Geneva Meeting of the International Gender Champions  

On 6 June 2024, the Geneva Hub held its first biannual meeting of the International Gender Champions. The meeting was hosted by Ambassador Amanda Gorely, Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations Office in Geneva  and to the Conference on Disarmament, and was attended by over 40 Gender Champions representing United Nations agencies, International Organisations, Permanent Missions, and Civil Society Organisations.  

The opening remarks were delivered by Ambassador Gorely, who emphasised Australia’s continued commitment to gender equality and called for the need to invest in stronger and more inclusive initiatives that support women in all their diversity. This was followed by remarks by Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Chair of the IGC Global Board, who outlined IGC’s strategic priorities and related activities. He notably encouraged all Champions to endorse the statement recently adopted by IGC’s Global Board members on prominently integrating gender perspectives into the Global Digital Compact. In light of the persistent backlash against gender equality, he  urged Champions to leverage the IGC network to avoid further rollbacks, consolidate existing gains and continue building on them.  

Keynote Speaker Amy Pope, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), highlighted the disproportionate impact of climate change and environmental degradation on women on the move. At the same time, she stressed that women – especially migrant women - can be drivers of climate solutions and therefore “need to be brought to the table; as leaders, in the government and in the field.” She called on Champions to engage women in all their diversity on how they can lead change at the local, national and international levels. In her capacity as Champion, Pope outlined her commitment to promote equal representation at all levels within IOM and implement IOM's Gender Equality Policy to promote equality, diversity and inclusion across all areas of IOM's work.  

Ambassador Doreen De Brum, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva, illustrated how climate change - in particular rising sea levels - has impacted her country: “We are not just talking about people on the move, but nations on the move.” Although Marshallese women play a crucial role in protecting the identity and culture of the island, they remain underrepresented in decision-making positions. She emphasized the importance of meaningful, inclusive and sustainable climate strategies to make sure no one is left behind.  

Champions were invited to provide updates on their ongoing activities. The Climate-Gender Impact Group is working on a revised Geneva Pledge for Inclusion and Diversity in Climate Action, and invited interested Champions to join the group as members and/or contribute to the pledge. The Disarmament Impact Group will be publishing an updated Gender and Disarmament Resource Pack and organising a side-event in July. The Women, Peace, and Security Impact Group has organised several events since its launch in February, including an upcoming roundtable discussion on the WPS Agenda and the UN Human Rights Mechanisms on 14 June. An Impact Group on Digital and New Emerging Technologies has been established with a focus on ensuring that the goal of gender equality is a central component of the Global Digital Compact and new governance frameworks.


Ambassador Jérôme Bonnafont, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva, invited Champions to contribute to CEDAW’s General Recommendation 40, particularly on issues of peace, development, and civil society participation. Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador Michèle Taylor, Permanent Representative to the UN Human Rights Council, introduced the IGC Youth Champions Programme, a six-month pilot initiative connecting Geneva-based Gender Champions and ten young gender equality activists from different parts of the world in a dynamic and reciprocal mentoring exchange. This initiative was launched in April 2024 and made possible by a grant from the U.S. Mission in Geneva.  

The meeting concluded with a discussion facilitated by Sameer Chauhan, Director of the United Nations International Computing Centre (UNICC) and member of the IGC Geneva Steering Group, who invited Champions to share successes, setbacks and learnings on their personal commitments.