The EC/UN Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace Print E-mail

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EC/UN Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace
I. What is it?
II. Why is it necessary?
III. Who is involved in the project?
Collaborating partners
National partners
IV. What are the main activities?
V. What will it achieve?
VI. What is the project time line?

All contacts for the project at central and country level

EC/ UN partnership on gender equality in development and peace -- The project document

I. What is it?

The “EC/UN Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace” is an initiative that involves the European Commission (EC), the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO). It is a follow-up to the “Owning Development. Promoting Gender Equality in New Aid Modalities and Partnerships” conference that was jointly organized by the European Commission and UNIFEM in November 2005.

The EC/UN partnership aims to identify approaches with which to integrate gender equality and women’s human rights into new aid modalities, in accordance with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness.

It also aims to provide support for national partners’ efforts to fulfil international obligations on gender equality and to match their commitment to gender equality with adequate financial allocations in national development programmes and budgets.

The project will have a specific focus on the role of women in conflict and post-conflict situations, and especially on the proper implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

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II. Why is it necessary?

The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) , the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA) , UNSC Resolution 1325 and the Millennium Declaration are all international instruments signed by the vast majority of national governments. Their adoption has been followed by national policies and action plans on gender equality, but these are often not fully integrated into the mainstream of national development programmes and budgets. A 2005 review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action found that there was still a wide gap between countries’ political statements in favour of gender equality and action to put it into practice.

The last five years have seen a number of milestones in establishing a new aid architecture. In 2000, the Millennium Summit refined the focus of development assistance by adopting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In 2002, the Monterrey Consensus laid the groundwork for promoting ownership, alignment and harmonization in development assistance. The 2004 Marrakech Roundtable on Managing for Development Results reaffirmed the need to make aid more effective while increasing its volume. The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness , adopted in March 2005, is the latest major initiative. The Declaration contains 56 partnership commitments based on five main principles: ownership, alignment, harmonization, managing for results, and mutual accountability. The implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness has led to fundamental changes in the mechanisms and processes for planning, coordinating, implementing and evaluating aid.1

The European Commission, together with the DFID and the Netherlands, is spearheading new aid modalities. The EC has committed itself to an ambitious target of channelling 50% of government-to-government assistance through country systems. This commitment means that the EC will choose general budget and sectoral budget support as the preferred aid modality whenever the country situation permits and certain conditions are met.

The general and sectoral budget support modality implies direct financial transfers into the national budget on the basis of an agreed national strategy containing progress benchmarks and a medium-term expenditure framework. To make sure that these resources benefit the promotion of gender equality it is crucial that the national budget itself provides mechanisms for the promotion of gender equality. The accountability of national governments to gender-equality advocates becomes essential for promoting gender equality through national budgets and new aid modalities.

The European Commission is strongly committed to promoting gender equality within the new aid modalities. As stated in its Communication on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development, adopted on 8 March 2007, 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 Communication further recognized that it is imperative to ensure that the new aid modalities empower women in partner countries by making gender equality a core value and goal at all levels of development cooperation. The subsequent Council Conclusions reaffirmed this position and the commitment of the European Union as a whole to gender equality and women's empowerment, and emphasized the importance of sharing knowledge of best practice through regional and international cooperation, consultations with civil society and partnership with UN bodies.

UNIFEM and the European Commission have worked together before on promoting gender equality through new aid modalities. The EC/UNIFEM consultations on “Owning Development: Promoting Gender Equality in New Aid Modalities and Partnerships”, held in Brussels in November 2005, and EC support for UNIFEM gender budgeting initiatives have brought promising new approaches to assessing the gender implications of the aid effectiveness agenda. UNIFEM expanded this work by holding regional and sub-regional consultations in Africa (Burundi, July 2006), in East Africa in partnership with IGAD (Djibouti, November 2006), in West Africa (Ghana, November 2006), in the Commonwealth of Independent States (Almaty, May 2007) and in Southern Africa (Zambia, July 2007).

The main recommendations were that the new aid architecture should include:
1. Adequate financing for programmes to meet women’s needs
2. Accountability systems for governments and donors to track and enhance their contribution to gender equality
3. Gender-responsive progress assessments, performance monitoring and indicators of aid effectiveness.

The EC/UN Partnership is a response to these recommendations. It provides support to the EC and its development partners in ensuring that sustainable gender equality and women’s empowerment may be achieved through greater coordination amongst donors and increased ownership of the development process by national governments. These principles are contained in the new aid architecture. They are also aligned with, and should accelerate the attainment of, the Millennium Development Goals, particularly MDG 3. They apply to all countries, including the most fragile. Significantly, non-discrimination and the promotion of gender equality are included in the “Principles for good international engagement in fragile states and situations” in recognition of the “challenges to achieve the MDGs, especially concerning gender and fragile states”.2

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III. Who is involved in the project?
Collaborating partners

The main collaborating partners are the EC, UNIFEM, and the ITCILO, assisted by the European External Policy Advisers (EEPA). As explained above, the EC sees this initiative as a logical follow-up to its commitment to promoting gender equality throughout its development cooperation, especially because of its role in the implementation of new aid modalities.

UNIFEM is the UN agency mandated to promote gender equality and women’s human rights within the UN system and at country level.

The ITCILO, as the training arm of the ILO, has a stake promoting the ILO Decent Work agenda, embraced by the EC, as well as three years of helping the EC to bring gender into the mainstream of its development cooperation.

European Commission
The EC chairs the Project Steering Committee and is represented by the EuropeAid Cooperation Office, (Unit E4 Governance, Security Human Rights and Gender, Unit F3, Central Management of Thematic Budget Lines), DG DEV (Unit DEV/B/3, Human Development, Social Cohesion and Employment) and DG RELEX (Unit RELEX/B/1, Human Rights and Democratisation) in Brussels. The EC Delegations in the 12 pilot countries will also be fully involved in the project.

United Nations Fund for Women
UNIFEM is responsible for overall coordination, project results and reporting to the EC. UNIFEM’s sub-regional offices in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean will run the project activities, drawing on a network of partners and consultants as needed.

International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization
The ITCILO will make its practical approach to capacity development for gender mainstreaming available to project partners and stakeholders. It will contribute to the Global Gender Help Desk, setting up and managing a project website and on-line learning modules.

European External Policy Advisers
EEPA is a Brussels based consultancy that functions as the Secretariat for the Project Steering Committee. EEPA acts as the focal point for communications between UNIFEM, the EC in Brussels and ITC/ILO, to ensure a smooth communications flow between all partners.

Contact Information

European Commission
Daniela Rofi (AIDCO/E/4)
Thematic support on gender, EuropeAid
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Letty Chiwara
EC/UN Partnership Programme Manager
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Benedetta Magri
Activity Manager, Gender Coordination Unit
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Mirjam Van Reisen
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National partners

At country level, there will be close collaboration with government departments (finance, planning and other relevant ministries), national institutions for women and gender equality, women’s NGOs and networks, other gender equality and human rights experts, representatives of civil society and bilateral and multi-lateral donors, including UNCTs. All of them are included by virtue of their specific mandates and roles in national planning and development and in fulfilling the gender equality commitments made by the country.


The project will focus on twelve pilot countries. Selection criteria included their involvement in new aid modalities, partners’ institutional gender-equality capacity inside the country, and, for some, state or situational fragility.

The findings from these pilot countries will generate models and application packages comprising lists of resource requirements, best practices and strategies that can be applied at global and regional levels.

The pilot countries that were selected through consultation and agreement among the project partners include:

AFRICA: Ghana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo
ASIA and the PACIFIC: Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Nepal
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA: Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan
AMERICAS: Nicaragua, Honduras, Suriname.

IV. What are the main activities?

The project focuses on five strategies:

1. Knowledge generation: mapping national priorities and budgeting processes to identify opportunities and challenges for incorporating gender equality into all 12 pilot countries.

2. Capacity building: enabling national stakeholders and development partners, especially the EC in the pilot countries, to incorporate gender equality and women’s human rights more fully into national development plans, country strategy papers, budgets, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

3. Information sharing: setting up a project website, documenting best practices and lessons learnt, and disseminating those documents at various forums.

4. Advocacy: making attention to gender equality and women’s human rights part of the aid effectiveness agendas of all development partners in the lead-up to Ghana 2008 and beyond.

5. Partnership building: creating coalitions and networks of gender equality advocates that can work together to develop key messages for advocacy at national, regional and global levels.

Specific deliverables will include:

1. Mapping study reports on each of the pilot countries, and a consolidated regional report on each region. The studies will assess and provide information on: (1) the national macroeconomic development context for new aid modalities; (2) how national development strategies, PRSPs and national action plans reflect gender equality priorities; (3) the extent to which national budgets, including general budget support, sector-wide approaches, multi-donor trust funds and consolidated appeals, adequately reflect gender equality priorities; (4) the extent to which monitoring and evaluation mechanisms exist to ensure that spending on gender equality promotes development.

2. National action plans identifying the technical and policy support needed by national development partners if they are to strengthen their capacity for incorporating gender equality and women’s human rights into national development plans, country strategy papers, budgets, programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

3. Indicators with which to track the impact of the aid effectiveness agenda on gender equality in the pilot countries.

4. Resource materials to support in-country capacity-building activities, including the following: (1) a training module and resource book on mainstreaming gender in SWAPs and budget support; (2) advocacy materials on good gender mainstreaming practice in national development plans and coordinated development aid; (3) materials on women and peace-building, including information on UNSCR 1325 and other relevant themes in national action plans; (4) guidelines for civil society organizations on how to hold governments accountable for gender equality in national development planning, partly through CEDAW “shadow reports”; (5) guidelines and papers on how to monitor the gender-sensitiveness of EC country strategies.

5. Gender equality coalitions to strengthen advocacy of gender equality in aid effectiveness processes, in the lead-up to the 2008 Ghana High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness and following it.

6. An inter-active website ( to provide a one-stop shop for information on gender and new aid modalities by making available the knowledge, resources and tools produced worldwide. It will offer all project stakeholders tutor-assisted learning modules, information resources, a discussion forum, an on-line newsletter and a contact database.

7. A global gender help desk which provides technical assistance with the integration of gender equality and women’s human rights into new aid modalities and national development plans. It will build on the other components of the project and complement them.

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V. What will it achieve?


Increased visibility of gender equality and its acknowledgement as a key development objective within the framework of the aid effectiveness agenda both before and after the 2008 Ghana High-level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

The initiative is based on the recognition that the EU is one of the main bodies working extensively on new aid modalities. Integration of gender equality into its work will thus help assess what new aid modalities can contribute to gender equality and what the challenges may be. A set of good practices and tools will be compiled and disseminated to facilitate this assessment.

The assessment will be used to identify the need to make the Paris Declaration gender-responsive in the preparations for the Ghana High-level Forum. The Ghana Forum will then produce results that will have an impact on the international framework for aid effectiveness.

More specifically, the project will increase the demand for, and supply of, greater responsiveness to gender equality in aid. The project will have a direct impact on the following key target groups:

(a) governments and policy makers (including ministries of finance and planning, line ministries and parliamentarians), increasing their understanding of the gender equality implications of the aid effectiveness agenda;

(b) gender equality advocates, increasing their capacity to integrate gender equality priorities effectively into national planning processes and budgeting processes;

(c) bi-lateral and multilateral donors, making them more inclined to translate their policy commitments to gender equality into adequate, predictable financing.

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VI. What is the project time line?

The initial phase of the initiative is a three-year project, starting in 2007 and ending in 2009. A follow-up phase will build on project outcomes and those of the Ghana High-level Forum in 2008.

A full list of contacts for each of the collaborating partners in each of the countries is available in EN, FR, SP.

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1. Carol Guina, 2007, from a paper commissioned by UNIFEM on “Linking Aid Effectiveness and Gender”

2. Statement to the Development Committee by the OECD Secretary-General and Richard Manning, 15 April 2007