United Nations Women's Fund (UNIFEM)
United Nation Development Fund (UNIFEM) is an autonomous organization that works in close association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Fund provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that promote women's human rights, political participation and economic security. It focuses on three thematic areas: strengthening women’s economic capacities and rights; engendering governance and leadership; promoting women’s human rights and eliminating violence against women. UNIFEM works in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and networks to achieve social justice and gender equality. UNIFEM is dedicated to building strong women’s organizations and networks so that women themselves have to power to negotiate new and better policies with their governments and international agencies.
Within UN system UNIFEM promotes gender equality and links women's issues and concerns to national, regional and global agendas by fostering collaboration and providing technical expertise on gender mainstreaming and women's empowerment strategies.
In 1999, the UNIFEM Regional Office for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was established in Almaty, Kazakhstan and covers 12 countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.). UNIFEM CIS works in cooperation with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international partners and within the UN system to promote gender justice and women’s political participation, secure women’s economic rights, and eliminate all forms of violence against women.
In cooperation with key partners in the region, UNIFEM CIS works to achieve the full realization of women’s human rights using the following strategies:
- Strengthening the capacity and leadership of women's organizations and networks to advocate for gender equality;
- Leveraging political and financial support for women;
- Forging new partnerships among government, women's organizations, international organizations and the UN system.
- Undertaking pilot projects to test innovative approaches to women's empowerment and gender mainstreaming.
- Building a knowledge base on how to mainstream gender concerns throughout all policy and programme development at the local, national, and regional level.
Kyrgyzstan is a part of UNIFEM CIS regional programmes in the following programme areas:
Promoting gender justice and women political participation
Improved Implementation of International Treaties and Conventions: To assist governments in fulfilling their international obligations and commitments towards the advancement of women, UNIFEM is working in all CIS, including Kyrgyzstan, and 6 CEE countries to improve mechanisms for monitoring the progress of implementation of CEDAW and strategies for achieving the targets set forth by the Millennium Development Goals. In this way, UNIFEM is facilitating government-NGO dialogue and working to create a cadre of women’s human rights experts in the CIS.
Gender Justice and improved Legislation: Engendered legislation and Women’s equal participation in the decision-making processes at the national and local level is necessary for ensuring that gender equality is integrated into policymaking and constitutional, electoral and judicial reform. In Moldova, UNIFEM is working with government and NGOs to promote gender equality as one of the legal foundations of democratic society through the drafting and adoption of gender equality legislation and strategies for implementing gender equality policy at all levels of government. In all CIS countries including Kyrgyzstan, working closely with the national women’s machinery, UNIFEM has developed a detailed strategy and action plan for ensuring the mainstreaming of gender issues in all governmental policies, legislation and programmes.
Securing Women’s Economic Rights:
Land Reform: A successful transition to a market economy often hinges on agricultural and land reform, and women tend to be neglected in the process. With the fall of Communism, countries in the CIS, and in particular Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, are now at differing stages of land privatization processes. UNIFEM and partners are capitalizing on this opportunity, using land reform as a starting point to mobilize governments and organizations to improve women’s access to economic resources, including credit, inheritance and property.
Economic Literacy and Advocacy: Essential to ensuring the protection and realization of women’s economic rights is increased understanding on the part of both governments and NGOs in the CIS on the impact of macroeconomic policies and reforms on women. To facilitate this increased awareness, UNIFEM supported a comparative study in three countries (Bulgaria, Hungary and Kazakhstan) to provide data and facilitate nationwide dialogues on the issue between government and civil society advocates. The findings of this study will serve as a baseline for developing policies to improve women’s economic status in the region. Additionally, UNIFEM provides technical and financial support research at both grassroots and government levels to identify gaps between current policies and legislation and the realities on the ground for the work of women-entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations. The findings of such a research have been discussed nationwide in Tajikistan and have already resulted in positive changes in legislation for women suitcase traders.
UNIFEM is now preparing to launch initiatives in Russia and Kyrgyzstan focusing on brining a gender analysis to economic policies and the distribution, use and generation of public resources by means of gender responsive budget analysis.
Eliminating all forms of violence against women
Eliminating Violence Against Women (VAW) and Girls: In 2001-2002, UNIFEM carried out a region-wide programme focused on: raising awareness about VAW through a targeted and extensive media and information campaign; building the capacity of NGOs, law enforcement officials, teachers and youth working on combating VAW in the region; facilitating advocacy work in the region through the establishment of a website in Russian (www.nasilie.net) in order to provide a forum for activists and NGOs to share experiences and strategies on combating VAW; and addressing the need for accurate and reliable information on the prevalence of VAW through the development of resource materials which provide not only an accurate analysis of legislation related to domestic violence in the region, but also provide training and guidelines for lobbying and drafting laws on domestic violence. Building upon this work, UNIFEM CIS continues to further strengthen the capacity of governments, NGOs, the media and other social actors to help eliminate violence against women. The main vehicle for achieving this aim is a project started in 2002 in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Under this project, and through the support of the German Government, a regional fund has been established to support NGOs and Government organizations working towards the development adoption and implementation of legislation, policies and/or mechanisms addressing gender based violence.
Enhancing linkage between human rights, gender and HIV/AIDS: UNIFEM, in coordination with the UN System, is supporting diverse strategies to ensure that women’s concerns are central to all strategies focused on combating HIV/AIDS. UNIFEM has recently launched an innovative pilot project in Kyrgyzstan (Building Capacity for Addressing the Gender Dimension of HIV/AIDS in the Kyrgyz Republic), which focuses on community training and information campaigns on the prevalence of HIV/AIDs. UNIFEM hopes to replicate this model in other countries in the CIS.
For more information you can visit www.unifem.org
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