I- Invitation

Dear all,

The African Center for Gender and Social Development of the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) is organizing an online discussion on Financing Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women In Africa”, in cooperation with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. This online discussion is being organized as per the recommendation of the E Network of Gender Machineries in Africa, which was launched in December 2006.

You are invited to participate in this discussion, which aims at exchanging views on financing gender equality and women's empowerment in Africa, to fulfill the regional and international commitments that have been made in this regard. The discussion will allow for a constructive exchange on options available for financing gender equality and challenges that impede the adequate resourcing of policies and programmes aimed at achieving gender equality and women's empowerment. Good examples and lessons learned at national and sub regional levels will be shared and discussed; gaps in knowledge, skills and information will be identified and practical solutions to overcome the challenges will be suggested.

The discussion will run for 4 weeks from 26 November to 23 December 2007 .

Registration for the online discussion

To register, please fill out the Registration form and send it to: Mr. Berhanu Tesfaye

E-mail address: btesfaye@uneca.org

You are encouraged to register before 23 November 2007 . Once you register, you will receive an email with your username and password that will enable you to join the online discussion.

If you have any questions about the registration process, please contact:

Mr. Berhanu Tesafaye at : btesfaye@uneca.org


Mr. Boris- Ephrem Tchoumavi at : tchoumavi@un.org

Looking forward to your participation in this online discussion, we kindly ask you to circulate this invitation widely. Thank you.

UNECA-African Center for Gender and Social Development
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

II- Background

The decade following the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action witnessed many developments on the African continent, including the adoption of regional and sub-regional declarations and mechanisms on gender and development, which are exemplified by the clear reference to gender equality in the Constitutive Act of the African Union (2001), the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (July 2003), the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (2004), the adoption of the gender parity principle by the African Union Commission the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and its African Peer Review Mechanism, and the various gender equality policies adopted by the Regional Economic Communities(RECs). Emphasis on the principle of gender equality and the empowerment of women enshrined in such regional instruments, together with international human rights instruments, provide further opportunities for institutionalizing gender equality and ensuring that gender is mainstreamed in all development policies, plans and programmes.

While many African countries have embraced the regional commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of women, implementation of the principles has not received the necessary financial and human resources. It is widely recognized that the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women requires sustainable financing and not only rhetoric.

The regional evaluation of the implementation of Beijing Platform for Action undertaken is 2004 (Beijing+10) showed that, while many African countries have made efforts to engender their policies and plans, the allocation of resources in national budgets did not equally reflect a change in orientation and the differentiated needs of women and men. Besides, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness: Ownership, Harmonization, Alignment, Results and Mutual Accountability has provided new processes for the provision, reception and utilization of development assistance, thus placing challenges on financing for gender equality.

The impetus at the national level towards financing policies and programmes aiming at achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in Africa has gained from the active involvement of funding partners, as well as from the creation of various funds and foundations that focus on the advancement of women. Funds derived from such sources have largely contributed to increasing activities and projects aiming at promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women at both national and regional levels. More recently, the private sector has also started showing an interest in this area and raising and allocating resources for activities aiming to empower women.

But despite all these efforts, the Beijing +10 evaluation process in Africa showed that national and regional gender policies and programmes remain grossly under-funded. It noted that, despite the funding from bilateral and multilateral development partners, governments did not make adequate resources available for the implementation of programmes for gender equality and women's empowerment on the continent. The Beijing +10 review noted that economic activities from which the majority of women obtain their livelihoods, such as subsistence agriculture and the informal sector, have not received the financing that is necessary to make them viable and lead to the empowerment of women. The review underlined especially that in most rural areas where the majority of African women live, adequate educational and health facilities are still lacking, as well as the essential infrastructure for rural development.

This online discussion will provide space in which various participants representing African gender machineries, national, regional and international stakeholders involved in development activities, including gender equality and the empowerment of women, can share their experiences on results achieved and the challenges and constraints. It will also give them the opportunity to exchange share ideas and experiences as well as recommendations and suggestions on the way forward. The theme of this e-discussion is also going to be the main focus of the discussions at the next Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York in February 2008.This e-discussion, we hope, will help the African Group who will attend the 2008 meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, share ideas that could be used to harmonize its common position on this issue.

The online discussion will run for 4 weeks as follows:

Week 1: 26 – 30 November 2007

National funding : - Identifying the current sources of funding, especially budgeted allocations.

-Examples and good practices in securing funds, through national development plans and budgets, to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Week 2: 3 - 8 December 2007

Bilateral and multilateral assistance : - Discussion on the funding status on the continent to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women

- Impact of The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness: Gains and Gaps

Week 3: 10-15 December 2007

Public Resources & Private Resources : Efficiency or Availability: What matters most?

Week 4: 17-22 December 2007

Wrapping up: Major aspects discussed, recommendations and The Way Forward

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