No Aid Effectiveness without Gender Equality
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 3:41 PM

Ahead of High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, UNIFEM, EC and ITC/ILO Call for Strengthened Efforts to Address Women’s Priorities / “Opportunity not to be Missed”

For immediate release
Date: 2 September 2008

Media Inquiries:
Nanette Braun, Communications Specialist, UNIFEM Headquarters, +1 212 906-6829

New York — At the start of 3rd High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM, and the European Commission call for strengthened efforts to address gender inequalities in a quest to end global poverty.

“Over a billion women worldwide continue to be trapped in poverty,” said UNIFEM Executive Director Inés Alberdi. “Where women can’t thrive, national development strategies and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals are in jeopardy. There can be no aid effectiveness without a focus on gender equality.”

European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, added: “Today, we know how important the role of women is to society, to health, nutrition and education of children, to economic growth and the development of a country. The Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness offers a unique opportunity for governments and donors to come together and commit to accelerate achievements in gender equality. This opportunity is not to be missed.”

The European Commission, UNIFEM and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC/ILO) have for the past two years worked to support government, civil society and donor partners efforts to advance gender equality and aid effectiveness. Based on this work, they urge that the following steps be undertaken:

  • Stronger involvement of gender equality advocates and women’s ministries in decisions about national development and aid delivery;
  • Adoption of gender-responsive budgeting to ensure allocation of resources for women’s priorities in national budgets and new forms of aid delivery;
  • Putting in place accountability mechanisms that can track progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Country-level data gathered through the EC/UN Partnership programme shows that the aid effectiveness agenda has helped to open some spaces to allow gender-equality advocates to actively participate in national development planning.  For them to have measurable impact, however, governments and donors must go further and ensure that gender equality advocates are part of the entire development planning, programming, budgeting and monitoring process.

The EC/UN Partnership programme on Gender Equality for Development and Peace focuses on ensuring that gender equality and women’s empowerment are fully incorporated in national development planning and will disseminate widely the results of concrete and successful countries experiences in this field.

Gender-responsive budgeting, which UNIFEM has supported in some 40 countries, at times together with the EC, has been an effective tool for ensuring targeted allocation of resources to women’s development needs.  With increased use of country systems and new aid modalities particularly Budget Support, gender responsive budgeting holds the key for equitable distribution of resources and achievement of inclusive development results.

Note to Editors
Developing countries and donor partners are meeting in Accra, Ghana from 2 to 4 September to take stock on progress towards implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, which was signed by 100 donors and governments in March 2005. The Paris Declaration commits partners to reform aid management and delivery and strengthen its impact on development outcomes by adhering to five basic principles — ownership of development strategies by aid recipients; harmonization and alignment of donor support to national development priorities, institutions and procedures; managing for results by adopting results based management and reporting systems; and mutual accountability through joint monitoring of development results.

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Published in: No Aid Effectiveness without Gender Equality, Press Release, UNIFEM, 2 September 2008.