A Workshop on Gender Mainstreaming, organized by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, was held in Geneva, 15-17 September 1997 to exchange experiences among bilateral and multilateral organization gender focal points about implementing gender equality policies.

The Workshop, which was attended by members of the United Nations Inter-agency Group on Women and Gender Equality and the Expert Group on Women in Development of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, recommended a continued professional exchange and flow of information, using among other methods, e-mail and the Internet.

The final statement issued at the conclusion of the Workshop said the two groups agreed to develop partnerships to prioritize future joint activities, including, for example, a review of the role and terms of reference of gender focal points in all agencies and organizations; exchange of information on best practices in gender mainstreaming; and consideration of further multilateral and bilateral field level collaboration on mainstreaming, involving civil society and partner governments.

The statement acknowledged that further funding would be needed by the United Nations system and donors to support such activities.

Ms. Angela King, the Chairperson of the United Nations Interagency Committee on Women and Gender Equality and Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, said that the meeting had produced a “rich and constructive” exchange of views on the different challenges faced by the various institutions represented. She said that gender mainstreaming was important to economic and social development and promotion of human rights, and promised that the Division for the Advancement of Women would contribute to supporting Governments and agencies in furthering its implementation. Cooperation between the two groups, in meeting common challenges including promoting greater accountability for mainstreaming at all levels would contribute to strategic use of scarce resources, Ms. King said.

Ms. Carolyn Hannan-Andersson, Chairperson of the Expert Group on Women in Development of the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD and Senior Policy Adviser of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, said the Workshop was “very successful” and welcomed the discussion on the challenges facing gender mainstreaming.

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