New York 5 June, 2017 – UN Development Programme (UNDP) offices in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama, Surinam and Jamaica were awarded the organization’s Gender Seal today in ceremony in New York for their work to promote equality between women and men within the workplace and externally, by working hand in hand with governments, civil society and the private sector.

Latin America and the Caribbean country office representatives joined several other UNDP offices from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe and the CIS, also awarded for their accomplishments to advance gender equality, improve women’s participation in politics, curb gender based violence and other crucial challenges for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Gender Equality Seal recognizes the progress and successes of Country Offices in strengthening links between gender equality inside the office and development results,” said UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP’s Bureau Director for Policy Programme Support Magdy Martinez-Soliman. “Through their engagement in this initiative, the Country Offices receiving the Gender Equality Seal Award today have helped to improve the lives of women and men throughout the world. “

UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Regional Bureau Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Jessica Faieta handed the awards to the country office leaders, highlighting that the Gender Seal is to her the most important UNDP award.

UNDP Dominican Republic received the Golden award, particularly for its contribution to guarantee the exercise of women’s political rights and increasing the percentage of women representatives in the Lower House—from 21% to 28%–and female mayors— up from 7% to 12%. In addition, following UNDP’s support the Congress adopted a bill for Comprehensive System for Prevention, Care, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women.

The Office in Colombia was awarded the Silver Gender Seal Award, particularly for contributing to the national gender equality goals by working with partners to increase access to justice for women victims of sexual violence in armed conflict. Moreover UNDP in Colombia has contributed to a legislative initiative to achieve gender parity in the Parliament, working closely with women’s social organizations, academia and through multi-party support for women parliamentarians.

Also winning the Silver Gender Award was UNDP Panama, especially for its commitment to partnering with women’s organizations, ministries and UN agencies to increasing the political participation of women.

UNDP Jamaica and Suriname were granted the Gender Seal Bronze prize, the latter for the work with partners to increase the number of women in decision-making positions, assisting in the historic achievement of the number of female MPs: from 9.8% in 2010 to 26% following the May 2015 elections.

According to Martinez-Soliman the awarded offices have made considerable progress on:

– Gender mainstreaming;

– Building credibility for UNDP as a committed advocate for gender equality;

– Creating a great work environment for women and men;

– Improving and/or achieving gender parity;

– And having proactive senior managers “leading from the front” and displaying consistent commitment to gender equality and women’s rights issues both internally and in public platforms.

Other awarded offices were UNDP Uganda (Gold); UNDP Rwanda (Gold); UNDP DRC (Gold); UNDP Zimbabwe (Silver); UNDPNiger (Bronze); UNDP Moldova (Gold); UNDP Montenegro (Gold); UNDP Albania (Silver); UNDP Turkey (Silver); UNDP Indonesia (Silver).