UNDP Gender Equality Strategy Addresses Structural Barriers to SDG 5
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UNDP’s Third Gender Equality Strategy is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and provides evidence on how gender equality can accelerate development.

The Strategy incorporates lessons learned from UNDP’s earlier gender strategies, such as the need to mainstream gender equality in climate action and crisis resilience.

As part of UNDP’s efforts on gender equality, the UNDP Administrator will sign on as an International Gender Champion.

6 September 2018: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) announced its Third Gender Equality Strategy, which is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and covers the period 2018-2021. The strategy outlines how UNDP will “elevate and integrate” gender equality across all of its work.

UNDP’s Third Gender Equality Strategy outlines four priorities to address structural barriers to gender equality. The priorities are:

  • removing structural barriers to women’s economic empowerment, including women’s disproportionate burden of unpaid work;
  • preventing and responding to gender-based violence;
  • promoting women’s participation and leadership in all forms of decision-making; and
  • strengthening gender-responsive strategies in conflict and disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery.

Improving women’s access to productive resources could reduce the number of hungry people by 12-17% globally.

The four-year strategy provides evidence on how gender equality accelerates development. For instance, when women participate in peace agreements as negotiators, mediators, signatories or witnesses, peace agreements are 35 percent more likely to last at least 15 years. In another example, if women have the same access to productive resources as men, women would increase their farm yields by 20-30%, which would then increase the total agricultural output for developing countries by 2.5-4% annually and reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17%.

The strategy includes an annex on lessons learned from implementation of UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy 2014-2017. The key lessons – which the 2018-2021 aims to address – include the importance of addressing structural barriers to gender equality, ranging from legal and institutional to attitudinal and societal barriers, and tackling structural challenges, including care responsibilities that prevent women from equally participating in the economy. Other lessons learned include the need to mainstream gender equality in climate action and crisis resilience, an area in which UNDP intends to focus more attention in its new strategy. The strategy calls for integrating gender equality and women’s participation at the earliest stages possible and for creating opportunities for women to contribute to and participate in sustainable livelihoods in ways that improve outcomes for them and their families. UNDP will launch guidance for country offices on how to improve their work on fragility and recovery from a gender lens.

The 2018-2021 strategy calls for working more closely with civil society and the private sector, including by creating space and opportunities for women’s organizations and networks. The strategy recognizes the role of the private sector in creating a decent work environment for women and changing behaviors, values and norms. To advance this work, the strategy identifies two initiatives: the Private Sector Seal, a certification program for companies; and the Inclusion and Equitable Development Programme, which will work to unlock public and private investments in gender sensitive projects at the local level in least developed countries (LDCs).

Introducing the Third Strategy to the UNDP Executive Board, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UNDP, emphasized the central role of gender equality in the 2030 Agenda. In addition to SDG 5, he said gender equality is reflected in 36 SDG targets and 54 SDG indicators across the Global Goals. Dieye stressed that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential in ensuring that no one is left behind, and said UNDP will work to ensure gender equality is part of all its development efforts. As part of this effort, the UNDP Administrator plans to sign on as an International Gender Champion, while senior managers throughout UNDP are expected to champion gender equality in meetings and speeches and ensure gender balance in panels and missions.

UNDP notes that the strategy is consistent with the Common Chapter of the strategic plans of UNDP, UN Women, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), as well as with direction received from the UN’s Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR).

UNDP and UN Women have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on strengthened collaboration. Key areas of cooperation in the MOU include: policy and legal reforms to advance gender equality; economic empowerment; mobilizing the private sector to advance gender equality; women’s political leadership; gender based-violence; and crises/post-crises response and early recovery.

UNDP’s Executive Board is meeting for its second regular session of 2018 from 4-7 September, in New York, US. [UNDP Statement on the Third Gender Equality Strategy]

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