UNGA Guide Interview with Katja Iversen

What is your highest priority at the UN General Assembly this year?

Our priority is advocating for member states to apply a gender lens to all of the work they do. Whether they’re creating plans and policies to implement Universal Health Coverage, mitigate and respond to climate change, or boost progress on the SDGs, the effects of those policies on girls and women must be part of the design from the very beginning and throughout. And girls and women must have access to sexual and reproductive health so that they have a better chance of getting an education, joining the workforce, and participating in their communities and countries. 

What are you most looking forward to at UNGA?

I always look forward to meeting people and to the cross-sector collaboration. Gender equality is not a stand-alone issue. It’s cross cutting and it requires applying a gender lens to health, education, economic development, climate change, technology, the future of work, you name it. It takes working with usual and unusual suspects and people from around the world and across sectors to bring about a more gender equal world.

What is one thing that could be changed about UNGA?

There is not enough meaningful youth engagement at the UN General Assembly. It is not enough to invite a few young people to give speeches. All of this work we’re doing is about the world they will live in – they really should be involved a lot more.

would also like to see more on the impact of the high level meetings and thousands of side events. 5 high level meetings and thousands of side events. What comes out of these conversations? How does it get beyond New York and the UN? How do we measure it?