Права человека и права коренных народов в системе ООН
Los derechos humanos de Las Naciones Unidas y los derechos de los pueblos indígenas
UNDRIP for Indigenous adolescents
Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Dunbar
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous
peoples, James Anaya
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people
State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

U.N. Meet Holds Governments to Account on Women´s Equality
UNITED NATIONS -- In 2008, delegates meeting for the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) agreed that much greater investments in women and gender equality were a critical – and overlooked – aspect of sustainable development.

By Mathilde Bagneres, IPS

Photo: Indigenous women queuing up in a village in Peru's Puno region; they and others require budgets and aid with a gender focus. Credit:Milagros Salazar/IPS

For example, according to UN Women, while the international community gave 7.5 billion dollars in official development assistance to rural development and the agricultural sector in 2008–2009, a mere three percent was spent on programmes in which gender equality was a principal objective, and only 32 percent to those in which gender equality was a secondary objective.

Four years later, there has been some forward movement in a number of countries, but in many others, progress remains slow and uneven, a situation that is exacerbated by the ongoing global financial crisis.

Rural women continue to face limited access to productive resources, such as agricultural inputs and technology; only five percent of agricultural extension services are provided for women farmers.

As theCSWmeets again here from Feb 27 to Mar. 9, panellists from around the world sat down Thursday 2 March to evaluate the evolution of financing for gender equality and women's empowerment in their home countries, and chart a way forward.

"It's time to promote gender equality and for that purpose we need a change of paradigm, we definitely need to change our way of thinking," said Maria Almeida, vice finance minister of Ecuador.


Dr. Ing Phavi, minister of women's affairs in Cambodia, cited a series of measures taken by the Cambodian government that have proved successful in enhancing gender equality across different areas.

"In Cambodia, in the context of a public administration reform, the prime minister has launched a major drive in 2008 to address the gender imbalance in the public administration," she said.

As a result of extensive promotion across ministries and affirmative action policies, the number of female civil servants increased by 34 percent. At the sub-national level, more women were appointed as deputy governors or heads of government departments.

"In education, gender disparity has been eliminated in the primary and lower secondary education," she noted. "Remarkably, with the focus on training and deploying female teachers, the female ratio at the primary level reached 46 percent in 2009/2010."

However, fewer girls than boys continue on to get a higher education.

Asked what more needs to be done, Phavi told IPS, "The most important thing to understand is that gender equality is a government policy and it has to mainstream the poverty reduction strategy.

"Poverty reduction means taking care of growth, trade, agriculture development, well-being in terms of health, education and so on," she said. "Gender is already inside all sectors so it should be part of the poverty reduction strategy."


Mohammed Chafiki, director of studies and financial forecasts for the ministry of economy and finance in Morocco, spoke about Morocco's transition to equal rights and liberties for men and women.

In April 2011, the country ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a key instrument often described as an international bill of rights for women.

Morocco also adopted a new constitution in July that included many articles which expressly enshrined gender equality. For example, Article 19 affirms that men and women have equal civil, political, economic, cultural and environmental rights and liberties.

"In Morocco, we now need to continue the institutional reform. We are reforming our financial laws so it integrates gender considerations irreversibly," Chafiki told IPS.

"But in order to move forward with gender equality, it is not all about the government. Local communities will also have to take concrete actions," he said.

"To finance gender equality and women empowerment, we also need partnerships. We need partnerships with the private sector, with NGOs, with governments, of course, and we need international cooperation."

Chafiki cited significant progress in reducing educational disparities as one of the country's primary achievements.

"In 2010/2011, 96.3 percent of the girls from six to 11 years old are sent to school," he said.


Gerhard Steger, director general of budget for the ministry of finance in Austria, explained how the government now integrates gender considerations into budgets.

The concept of gender responsive budgeting (GRB) was included in a comprehensive budget reform package that was unanimously adopted by parliament. It features a medium-term expenditure framework, accrual budgeting and accounting and performance budgeting.

"First of all, we transformed our budget from a traditional steering instrument of resources, asking the question 'who gets what?', into a comprehensive instrument for resources and results," Steger told IPS.

"So we ask two questions: who gets what, and who has to deliver what for public management," he added.

"We ask each and every ministry to define no more than five top objectives for the ministry, which are part of the budget decision in parliament, and at least one of those objectives has to be a gender objective.

"Gender is directly interpreted into the performance budgeting process in Austria. Therefore every ministry has to contribute - with no exceptions."

Steger stressed crucial lessons that can be drawn from the Austrian experience.

"To make GRB a success, the design needs to be simple and focused on the most important aspects. If the design is too complex, GRB will very likely be a failure," he said.

"We also have to make gender relevant and thus integrate it into the budget and to create awareness for gender issues to convince decision makers to support GRB."

While national governments must take the lead, key agencies like UN Women are also working hard to steer funds into gender-oriented development.

On Thursday, UN Women announced it will give out 10.5 million dollars in grants to organisations working to advance economic and political empowerment of women in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia.

The grants will start at 200,000 dollars for initiatives that "make tangible improvements in the lives of women and girls, from enabling women candidates to run for office, to managing resources to support themselves and their families."

"At this moment of historic change, we cannot afford to leave women out. These grants will advance women’s efforts to achieve greater economic and political equality during this time of transition," said Michelle Bachelet, executive director for UN Women.

Since its creation in 2009, the Fund has invested a total of 43 million dollars in 40 countries around the world for projects working for gender equality.


Women Still Trapped Below Glass Ceiling of Party Politics

UNITED NATIONS -- The right of women to participate in political life is guaranteed by several international conventions, but transforming an abstract right into a reality requires hard work on the ground, says a new study released here.

By Thalif Deen, IPS

Published jointly by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for International Affairs, the 118-page report points out that although 40 to 50 percent of members of political parties globally are women, only about 10 percent hold positions of leadership.

And "with less than 20 percent of the world's parliamentary seats occupied by women," says UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, "it is clear that political parties need to do more - and should be assisted in those efforts - to support women's political empowerment."

Photo: For a long time, Zambian women's participation in politics has ended at voting. Credit:Richard Mulonga/IPS

Titled "Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties", the study aims to provide a good practices guide to promote women's political participation, and includes 20 case studies covering countries such as Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Indonesia, Morocco, Spain, Timor-Leste, UK and the United States.

"If we want to promote democracy and empower women politically, we must engage, not bypass, political parties," UNDP Gender Team Director Winnie Byanyima told IPS.

Unless women lead political parties, they will not lead governments, said Byanyima, a former Ugandan parliamentarian and diplomat.

Globally, the proportion of women ministers in governments is lower, averaging about 16 percent. And the proportion of women heads of state and government is lower still, and has declined in recent years, standing at less than five percent in 2011.

"The low numbers continue in the face of three decades of lobbying and efforts by the international community to eliminate discrimination and empower women," the study notes.

And this despite the fact the United Nations recognised the central role of women in development by including the empowerment of women as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) back in 2000.

"Yet no region in the world is on track to achieve the target of 30 percent women in decision-making positions," the study says.

Although some notable exceptions and good practices in this area are discernible, several bottlenecks remain to women's full and equal participation as contestants, the study asserts.

According to the latest statistics released by the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) and U.N. Women Thursday, the number of women as heads of state or government stands at 18 out of 193 countries.

The UNDP/NDI guidebook singles out some of the strategies to be followed during elections, such as training and mentoring women candidates and ensuring women's visibility in campaigns.

The NDI says it has worked with more than 720 political parties and organisations in over 80 countries to create more open political environments in which men and women can actively participate in the democratic process.

"We hope this guide will contribute to this effort," says NDI President Ken Wollack.

In the pre-election phase, recruiting and nominating candidates is probably the most crucial process for ensuring that women participate in politics. But the gender gap widens significantly as candidates for political office move from being eligible to becoming aspirants, to finally being nominated by the party, the study points out.

"It is important for parties to incorporate rules that guarantee women's representation," it says.

When this commitment is unwritten and informal, "it is much more difficult to devise strategies for women to break into the inner circle of power, and harder to hold the party accountable when the commitment is not realized."

And if a party's internal organisation is weak and the rules for recruitment are not clear, "decisions tend to be made by a limited number of elites, usually men."

As examples of affirmative action, the study cites several examples.

One political party in Canada has a candidate recruitment committee to ensure diversity in candidate selection. In Costa Rica, one of the political parties alternates men and women candidates on electoral lists.

In El Salvador, a multi-sectoral association offers training in communications and organising skills that help women become more effective in their political work both inside and outside of parliament.

In South Africa, women party members pushed for changes to the parliamentary calendar to accommodate parliamentarians with families, and also pushed for debates to finish earlier in the evening to accommodate parliamentarians with families, and for childcare facilities to be put in place.

In India, the national executive committee of the Bhatariya Janata Party (BJP) amended its constitution in 2008 to reserve 33 percent of the party's leadership positions for women and make the chief of the national women's branch a member of the party's central election committee.

In Germany, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) adopted a 33 percent quota for party officials in 1996. And if the quota is not met, the internal elections must be repeated.

Updated 05.03.2012
Published by: Magne Ove Varsi