In order to meet the standards for gender equality and women's empowerment set in the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the role of the UN in helping to frame, advocate for, and track progress towards the MDGs needs to be more focused on supporting country achievements in gender equality and strengthening national capacities to monitor gender responsive policy and progress.
In the global policy context, the 2005 World Summit expanded the scope of MDG-3 - gender equality and women's empowerment - beyond education and health. The new set of MDG-3 priorities includes: women's economic rights and access to resources; human rights and protection from violence, and citizenship rights and participation in decision-making. This new set of priorities requires a comprehensive and well coordinated support by the UN.
In Kyrgyzstan, although women and girls have good access to education, there are still significant areas of gender inequality: health (maternal and reproductive), unemployment, poverty, access to land and economic resources, and political representation. In addition, women in the domestic sphere suffer continued, and in some areas, increasing human rights violations, particularly with regards to domestic violence, human trafficking and forced marriage.
To address these priorities, the UN Gender Theme Group will demonstrate its effectiveness and the value it adds to the existing sum of UN agencies' efforts in advancing gender equality, by focusing on achieving the following:
- Coherence in joint UN programmes - harnessing each agency's comparative advantage to joint efforts and coordinated action on gender equality, supported by gender sensitive strategic and policy frameworks (UNDAF, JCSS, MDG & NHDR reports)
- Joint advocacy - enabling UN agencies to provide coordinated advocacy in the country on gender issues, and strengthening the capacity of civil society to voice key concerns. This will include ensuring that gender equality issues are integrated into national development strategies, and that country commitments to international conventions, with a special focus on CEDAW, are upheld in practice.
Key results in 2007
- Support for joint UN country gender analysis, in future to occur on an annual basis (with violence, women representation in decision-making positions, health and poverty as thematic focuses), and to be used as a tool by all UN programmes;
- Support for increase of awareness about the CEDAW and the concluding comments of the UN Committee on Discrimination against Women through a Council of NGOs, elaborating the Alternative Report to the III Periodic Report of the KR on implementation of the Convention;
- Joint national advocacy campaigns, coordinated with existing programs and projects of UN Agencies (focus on 16 Days Campaign v. gender-based violence, and the role of law enforcement bodies);
- Enhanced capacity of UN staff in gender responsive programming (focus on new staff induction);
- Enhanced UN Knowledge Base through E-Library (enhanced GTG web page).
Chair, Membership and Operating Mechanisms
- Chair: Neal Walker, UN Resident Coordinator;
- Technical lead: Anastasia Divinskaya, UNIFEM Gender Advisor to the UN RC;
- Committed Agencies: UNIFEM (lead), UNDP, UNFPA, UNV, UNHCR, WHO, ILO, OHCHR, WB;
- Expanded GTG composition (to meet 3 times per year): National Machinery on Gender Equality, active women's and gender NGOs, gender advocates, other UN agencies and donors.
- Core budget, based on annual work plan, submitted for RC funding;
- Co-funding from UN agencies, where programme goals coincide (e.g. UNDP TTF, UNFPA, WB).