The Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) is organizing a training workshop on gender-sensitive national planning and budgeting for national machineries for the advancement of women targeting six Francophone countries in Africa, namely Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Morocco. The workshop will take place in Bamako, Mali, in the first half of February 2003 (tentative). The workshop aims to provide a forum for identifying strategies to link systematically gender equality concerns to national planning and budgeting.
Funded under the Development Account, DAW is implementing this workshop within the framework of a project on “Capacity Building for National Machineries for the Advancement of Women in Promoting Gender Equality in African Countries” for eleven pilot countries, namely, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Guinea, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Rwanda, and Swaziland. The overall aim of the project is to strengthen the capacity of national machineries to carry out their mandate. A first workshop, for five pilot countries, namely, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda and Swaziland, was conducted by DAW in Tanzania from 26 to 30 November 2001.
The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995) identified institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women as one of the 12 critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA). To follow-up on the Platform for Action, the DAW established a database of national machineries for the advancement of women. The information is regularly updated and the most recent figures indicate that national machineries have been established in 155 countries worldwide.
In its resolution (A/RES/50/225) of 19 April 1996, the General Assembly of the United Nations recognized that "there is a need for public administration systems to be sound, efficient, and well equipped with appropriate capacities and capabilities through[…]promotion of the role and involvement of women in public administration, development of cross-sectoral gender sensitive and multidisciplinary capabilities, which supports all phases of the development process as well as the promotion of opportunities for all to participate in all spheres of the public sector".
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) considered national machineries at its 43rd session. In its Agreed Conclusions (1999/II, para. 4) the Commission acknowledged that, for national machineries to be effective, “clear mandates, location at the highest possible level, accountability mechanisms, partnerships with civil society, a transparent political process, adequate financial and human resources and continued strong political commitment are crucial.”
The outcome document of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly on “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, reaffirmed the importance of the Platform for Action as a comprehensive framework for change aimed at achieving gender equality and the advancement of women. Equally, it reaffirmed the role of national machineries as the main institutional frameworks with responsibility for leading this process of transformation. However, it deplored the “lack of adequate financial and human resources” as the most common obstacle hampering the full implementation of the Platform for Action (A/S-23/10/Rev.1, paras. 24 and 25).
DAW held a consultation on 12 June 2000 on “The role of national machineries in national agenda setting”. This meeting provided representatives from national machineries with an opportunity to exchange views on their mandate and role especially in the light of emerging challenges and further actions contained in the outcome document. Representatives indicated that the “Beijing + 5” process had reaffirmed national machineries' critical role in the implementation of the Platform for Action. They also revealed significant obstacles that affected their functioning.
Gender sensitive planning entails an understanding of existing gender relations, as well as specific steps to address these gender relations in policies and programmes with a view to promoting gender equality. By adopting the Platform for Action, Governments agreed to a common development agenda with gender equality and women's empowerment as underlying principles. Thus development plans in general, and the specific policies and programmes that elaborate them further, should be formulated in accordance with this agenda. Doing so requires that policies and programmes are analyzed to determine any differential impact on women and men, and adjusted accordingly before decisions are taken so as to ensure that they support the achievement of the gender equality goal.
In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of the importance of resource allocations for gender equality. Gender sensitive budgeting is a tool to hold those responsible for national development planning accountable to gender equality commitments by ensuring that such commitments are matched with adequate resource allocations. Gender sensitive budgets are not separate budgets for women and girls. Rather, the impact of expenditures on women and men is assessed during the formulation of policies and budgets. Questions such as the following could be raised: What impact does fiscal policy have on gender equality? Does it reduce gender inequality, increase it or leave it unchanged? More specifically, how do expenditures in sectoral areas contribute to the achievement of specific policy commitments in the area of gender equality?
Gender sensitive budgets were first introduced by Australian activists who pushed the Government to assess the impact on gender equality of all elements of the national budget between the 1980s and 1990s. Many other countries later adopted the concept to expand participation and accountability in budgeting, especially in light of international commitments to promote gender equality. In recent years gender sensitive budget initiatives have spread to more than 40 countries. The Commonwealth Secretariat, bilateral development cooperation agencies, as well as United Nations entities such as UNDP and UNIFEM have supported such initiatives.
Key stakeholders in gender-sensitive planning and budgeting are national machineries for the advancement of women and national planning and budgeting agencies or offices. The former are responsible for promoting the advancement of women and gender equality and act as catalysts for ensuring that gender perspectives are mainstreamed into policies and programmes in all areas. The latter translate agreed development agendas into concrete policies and match them with necessary resources. Both sets of stakeholders require institutional capacity to carry out their respective tasks.
IV. Regional Training Workshop (Francophone project countries)
The workshop aims to:
- sensitize key stakeholders in national planning and budgeting to the goal of gender equality;
- increase awareness of key stakeholders in national planning and budgeting about the links between promotion of gender equality and other regional development goals and strategies, such as those in the Millennium Declaration and NEPAD;
- propose strategies for systematic, structural and sustainable integration of gender equality into national planning and budgeting processes; and
- identify ways to ensure that the gender equality goal is part of development cooperation activities that support national development planning.
B. Expected outcomes and contribution to the project
The workshop's expected outputs are:
- 30 women/men trained in gender sensitive planning and budgeting skills;
- a strategy, as well as specific mechanisms, such as an interdepartmental working group, in place in each of the six countries to institutionalize integration of gender perspectives in national planning and budgeting; and
- a sub-regional strategy for operationalizing gender sensitive national planning and budgeting with particular reference to the role of national machineries for the advancement of women and gender focal points in planning and budgeting offices.
The number of participants will be approximately 45, and include 30 trainees who are representatives of the National Machineries and other Government officials from the planning and financing sectors.
- four participants each from Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Morocco;
- three staff members from the United Nations;
- two trainers/resource persons;
- three national participants invited by the host country (in addition to the four trainees);
- representatives from Regional/sub-regional institutions; and
- representatives from Regional Commission (ECA), UN Agencies as observers.
D. Organizational and administrative matters
- DAW will:
- prepare the terms of reference for, identify and recruit two trainers/resource persons charged with preparing and translating the training material and with conducting the workshop;
- supervise the preparation of the training material and, in collaboration with the two trainers/resources persons, ensure that the training material and workshop documentation is made available to participants;
- prepare the agenda;
- identify participants and prepare invitation letters;
- prepare the Host Country Agreement;
- liaise with the host country; and
- provide the administrative support, including sending out invitation letters, arrangements for travel and daily subsistence allowance.
- The duration of the workshop is four days.
- The meeting will be conducted in French.
UN/DESA will make available funds required for the following categories of expenditure:
All relevant correspondence should be addressed to:
- all costs, including fees, for two trainers/resource persons and workshop expenses related to its conduct, including documentation;
- travel and daily subsistence allowance (DSA) for three UN/DESA staff;
- travel and DSA for two resource persons;
- travel and DSA for 30 trainees from six countries mentioned above;
- 20% of DSA for national participants up to three persons; and
Christina Brautigam, Acting Chief
Gender Analysis Section
Division for the Advancement of Women
Tel. (212) 963 0535
Fax. (212) 963 3463