At the 2005 World Summit, Member States resolved to take measures to promote gender equality, eliminate pervasive gender discrimination and promote the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and social spheres. As part of this commitment, the World Summit called on the Secretary-General and all decision-making bodies to take further steps in mainstreaming a gender perspective in United Nations policies and decisions. Against this background, and acknowledging the major gaps that remain within the system between policy and practice, HLCP has decided to accord high priority in its work programme to gender issues.

To guide this work, the Secretary-General has asked HLCP and HLCM, in cooperation with his Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, to focus on the development of a system-wide gender mainstreaming policy and strategy. The Secretary-General has also sought a more active engagement by the system in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security.

The two Committees subsequently considered the elements for such a policy and strategy at their February meetings, and CEB itself addressed the matter at its first regular session in 2006. CEB members expressed serious concern over the lack of sufficient progress in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Board asked that the process of elaborating a comprehensive system-wide gender mainstreaming policy and strategy be accelerated, and that the additional actions, including specific timelines and benchmarks, that are required to effectively implement the strategy be given due priority at both the organizational and inter-agency levels. In the same context, it committed itself to addressing ways of ensuring that adequate resources, both financial and human, are deployed by the organizations of the system, to achieve concrete progress in this crucial area. CEB decided to revert to the matter and to consider specific proposals in this regard at its fall 2006 session.