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Former Chilean President to head new UN women's agency

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UNA-UK welcomes the appointment of Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile, as the head of UN Women, the new agency created to lead the UN's work in women’s rights and gender equality.

Making the announcement yesterday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said ""Ms Bachelet brings to this critical position a history of dynamic global leadership, highly honed political skills and uncommon ability to create consensus and focus among UN agencies and many partners in both the public and private sector"".

Established earlier this year, UN Women merges four UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW). It is expected to become operational in January and will have an annual budget of at least $500 million - double the current combined resources of the four agencies it comprises.

On the appointment, UNA-UK Head of Policy & Communications Natalie Samarasinghe, said ""we are delighted that someone of this calibre and profile has been selected. Ms Bachelet's task will not be easy - the UN's gender programmes have hitherto suffered from a lack of co-ordination, clout and cash. UN Women will have a bigger budget, but it is still a fraction of UNICEF's $3 billion a year. We hope that member states will support Ms Bachelet in her new role and give her the resources she needs to meet the high expectations for this new agency"".

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