Remarks of Ms. Preeti Sinha, UNCDF Executive Secretary, at the Generation Equality Forum: Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition Session at the Paris Forum

  • July 01, 2021

  • Paris, France

As Prepared for Delivery

Distinguished guests, I am grateful to be here and share the UN Capital Development Fund’s commitments to the Generation Equality Forum, along with our inspiring and impressive set of co-leaders.

The UN Capital Development Fund, with its capital mandate and instruments, offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources to reduce poverty and support local economic development in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

In less developed regions, barriers to women's economic empowerment are much more pronounced due of extreme poverty and vulnerability and there is innovation gap in effectively financing women’s economic rights in these economies.

What we need is a comprehensive and ambitious plan that address these challenges and allows us to achieve the collective commitments with the GEF framework.

In that vein, UNCDF is excited to be part of the GEF and our vision is to create Equal Economies, where women have equal access, equal agency and equal leadership. UNCDF will work in partnership with public, private and civil society actors to unlock the capital required – both financial and human – as well as promoting enabling policies that help women in LDCs.

We will implement our Vision to create Equal Economies by working to achieve two sets of commitments: the first, to achieve Gender Finance Gap Zero; and second, is to achieve Red Tape Zero.

Through our Gender Finance Gap Zero commitment, UNCDF pledges to narrow the finance gap that contributes to unequal opportunities for women’s advancement across a range of spheres.

Red Tape Zero represents UNCDF’s commitment to address the deep-rooted systemic biases as well as market and agency constraints for women that often serve as literal and figurative “red tape”.

These commitments are deeply embedded in our approach of achieving women’s economic rights through new and innovative financing mechanisms, strong leadership and local voice in decisions, a markets-based approach, and partnership between the private and the public sector – closely aligned with the priorities of the Economic Justice and Rights and the Technology and Innovation Action Coalitions.

To reach these ambitious commitments, we recognize the pivotal importance of strong collaboration with our partners and GEF co-leaders. To this extent, we are proud to announce our participation to two collective commitments:

First, UNCDF has joined the 2X Collaborative, through which we will contribute to promoting gender lens investing in emerging markets through innovative blended financing solutions and partnerships with capital providers to develop new financing mechanisms to support women SMEs. UNCDF will utilize its comprehensive toolkit including impact matrices on gender investments developed in partnership with UNDP and UN Women to support this work.

Second, we have joined the Digital Literacy Equity Outcome Fund with the Government of Finland, UNICEF, and Volta Capital, through which we will continue our work to advance innovative financing as a means to close the gender digital divide.

In line with going from “commitment to action”, I am also proud to announce the launch of our Inclusive Digital Economies and Gender Playbook yesterday, which is a tool to help implementers in the field better understand and address market constraints towards making Women Builders of Digital Economies.

This is also an important tool for the 20+ Ministers, Presidents and CEOs who have made contributions to our joint Reaching Financial Equality advocacy campaign in collaboration with the Better than Cash Alliance, UNSGSA, UN Women, Women’s World Banking, and the World Bank.

I am equally excited to announce our commitment to utilizing our financing tools to support infrastructure and essential services in growing urban areas to promote equal economic opportunities and safety for women, youth, slum dwellers, minorities and other marginalized groups.

It is our Vision is to create Equal Economies, through our commitments to achieve Gender Finance Gap Zero and Red Tape Zero; and reinforced by our collective commitments to the 2X Collaborative and the Digital Literacy Equity Outcome Fund.

These commitments will impact women and their families in the LDCs, allowing them to have equal access, equal agency and equal leadership in their societies and economies.

Thank you.