IWTC Women's GlobalNet #331
Activities and Initiatives of Women Worldwide

 

BE INFORMED, BE PREPARED, BE ACTIVE: CSW 52

February 4, 2008

Natalie Raaber

 

The Report of the EXPERT GROUP MEETING

Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, the Report of the Expert Group Meeting, is now out!  This report, along with the Report of the Secretary General on financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women and the draft Agreed Conclusions currently being formulated, will serve as the core documents for the 2008 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).  The Report of the Expert Group Meeting and the Secretary General’s report serve as a basic reference for government delegates to the CSW as they work through the process of refining the Agreed Conclusions and are also essential reading for NGOs. 

 

For NGOS, not only do both reports provide a substantive overview of the issues and the recommendations that are being proposed, but they are also essential for effective advocacy during the CSW.   For example, you and your organization may have very clear points you wish to raise regarding funding (or lack thereof) for the work you are doing — if so, you will want to tie them to one or more of the recommendations.  If the issue you want to raise is not directly related to financing for gender equality, you will want to give some thought as to how you can make the connection.  Government delegates will not consider issues that are not related to the issues at hand.

 

Process note: While both reports are available on line, the Agreed Conclusions are currently being drafted by the Bureau of the Commission on the Status of Women.  The bureau is comprised of five member state representatives elected by the Commission for a two year term.   The Agreed Conclusions will be available to all on February 25th, the opening day of the CSW.

 

While both documents are important to the CSW, due to limited space, we are offering only a summary of the contents of the Expert Group Meeting Report in this GlobalNet.  If interested, we encourage you to read the report in its entirety which is available for download: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/egm/financing_gender_equality/egm_financing_gender_equality.htm

 

Additionally, should you wish to read the Secretary General’s report, you can download it here: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw52/OfficialDocuments.html

 

BACKGROUND information

Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women summarizes key issues raised in the papers and discussions at the Expert Group Meeting on this topic that took place in Oslo, Norway, September 5 - 7, 2007.   Thirty-three participants from every world region, including individuals from government, the United Nations, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs were present.  To feed into the EGM’s discussion and ultimately into the creation of the Report, 14 expert papers, seven expert presentations, three observer papers and a background paper were drawn upon.  In addition to the final report, all the individual papers are also available for downloading at the above website.

 

The 52nd session of the CSW comes at a time of worldwide discussions on financing for development, including financing for gender equality.  From the Monterrey Consensus of 2002 to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness of 2005 and the December 2008 meeting in Doha to review the implementation of the Monterrey Consensus, robust discussion on financing for development is occurring.  The CSW stands as a unique, women-specific policy space in the larger deliberations on financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

 

REPORT OVERVIEW

The report begins with a background on the issue, noting that while strong commitments to financing for gender equality on the international, national, regional and community level exist, a gap between these commitments and their full implementation on the ground remains.  The Beijing Platform for Action, for instance, called for the identification and mobilization of resources for the financing of gender equality from all potential sources and across all sectors.  Yet, obstacles to the realization of this goal continue to persist and research indicates only limited progress has been made.  What is causing this gap between commitment and effective implementation?

 

In order to shed further light on this question, the Expert Group Meeting explored mechanisms of financing for gender equality and ways to move forward. Macroeconomic policies, public finance, including gender responsive budgeting, mobilization of international resources and new and innovative sources of funding were key points of discussion. 

 

The report is broken down into four main themes, each of which discusses a particular aspect of financing for gender equality and is followed by a series of recommendations for action.  A list of indicators is provided in the Annex of the Report.  The proposed indicators measure the extent to which gender perspectives are adequately included in public finance, trade and macroeconomic policy.

 

Theme 1:  Macroeconomic Policies and Follow-up to the Monterrey Consensus

This section highlights the overall thrust of the Monterrey Consensus and points to its key shortfalls, namely the “lack of coherence between the economic policies for which it advocates (low inflation and mobility of capital) on the one hand and its social commitment to poverty reduction, human rights and gender equality on the other”.  Recommendations are made on how governments, decision-makers and international bodies can better meet the objectives of gender equality and the empowerment of women. 

 

Note:  One of the challenges in participating in UN discussions is understanding the “UNese” language which is used, made up frequently of names of cities or by various letters of the alphabet.  The Monterrey Consensus is the outcome of the 2002 United Nations International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico.  It identifies the means for ensuring the availability of sufficient financial resources to reach United Nations development goals and focuses on six key areas, including the mobilization of domestic resources, increasing private international investment, increasing market access and ensuring fair trade, strengthening official development assistance, reducing the debt burden, improving the coherence of global and regional financial structures and promoting the fair representation of developing countries in global decision-making.  The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, first endorsed on 2 March 2005, builds on the Monterrey Consensus and advances a call for more effective and efficient aid distribution by reducing duplication, transaction costs and misdirected aid.  The Declaration focuses on a commitment by donors to assist developing countries' governments formulate and implement their own national development plans, using their own prioritization, planning and implementation systems wherever possible.  Ownership, mutual accountability, harmonization of efforts and the management of resources for results are emphasized.

 

Theme 2: Public Finance and Gender Responsive Budgeting

Recognized as the largest single source of financing for gender equality and women’s empowerment, government budgets, working through national and sub-national budgets, are translated into practical policies and programmes.  This section looks at the gendered impact of public finance systems and the need for gender responsive budgeting and other public finance reforms to address the inequitable effects of certain policies.  Recommendations are made on how governments can better integrate a gender perspective into their public finance systems as well as increase the participation of women in macroeconomic and budgetary policy formulation.

 

Theme 3: Bilateral and Multilateral Aid

The extent to which donor agencies have fulfilled the gender equality dimension of the Monterrey Consensus is examined and trends observed in aid delivery and the effect of the Paris Declaration are considered in this section. Recommendations include increases in Official Development Assistance, mechanisms for assessing the performance of the bilateral and multilateral agencies and the push for the implementation of a dual approach to achieving gender equality. 

 

Theme 4: Funding the Women’s Movement

This section examines the funding environment for the women’s movement and discusses the need for a complementary approach to funding, one which recognizes the necessity of involving all stakeholders, including government, civil society, women’s organizations and the private sector.  Innovative funding approaches, such as diaspora funding and social enterprises, are examined and recommendations are made, including a call for a significant increase in investment in women’s rights organizations, a stronger move towards alliance building and a greater exchange of information and training in fundraising.

  

PREPATORY ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSIONS

In preparation for the CSW, roundtable discussions are held examining the thematic issues considered by the CSW that year.  The first roundtable was held on January 28, 2007 and discussed financing for gender equality. 

 

The second roundtable will be held on February 5, 2007, from 1:15-2:30 in Conference Room 4 of the Secretariat and will examine the topic of women, peace and security.  NGOs are welcome to attend, however, those wishing to attend must have a UN grounds pass.  To obtain a pass, please contact Deanna Chitayat, Roundtable Planning Group, at dchitayat@aol.com or by fax at (212) 595-3397 as soon as possible.

 

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