Rabab Fatima appointed as U.N. Executive Board Women Chief

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By Tanya Maswaure

E. Rabab Fatima is a Bangladeshi diplomat who has held several executive leadership positions, including serving as the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations. She has worked in international relations for over 25 years. Her electronic footprint might be sparse, but her impact in all the organizations she works with reaches beyond what the internet can report. Most recently, she was appointed as the President of the U.N. Women Executive Board.

The United Nations Women Executive Board event was hosted online in February. H.E. Rabab Fatima led the event as the President of the Executive Board after being nominated in January of this year. The Executive Board is the governing body for women’s operational activities providing operational policy guidance to the Entity. The Board consists of 41 Member States elected by the Economic and Social Council members for three years based on equitable geographical distribution across regions.

The Member States elect representatives of the regional groups to the UN-Women Executive Board through regional elections. All Member States of the United Nations can participate in the Executive Board session and negotiate Executive Board decisions. UN-Women Board consists of 10 from the African States; 10 from the Asian States; 4 from the Eastern European States; 6 from Latin American and the Caribbean States; 5 from Western Europe and the Other States; and 6 from top contributing countries. H.E Rabab Fatima will be leading the Executive Board in 2022, alongside Ambassador Kyslytsya of Ukraine and Ambassador Valtýsson of Iceland.

The Executive Board was opened by Sima Bahous, who expressed confidence in the leadership of H. E Rabab Fatima. At the first regular session, they discussed Protection Against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and Sexual Harassment, an international issue that has plagued women globally. They also made the following decisions on updating actions to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment, observing cultural impacts of these unfortunate circumstances, and encouraged cooperation with other U.N. branches.

Overall the event ran as usual, and more will be held throughout the year. In her remarks, H.E stated, “We are pleased to see that the Executive Director has already initiated measures to strengthen the relationship between the Executive Board and the Organization. We believe that this will allow for stronger collaboration between the Board and the Organization.” With hopes for the future, her diplomatic work, and her desire for collaboration, H.E Rabab Fatima will lead the Executive Board to make great strides for all women globally.

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