United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women

"Gender Perspectives in Sustainable Development"
A Panel Discussion

A panel discussion on 'Gender perspectives in sustainable development' presented by UNDESA/Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) and the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) was held in New York on 3 April 2002 during the Third Preparatory Committee of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

The panel was moderated by Ms. Carolyn Hannan, Director, DAW. Ms. Hannan highlighted difficulties with getting gender perspectives incorporated into the WSSD process. She noted that gender perspectives are often neglected, and cited Agenda 21's compartmentalization of women as a major group as a contributing factor. Emphasizing that women are part of all major groups, she stressed the need to address women's priorities in all areas of Agenda 21.

The panellist were:

  • Irene Dankelman, WEDO, reflected that since UNCED, the profile of women's priorities has risen significantly on the political agenda, although few governments have integrated gender perspectives into policies. She noted that the Women's Caucus is now fighting not only to get a separate section on gender into the Chairman's paper, but also to integrate gender perspectives into the entire document.
  • Minu Hemmati, Stakeholder Forum for Our Common Future, discussed 'type 2' outcomes, noting concerns that such output could be dominated by corporations or used to deflect responsibility from governments, but suggested women's involvement therein would add quality and credibility and provide a useful resource for addressing inequality.
  • Jennifer Francis, Gender and Water Alliance, stressed the need to: increase women's participation in water resources management; incorporate gender perspectives in all policies and programmes and in all sectors; disaggregate all data according to sex and social indicators; institutionalize gender perspectives in all organizations; and build women's technical and scientific capacity.
  • Amy Hindman, UNEP, presented a paper written by Ms. Njeri Wamukonya and discussed how taking advantage of globalization and privatization can facilitate gender mainstreaming. Citing the privatization of energy in Africa as an example, she highlighted the benefits of packaging energy as an input to income generation, and said gender mainstreaming in this context is enabling men and women to access energy while also taking advantage of opportunities to alleviate poverty.

A brief summary was published by the International Institute for Sustainable development on their web site, in cooperation with UNDP.

For more information:

Carolyn Hannan: hannan@un.org
Irene Dankelman: irenedankelman@hotmail.com
Minu Hemmati: minush@aol.com
Jennifer Francis: francis@irc.org
Amy Hindman: amy.hindman@unep.org

Division for the Advancement of Women -- DAW

Website: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations