Gender equality and women’s rights would be given a further boost when the European Commission (EC), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (ITC-ILO), launch a response initiative programme on Wednesday, March 12, 2008.
The three organisations will launch the EC/UN Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace in response to several initiatives on, and commitments to, better ways of targeting and using aid in developing economies.
It will be the interface for merging the commitments made by all to ensure better aid effectiveness and the visionary promises also made globally to advance gender equality.
Several landmark initiatives at improving the effectiveness and volumes of aid have been established in the past five years.
Mention could be made of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that commit developed and developing countries to meeting the needs of the word’s poorest by 2015 and the Monterrey Consensus that established ownership, alignment and harmonisation in development assistance.
Furthermore the 2004 Marrakech Roundtable on Managing for Development Results that established aid effectiveness and increases in its volume and the most recently adopted Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness in March 2005, are both geared towards aid effectiveness.
On gender equality, various conventions such as the Beijing Platform of Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), have been globally adopted.
The EC has taken a step further by its commitment in promoting gender equality within the new aid modalities.
This commitment is based on the EC’s Communication on Gender and Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development adopted in March 8, 2005, that maintains that “gender equality is a goal in its own right as well as a prerequisite for poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth, and will be instrumental in reaching all the MDGs”.
The importance of ensuring that the new aid modalities empower women, by making gender equality a core value and goal at all levels of development co-operation, is also recognised.
With the conviction that gender equality is a prerequisite for poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth the EC and UNIFEM have worked together at promoting gender equality through the new aid architecture.
The various consultative forums by UNIFEM has emphasised promising approaches to assessing the gender implications of the aid effectiveness agenda.
Recommendations from these forums held since 2005 have highlighted key recommendations for the new aid regime, which include adequate financing for programmes to meet women’s needs, and accountability systems for governments to track and enhance their contribution to gender equality.
The EC/UN Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace is a response to these recommendations.
By this partnership, principles already in conventions on gender equality and commitments to increasing aid and making it more effective are just being emphasised and synchronised for wide ranging results than what was initially envisaged.
Inherent in the partnership is an alignment of the efforts at achieving the MDGs that will help accelerate its attainment on the set date.
It is also significant that one of the tenets of good international engagement in fragile states and situations are non discrimination and the promotion of gender equality.
Thus, gender equality and women’s empowerment will be the basis for greater co-ordination among donors and increased ownership of development processes by national governments.
The partnership will provide the opportunities for countries to review their efforts in development and gender equality, share ideas on initiatives to improve upon what has so far been achieved and collaborate for enhanced national and global effort at talking the challenges to development.
DAILY GRAPHIC, TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 2008