Putting Gender Equality at the Centre of Aid Talks


Policy makers from donor and developing countries will gather in Busan, South Korea from 29 November to 1 December 2011 for the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. They will discuss improvements in the quality of official development aid under the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action.

Despite commitments to gender equality in both agreements, a lack of gender-sensitive indicators left governments without a framework for monitoring and reporting on how aid contributes to the achievement of gender equality.

UN Women, the Association for Women and Development and other organizations successfully advocated for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in collaboration with GenderNet, to supplement the 12 agreed Paris Declaration indicators with three gender-related indicators in an optional module for a 2011 monitoring survey. Out of the 82 countries that participated in the survey, 24 completed the module.

Some responses indicated that while countries have identified gender equality objectives, few have allocated a budget for achieving them. Others pointed to the fact that donors fall short in providing enough human and financial resources to fully implement gender equality commitments. Data disaggregated by sex are very rarely collected systematically and used in decision-making, although evidence shows that where they are, budget allocations for gender equality and women's empowerment increase.

The survey results and regional consultations organized by various women's organizations have informed advocacy around issues gender equality advocates hope to see endorsed in Busan.

When the first draft of the document that will be negotiated in Busan was presented at a preparatory meeting, it barely mentioned gender equality. Subsequent drafts have recognized that reducing inequality is a prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive growth and development, and called for accelerating efforts to achieve it.

Women's organizations are pushing for the final agreement to further emphasize the centrality of gender equality, including by integrating mandatory gender-specific indicators to monitor aid flows, and strengthen links between aid effectiveness and development effectiveness.

UN Women has been working on several fronts to ensure that the outcome of Busan supports a vision of development effectiveness that places women at the centre and ensures adequate financing and accountability for gender equality. Its main partners include OECD Gendernet, the Working Party on Aid Effectiveness and the UN Development Group task team on aid effectiveness, as well as partner countries, donor agencies and civil society organizations.

In Busan, UN Women will be involved in a number of side events to further position gender equality in the aid discussions.