Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Financing for Gender Equality & Financing for Women's Empowerment 4

Patti O’Neill, Deputy Head Policy Coordination Development Co-operation Directorate OECD, presented a paper at the Interactive Panel on the Review theme.: Follow the Money – Tracking Financing for Gender Equality. Download of the paper is possible via CSW 54.

In the first part of her paper O’Neill explained the development of the OECD DAC gender equality policy marker. Once countries become members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), they are required to submit statistical data on their aid activities along common reporting rules and standards. Data on aid activities targeting gender equality have been collected since 1991. The biggest breakthroughs have come over the last five years, leading to increases in aid focused on gender equality. Today all 24 DAC members are using the marker and 75% of the sector-allocable aid is screened. The Committee is able to use the data in peer reviews to identify gaps between political commitments and statements and individual donor financing of particular sectors or countries. As a consequence donors feel the need to step up their efforts. The gender equality marker has, in other words, political power.

O’Neill quoted from the latest report, fresh from the printshop (February 2012): Aid in Support of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.

In the second part of her paper O’Neill elaborated on the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. In November 2011 the Korean government hosted the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. According to O’Neill the Forum was a turning point for development: the most inclusive meeting ever held on development effectiveness. As a result of five years of close collaboration by the DAC Network on Gender Equality with UN Women (previously Unifem) and with women’s organizations. In the outcome agreement governments made strong commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment. O’Neill cited paragraph 20 of the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation. At the same time a number of complimentary international agreements were launched, including the Busan Joint Action Plan on Gender Equality and Development. This action plan has been designed to help to implement the Busan commitments at country level, which is imperative to make the gender commitments a reality. UN Women has a key role to play in each of the key areas that are needed to achieve impact and results:
- the countries’ capacity to collect, analyse and disseminate data disaggregated by sex
- more systematically addressing gender equality throughout the public financial management cycle.

Patti O’Neill was optimistic about the expected outcome of the Busan Partnership and the joint Action Plan on Gender Equality. This optimism is not shared by several women’s organizations. “Commitments (to gender equality) should be driven by a real commitment to the enjoyment of women’s rights and to strengthen their autonomies, not a desire to generate economic benefits.” according to Kate Lappin, APWLD Regional Coordinator. The Asian Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) is a regional network of feminist organizations and women, that has been active for nearly 25 years. The 180 members represent groups of diverse women from 25 countries in the region. APWLD was one of the initiators of the Busan Global Women’s Forum Political Statement.

Kate Lappin was one of the panelists at IWRAW-AP’s side event Development and Women’s Rights: the Way Forward on March 5th. In her presentation Lappin identified as one of the problems the increasing “Pink washing” as she framed the instrumental approach to gender equality, that easily dilutes the rights based approach.

Personally I think it can be sometimes useful to emphasis the ‘smart economics’ to invest in women, as long as the human rights perspective is not lost. I would suggest, however, readers of the blogspot to follow up on the links in this blog that are worthwhile reading anyway.

Leontine Bijleveld