFEM nominated Nicole Kidman as its goodwill ambassador.[5]

The last executive director of UNIFEM was Inés Alberdi.[6]

In January 2011, UNIFEM was merged into UN Women, a composite entity of the UN, with International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI), and Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW).

Executive directors

Executive directors of the organization have been:[7]

Nr Director From country Term
4. Inés Alberdi  Spain 2007–2014
3. Noeleen Heyzer  Singapore 1994–2007
2. Sharon Capeling-Alakija  Canada 1989–1994
1. Margaret C. Snyder  United States 1978–1989

See also


  1. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 31 Resolution 133. A/RES/31/133 16 December 1976. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  2. ^ Service, UN-NGLS Non Governmental Liaison. "UN-NGLS Publications: NGLS Handbook". www.un-ngls.org. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Bell, Imogen, ed. (2003). Central and South-Eastern Europe 2004. Regional Surveys of the World (4th ed.). Europa Publications. p. 699. ISBN 9781857431865.
  5. ^ BBC (2006-01-26). "Kidman becomes ambassador for UN". BBC. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  6. ^ UNIFEM (2008). "Inés Alberdi Appointed as UNIFEM Executive Director". Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  7. ^ "UNIFEM is now UN Women". www.unifem.org. Retrieved 30 October 2017.

External links

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