Feature story

UNAIDS still ahead in implementing UN-SWAP

10 September 2019

One year after the launch of the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women 2018–2022 (UN-SWAP 2.0), UNAIDS has been rated as one of the best performing agencies in the United Nations system, meeting or exceeding all 17 of its performance indicators.

The updated and expanded action plan, implemented in 2018 across the United Nations system, was designed to accelerate progress on gender mainstreaming at all levels of the United Nations system and to provide the best overview of progress on gender equality work and the gender-related results of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN-SWAP reporting and accountability process is managed by UN Women, which receives annual reports on the implementation of the plan from all reporting United Nations organizations. In response to the annual report submitted earlier in 2019 by the UNAIDS Secretariat, UN Women, in a letter from its Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, to Gunilla Carlsson, UNAIDS Executive Director, a.i., has commended the UNAIDS Secretariat on its results, in particular for its work to strengthen accountability mechanisms for gender equality and the empowerment of women through the development of its Gender Action Plan 2018–2023.

The letter also commended UNAIDS for promoting a culture of inclusion. A noteworthy example in 2018 was the introduction of a single parental leave policy that extends adoption and paternity to 16–18 weeks, depending on the number of children, and introduces surrogacy leave of the same duration. UN Women noted that “this more equitable policy framework supports caregiving by men and women and can help in overturning perceptions that women of childbearing age are potentially too expensive or an absentee risk when compared with similarly qualified men.”

In terms of progress to be made, UNAIDS was encouraged by UN Women to sustain and strengthen efforts to achieve the equal representation of women at all levels and to continue to promote an inclusive work culture, particularly through the implementation of its Management Action Plan.

“The UNAIDS Secretariat continues to be fully compliant with the UN-SWAP framework. Yet, as UN Women points out, progress is fragile and the gains made can quickly be reversed. We must do more and better to achieve the equal representation of women at all levels and continue to improve our organizational culture. These are not just boxes to tick but issues that require continuous consideration and attention,” said Gunilla Carlsson, UNAIDS Executive Director, a.i.

Along with the letter, UN Women shared a set of infographics summarizing UNAIDS’ progress against the UN-SWAP performance indicators, all of which have been compiled into a report. UN Women’s assessment is made on the basis of self-reporting and evidence submitted by each organization and validated by UN Women. For strengthened accountability, UNAIDS conducted a peer review with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which confirmed the accuracy of UNAIDS’ self-assessment.

UNAIDS Gender Action Plan 2018–2023 — A framework for accountability

United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP) — System-wide reporting results for 2018

UNAIDS final self-report 2018 UN-SWAP performance by indicator