C 2003/6


Thirty-second Session

Rome, 29 November – 10 December 2003

PLAN OF ACTION (2002-2007)

Table of Contents


1. FAO’s Gender and Development Plan of Action (GAD-PoA) was endorsed by the 31st Session of the Conference (C 2001/9). The Conference requested that a Progress Report be prepared for its 32nd Session in 2003. This first Report focuses on: institutional measures and arrangements put in place to support the implementation of the Plan; illustrations of quantitative linkages between the Plan’s four objectives and FAO’s major programmes; examples of actions undertaken during the present biennium; and final observations and recommendations.


2. The GAD-PoA constitutes FAO’s main policy instrument for follow-up to the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action on Women and the Beijing +5 review, the 1996 World Food Summit Plan of Action, and the Political Declaration adopted at the World Food Summit: five years later in June 2002. In these policy documents, FAO Members committed to support the advancement and empowerment of rural women and to promote gender equality in agriculture and rural development. Furthermore, a majority of FAO Members are Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the only international legal instrument with specific provisions for rural women (Art. 14).

3. The GAD-PoA serves as a framework for FAO to develop its skills, capacities, mechanisms and modalities to better assist its Members in developing and implementing national and regional policies, strategies and programmes for agricultural and rural development that are consistent with aforementioned political and legal commitments, as well as with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially goal 3 on gender equality.

4. The Plan is consistent with the longer-term orientations and corporate strategies contained in FAO’s Strategic Framework 2000-2015. It identifies a series of priorities for action and also aims at strengthening responsibilities and accountability for gender mainstreaming throughout the Organization.


5. Mainstreaming gender in regular programming. In 1999, the FAO Programme Committee noted, inter alia, the need to: improve the existing mechanisms to incorporate gender into FAO’s regular work; adopt verifiable indicators to demonstrate effective progress; firmly entrench gender mainstreaming in programme planning of all units in the Organization; ensure adequate coverage of gender mainstreaming in corporate reports, such as the Programme Implementation Reports (PIRs) and the Programme Evaluation Reports (PERs); ensure that implementation monitoring responsibilities were shared among all programme managers; develop a coding and monitoring system for gender mainstreaming; and, distinguish gender mainstreaming in FAO’s technical work from the issue of gender balance in FAO’s professional staffing. The GAD-PoA was developed in response to these comments.

6. A major effort was made to link the GAD-PoA to the broader MTP process, including: considering the Plan as part of the policy guidance provided to all FAO programme managers in the context of the MTP and the biennial programme of work and budget (PWB); ensuring that gender-related commitments are reviewed and updated in the rolling MTP every two years; and ensuring that regular reports to Governing Bodies on programme implementation and evaluation address the commitments embodied in the MTP and the GAD-PoA.

7. The GAD-PoA was prepared through a consultative process involving FAO’s technical departments, units responsible for staff development and training (AFH), information (GI), and the Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation (PBE). Divisions reviewed their Medium-Term Plan 2002-2007 to incorporate more explicitly a gender dimension and identify verifiable gender-sensitive indicators (GSI) at the level of selected Major Outputs for monitoring and assessing progress.

8. In 2002, the Office of the Inspector-General (AUD) assessed the process used by the Organization in preparing the GAD-PoA. Generally, the procedures and practices followed to develop the Plan were found to be reasonable and in line with the requirements of the Organization and the Programme Committee.

9. A total of 181 Major Outputs or about one fifth of all Major Outputs in the MTP 2002-2007 were selected for inclusion in the GAD-PoA. A full list of these outputs by unit can be obtained from the MTP Output databases at the following Internet address: www.fao.org/pbe. Figure 1 illustrates the relative contribution of each Major Programme towards the GAD-PoA, based on numbers of Major Outputs selected.

10. The first roll-over of the corporate Medium-Term Plan to 2004-2009 took place in 2002. All FAO units were asked to re-examine the links already established between their programmes and the GAD-PoA, while considering eventual gender dimensions in any new Major Outputs in the second version of the MTP. This resulted in an increase of 18% in the number of links established between MTP outputs and the GAD-PoA (from 181 to 214). This is one indicator of enhanced awareness of the importance and relevance of gender to FAO’s work. But it is a quantitative indicator only, without direct inference on the eventual gender-related impact of activities proposed.

11. Mainstreaming gender in regular monitoring, evaluation and reporting. The present progress report falls between the old and new corporate reporting regime affecting in particular the Programme Implementation Report and the Programme Evaluation Report. However, as indicated above, greater attention is now given to addressing gender concerns in FAO programmes, including in the MTP formulation process, starting with identifying key outputs related to gender issues in the MTP 2002-07. The Programme Planning, Implementation Report and Evaluation Support System (PIRES), introduced in 2002, is expected to facilitate systematic monitoring of such outputs and the results formulated during the planning process. Similarly, the Director-General’s Bulletin (2001/33) on Strengthening the FAO Evaluation System lists among the main criteria for assessing programmes: “effectiveness and impact of action, including on key corporate thematic priorities, such as the promotion of gender equality and equity.”

12. On the basis of these overall procedural enhancements for monitoring results and impact, the task now is to ensure that this is followed up during implementation. In this context, PBE and the Gender and Population Division (SDW) have held consultations with the aim of developing a cost-effective approach by identifying (together with the relevant technical divisions) a core set of indicators for assessing gender mainstreaming. How to do this still remains a challenge. The initial emphasis will be on projects and activities with an explicit gender focus under both the Regular and Field Programmes. SDW will collaborate with the units concerned in identifying such projects/activities and working out indicators and data collection systems, while PBE will assist in the preparatory work and also support the analytical work.

13. For measuring and monitoring the gender impact of FAO’s Field Programme, more work is needed to ensure that all projects and programmes properly analyse and identify possible impacts already at the design phase. Similarly, the existing monitoring instruments, such as periodic progress reporting at the project level and the Field Programme Management System (FPMIS) at the corporate level, do not as yet provide sufficient information on gender aspects, and a practical approach needs to be developed for monitoring and analysis of gender-relevant results. However, under the new guidelines for annual reporting, FAO Representatives are required to report on "gender and population issues in agriculture, environmental and rural development, in agricultural censuses and surveys and in legislation…. GAD PoA refers."

14. Regarding Field Programme evaluations, FAO’s evaluation guidelines, as well as the model Terms of Reference (TORs) and the standard outline of evaluation reports, explicitly address gender issues. As a further step to raise awareness in project evaluations, SDW will review the annual project evaluation plans prepared by PBE and concerned units, and for those projects deemed to have gender relevancy, it will contribute to the discussion of project evaluation TORs as well as to the review of draft reports. This is expected also to facilitate capturing of relevant information on field experience in achieving gender-related results.


15. The GAD-PoA is the principal instrument for operationalizing the Priority Area for Interdisciplinary Action (PAIA) on Gender and Development as identified in the MTP. The GAD-PoA has four objectives that promote gender equality in access to: (1) food; (2) productive resources, natural resources and agricultural technology and support services; (3) decision-making at all levels; and, (4) on- and off-farm employment opportunities. Actions are classified in the following seven categories: capacity building, methodologies and guidelines, awareness raising and institutional measures, information collection, technology development and transfer, policy advice, and skills enhancement for rural men and women.

16. The following sections provide examples of 2002-2003 RP biennial outputs in support of each objective. Extra-budgetary support was provided by Belgium, Finland, Italy, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden.

Objective 1: To assist Members in their efforts to increase rural women’s and men’s equal access to sufficient, safe and nutritionally adequate food

Figure 2 illustrates the relative contribution of major programmes towards this objective, either as the primary objective (P) selected among the four GAD-PoA objectives or as a secondary objective (S). Not surprisingly, programme 2.2., which includes Nutrition, has the largest number of outputs contributing towards this objective, but also programme 2.1, Agriculture, has a significant commitment under this objective.

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Examples of actions taken in 2002-2003:

17. Capacity building and skills enhancement:

    1. Women agricultural producers in Cambodia, Nepal, and Zambia were trained on how to manage irrigation and water systems.
    2. Collective market garden sites were established in Niger for women's groups where there are already some traditional wells in place and "slum gardens" that benefit landless women to help improve nutrition and food security of targeted households.
    3. Women producers in Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Zambia were trained in decision-making procedures and production activities to improve household food security, nutrition and health.

18. Information collection, analysis and dissemination:

    1. Sex-disaggregated data on food quality, food safety, and the nutritional status of rural populations were collated, in order to incorporate the results of analyses into policy advice.
    2. A study was undertaken on “Links established by women within food systems, in rural and urban areas” in Thailand.

19. Technology Development and Transfer:

    1. In Africa, FAO undertook a multi-country participatory appraisal of farm power and rural livelihoods, and later – in conjunction with IFAD – assessed appropriate labour-saving technologies particularly for HIV/AIDS affected communities. In both appraisals, specific attention was given to linkages between gender roles, gender specific priorities and constraints, and appropriate tools, equipment and farm power.
    2. Sustainable low-cost technologies such as treadle pumps (India/Bangladesh, Africa) and simple irrigation methods were transferred through South-South Cooperation (China and other parts of Asia, and Kenya) with women as main beneficiaries.

Objective 2: To assist Members in their efforts to increase rural women’s and men’s equal access to, control over and management of natural resources and agricultural support services

Figure 3 shows which FAO programmes contribute to this second goal of the GAD-PoA. Agriculture, 2.1, and Sustainable Development, 2.5, are major contributors to this Objective, with an emphasis on providing tools, knowledge and experience to better manage natural resources.

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Examples of actions taken in 2002-2003:

20. Capacity building and skills enhancement:

    1. Under the Local and Indigenous Knowledge and Information Systems (LINKS) project, training workshops were organized in Tanzania, Swaziland and Mozambique on Gender Analysis and Participatory Approaches for the Sustainable Use and Conservation of Agro-biodiversity and Food Security. A training manual and a small training guide focusing on restoring crop diversity and rebuilding seed supply systems, using participatory approaches are under development in collaboration with the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI).
    2. Under the Integrated Support to Sustainable Development and Food Security Programme (IP), field surveys were conducted in selected rural areas, heavily affected by HIV/AIDS, in Uganda, Namibia, and Zambia to obtain gender-and age disaggregated information about the impact of the disease on labour force, agricultural production and rural livelihoods as a basis for developing appropriate agriculture sector responses.
    3. A regional workshop with participants from 9 African countries was organized in South Africa for project staff involved in the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) on socio-economic and gender analysis in farmers’ water management in March 2002, with a follow-up workshop in July 2003. A similar regional workshop was held in September 2003 in Cambodia for SPFS project staff from 12 Asian countries.

21. Information collection, analysis and dissemination:

    1. IFAD, FAO, and the International Land Coalition, undertook a joint study of the national reports of selected FAO Members, Parties to the CEDAW convention, to assess status of compliance with Article 14 on rural women, particularly as regards access to land and property.
    2. A study on “Gender and Law: women’s rights in Agriculture,” analysed the legal status of women in ten selected countries, in three key areas: land and natural resources rights; rights for agricultural workers and the self-employed.
    3. The results of case studies carried out in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Brazil on the integration of gender in Land Management Programmes were summarised in the document “Mainstreaming ‘Gender’ within Land Tenure Programmes.” Ongoing research is supported in Brazil, Bolivia and Mexico.
    4. Participatory assessments were undertaken jointly by FAO and IFAD in Eastern and Southern Africa (Zambia, Mozambique and Uganda) to produce and field test a Sourcebook, Toolkit for Practitioners, Market Environment Case Studies and a Synthesis Report on Gender and Poverty Targeting in Market Linkage Operations.
    5. The results of the FAO/INFOPESCA study on the role of women in fisheries in Southern Argentina, Uruguay and Southern Brazil were summarized in an upcoming publication entitled "Women in the fisheries sector in Southern America". Ongoing research is supported in Cuba and in the Dominican Republic.
    6. A case study was published on female extension assistants in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan.

Objective 3: To assist Members in their efforts to promote gender equality in policy and decision-making processes at all levels, in the agriculture and rural sectors

Figure 4 shows the relative contributions of the Major programmes towards this objective. About half of the GAD-PoA outputs, for all departments, contribute principally towards this objective.

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Examples of actions taken in 2002-2003:

22. Policy Advice:

    1. FAO, in collaboration with NGOs, supported research in countries of the Amazon Region aimed at incorporating a gender dimension in public policies and, specifically, in the Amazon Cooperation Treaty. Guidelines for the integration of a gender perspective in agricultural and rural development policies were published. Similarly, support was provided to research on intra-household dynamics and household food security aimed at improving the formulation of agricultural and rural development policies in the Near East and Asia regions.
    2. A TCP Project supported the Government of Costa Rica in gender mainstreaming within agricultural planning. Experts were trained on gender analysis, and 100 women farmers were trained in management and negotiation techniques to participate effectively in the elaboration of development strategies.
    3. Through TCPs, assistance was provided to mainstream gender within national plans for socio-economic development in Tunisia, Algeria, Syria and Jordan. A sub-regional consultation was organized in Egypt with experts from these and other countries in the region that have yet to develop similar national plans, to collect "best practices", exchange ideas, elaborate a regional gender strategy, and strengthen networks of gender specialists.
    4. The Ministries of Agriculture in Ghana, Togo and Guinea-Conakry were supported in the preparation of Gender and Agricultural Development Strategy documents, aimed at facilitating an analysis of gender biases in agricultural services delivery and establishing a policy framework to overcome impediments for sustainable agricultural and rural development.
    5. Support was given to the integration of gender issues in national communication policies for Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and the Central African Republic.
    6. Case studies in Africa, Latin America and Asia appraised the gender impacts of increased market liberalization and commercialization of agriculture to raise awareness and develop strategic guidance for Members in designing and implementing field programmes which support commercial farming and non-farm agricultural opportunities for women as well as men, and which better take into account gender and age specific changes in resource management, decision making and livelihoods strategies.
    7. Gender has been mainstreamed in FAO's guidelines on agricultural policy analysis, and the Handbook on Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis in Macroeconomic and Agricultural Sector Policies was revised.

23. Awareness raising and Institutional measures:

    1. Support was provided to research on inter-linkages among gender, HIV/AIDS and food security in rural areas. Preliminary research results from Namibia, Uganda and Zambia were presented at a roundtable convened by UNIFEM in April 2003, for the preparation of the ECOSOC High-level session on the theme of Integrated Approaches to rural development.
    2. A special documentary was produced in collaboration with BBC and several FAO units to illustrate the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on agriculture and food security in southern Africa, and the worsening of gender inequalities caused by the epidemic. It was shown daily during the May 2003 session of the FAO Committee on Food Security.

24. Capacity building and skills enhancement:

    1. Several initiatives were launched to develop strategies to harness information and communication technologies (ICTs) for distance education and learning for rural women, and for facilitating networking and exchange of experiences among rural women and their associations. The Dimitra project, which is operational in Africa and the Near East, provides a tool for rural women and their organizations to make their voices heard at the national and international level, enhances their access to information, and their capacity for establishing partnerships with civil society organizations.
    2. An experts Consultation about “Strategic options for secondary agricultural training” recommended special efforts to integrate women in agricultural extension services, training and research and in high-profile positions in public and professional agricultural institutions.
    3. Under the SEAGA programme, FAO's principal tool for developing gender mainstreaming capacities in member countries, a series of activities took place in 2002-03:

25. Information collection, analysis and dissemination:
As a response to the growing demand for gender-specific information, FAO is collaborating with other United Nations agencies to improve the availability of statistical data that better illustrate present gender inequalities in agricultural and rural development and food security. This action includes the incorporation of gender-specific demographic data into FAOSTAT databases. Other activities in the present biennium include:

    1. A particular emphasis was devoted to gender issues within the “Programme for the World Census of Agriculture 2000”. Several World Census projects have included a stronger effort to obtain gender-disaggregated data (GDD): Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Panama, Senegal and Trinidad and Tobago. FAO provided technical assistance to national institutions in charge of data collection. Similar activities were undertaken in several Central and Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. In Romania, regional GDD training was provided and in Hungary activities focused on gender-sensitive retabulation of Census data.
    2. SEAGA-linked GDD training materials were developed and training provided in Namibia, Romania, Uganda and Zambia. The material has been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian, and a training workshop was conducted in the Kyrgyz Republic in the summer of 2003 with participants also from Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.
    3. FAO supported a pilot study on “Men and women in agriculture: Division of labour, decision-making and access to resources,” conducted in Bulgaria to develop a methodology for the collection of gender-disaggregated data for countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe. Other countries associated with this exercise were: Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
    4. FAO supported a seminar held in China on Gender, Population and Land Tenure as a follow-up to the First National Agricultural Census of China.
    5. An initial set of Socio-economic gender-sensitive indicators (GSI) and a provisional set of indicators on natural resources management were developed and field-tested in Egypt, Nepal, and the Philippines.

Objective 4: To assist Members in their efforts to promote gender equality in opportunities for on- and off- farm employment in rural areas

26. Contributions to this objective are subsumed into activities reported against other objectives. This explains the limited number of Outputs indicated as contributing towards this objective as the primary one under the GAD-PoA, despite its obvious importance for reducing rural poverty and hunger. However, a large number of outputs, particularly under Major programme 2.5 (which includes the SPFS) have this as a secondary objective. Figure 5 shows the relative contribution of the Major Programmes towards this objective. In this case Sustainable Development (2.5), and Policy (3.1), have the most outputs followed by Agriculture (2.1).

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Examples of actions taken in 2002-2003:

27. Policy Advice:

    1. A study was undertaken in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on rural women’s education and employment in Central America, which identified priority domains to include in agricultural and rural policies.
    2. Studies were undertaken on issues surrounding income diversification, taking into account gender differentials in India, Mexico and Mozambique. This project is now being extended geographically to allow cross-country analysis and to train FAO field staff in gender-sensitive household surveys and community appraisal methods.

28. Information collection, analysis and dissemination:

    1. Recognising that access to banking services, especially to loans, is often skewed in favour of men, a recent FAO publication on Improving Farmers' Financial Management Skills, puts a heavy emphasis on practical measures to redress the current gender imbalance.
    2. Studies were conducted in Egypt and Morocco concerning the environmental and socio-cultural aspects of medicinal plants, as they are particularly important both for health and for rural women’s income.

29. Capacity building and skills enhancement:

    1. Labour-saving technologies alleviate rural women’s workloads and free their time for other activities, such as education and training, and off-farm employment, and FAO is preparing a position paper on the assessment of new technologies for increased efficiency of women involved in greenhouse crop production.
    2. FAO is carrying out a study on the reduction of women’s workload in harvesting of forest products and the increased work safety and health of women participating in harvest operations.
    3. In Myanmar, FAO, with the support of UNDP, is providing assistance to community-based women’s organizations to improve their access to credit, technology and training with the aim to improve rural livelihoods and food security.
    4. A case study and a video on women in floriculture production in India have been prepared to demonstrate the potential of floriculture as an income-generating activity for women.
    5. Under the United Nations Foundation/ FAO programme for development of community based tree and forest product enterprises (China and Uganda), a gender strategy ensures that the benefits are equitably shared and that those who have the least access to education, training and information are provided the opportunity to participate.

30. In summary, in the present biennium, FAO has undertaken a range of actions to translate its corporate commitment to rural women’s empowerment and gender equality into concrete actions benefitting its Members in all regions. However, available information does not permit an assessment of the extent to which FAO’s actions have actually contributed to enhance the status of rural women and increase equality of rights, voice and opportunities for men and women in agriculture. Planned auto-evaluations by programme managers and independent evaluations undertaken as part of the corporate evaluation programme constitute important opportunities and tools for such qualitative assessment.


31. The issuing in 2000 of new criteria, including one on gender, for the approval of proposals by the Project and Programme Review Committee (PPRC), has helped ensuring greater attention to gender in the design of new projects. The development of the GAD-PoA also helped generate more awareness within FAO about the importance of addressing gender gaps and constraints in FAO’s work. Several SEAGA tools have been incorporated in the FPMIS as resources for decentralized staff. Furthermore, a sample of an engendered logical framework is available, as well as a guidance note for project reviewers and PPRC members relating to the Gender criterion.

32. Missions undertaken by the Investment Centre (TCI) to formulate development and investment projects increasingly include gender analysis specialists on the teams, as was the case this biennium in Lebanon, Algeria, and Peru. The outcome is a better targeting of beneficiary populations and an increased participation of women. As regards SPFS, TCO notes that a gender dimension is included in every module. The percentage of female participation is important and varies according to the modules: on average 30% for water control and for intensification of crop production systems, 50% for food security constraints analysis and resolution, 70% for diversification of production systems. Gender analysis experts join all the key steps in the formulation of SPFS projects, reflecting an enhanced level of gender awareness within the Organization.

33. Among 1029 Telefood Projects whose results are already available, 411 (40% of the total, and with a budget of 2,95 million US dollars) were primarily formulated to benefit women. Telefood projects are providing women with the means to improve their food production, income and household food security (helping women to sell their own fish in Burkina Faso; training in beekeeping on a small scale in Samoa; treadle pumps for women’s horticultural gardens in Senegal).

34. In its emergency operations, FAO is paying particular attention to women as they are often the principal victims in such situations, both in terms of gender-based violence and because of their role as the principal food producers and providers for their families. Hence, women are also crucial partners in post-conflict rehabilitation of the agricultural sector. For example:

35. FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP) jointly developed a SEAGA guide and a passport to mainstreaming a gender perspective in emergency programmes” intended to help humanitarian workers and coordinators identify specific vulnerable groups and target groups who play a crucial role in their country’s rebuilding. In addition, these tools aim at better including women and men on an equitable basis in every phase of the emergency and rehabilitation operations. The Passport, published in 2002, and since translated into several languages, has been widely disseminated.


36. The Gender and Population Division (SDW) serves as corporate focal point for gender mainstreaming into FAO’s technical work and represents FAO in this capacity within the UN system. As a technical division, SDW has a dual mandate: first, to service FAO members and respond to demands for policy advice and technical services within its area of competency; second, to collaborate with other technical divisions in mainstreaming gender (and increasingly also HIV/AIDS analysis) in their programmes. As regards the function of internal oversight relating to corporate monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the gender-related commitments under the MTP/GAD-PoA, SDW and PBE are collaborating on putting in place appropriate measures for this purpose.

37. A corporate network of focal points and alternates for gender mainstreaming in technical units designated by their service chiefs, division directors and head of departments, has been established. About 2/3 of the focal points are women and 1/3 are men. This group, together with SDW, forms the interdivisional mechanism for the Gender PAIA. The principle of rotation of the function of focal points has been introduced to gradually increase the number of people familiar with gender analysis tools and their application. In its capacity as Chair of the Gender PAIA, SDW launched an internal bi-monthly Gender e-newsletter in October 2002 as an instrument for sharing information on gender-related actions and lessons learned among staff.

38. Building the skills of FAO’s own staff for mainstreaming gender is critical for the successful implementation of the Plan. SDW and the Human Resources Management Division (AFH) have been collaborating on a two-pronged effort for this purpose. First, the Project Cycle Overview Course (PCOC), designed to provide FAO staff with more effective project identification, design and management skills, was reviewed and elements of SEAGA incorporated in the course's pilot version. Second, the two Divisions have collaborated in the development of a budgeted work plan for tailor-made, division-by-division seminars based on pilot seminars undertaken in 2002. However, due to lack of resources, such comprehensive training has not become integral in FAO's core staff development programme. Yet, delivery through the Organization's centrally-organized staff development programme has the potential for being an effective means toward institutionalizing, inter alia, gender mainstreaming training.

39. In June 2002 a two-day Training Workshop on Gender Mainstreaming was organized for divisional Gender Focal Points (GFPs) with a total of 24 FAO officers in attendance. They practiced some of the SEAGA tools, and examined some good practices and lessons learnt to better understand the need for gender mainstreaming and the role of Gender focal points and SDW staff in supporting the implementation of the GAD-PoA.

40. More specialized briefings and presentations were also organized for members of the GFP/PAIA network either with in-house resources or using visiting experts. For example, a briefing was organized on Gender and Information, demonstrating where gender information and resources could be located electronically and otherwise, to support the work of the GFPs. Presentations were organized by the Coordinator of the Gender and Diversity programme of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR), by the Director for Gender and Development of the World Bank, and by visiting academics/experts from Canada and Australia.

41. SDW also organized Briefing Seminars on the GAD-PoA in all regional offices, conducted detailed discussions with regional management and staff on the opportunities within their regional programmes of work to contribute to the implementation of the Plan, and assessed gender training needs of regional staff. No follow-up training has been possible to date due to resource constraints.

42. SDW regularly organizes various seminars for staff jointly with other technical units, for instance on the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD) each year, or in connection with the regular sessions of FAO’s technical committees and governing bodies. For IWD 2002, a seminar was organized jointly by SDW, the Rural Development Division (SDA) and the Land and Water Development Division (AGL) on Gender issues in Land Tenure and Land Use. For IWD 2003, a similar seminar was organized by SDW, the Food and Nutrition Division (ESN) and AGL on Gender and Water. For the Second Consultation on Agricultural Information Management (COAIM) in September 2002, SDW co-organized a side-event on Gender and Agricultural Information, with the Statistics Division (ESS) and the Research, Extension and Training Division (SDR). At WFS:fyl in June 2002, SDW organized a side-event on the theme: Rural Women – Crucial Partners in the Fight against Hunger and Poverty.


43. Building a supportive constituency for gender mainstreaming among FAO Members and other partners is critical for achieving gender equality in agriculture and rural development. Out-posted regional gender officers aim to build broad geographical support for gender mainstreaming, and to give visibility in the regions to FAO’s activities in support of rural women and for gender equality. A user-friendly website (www.rlc.fao.org/mujer) highlights gender dimensions in agricultural and rural development within the Latin America and the Caribbean region and includes information on training packages, relevant links and a directory of rural women’s organizations. A new Gender network for the Near East region was established at a regional workshop held in Cairo in May 2003. The annual expert meetings on gender and rural development, as well as the biennial sessions of the FAO/ECA Working Party on Women and the Family in Rural Development (WPW), serve a similar purpose in the European region.

44. Extensive contacts and collaboration are maintained with NGOs/CSOs and the Rome-based representatives of INGOs, specifically interested in women/gender issues. FAO participates in their world congresses, and their representatives are invited to events organized by FAO. Gender justice was a priority of the International NGO/CSO Planning Committee (IPC) for the WFS:fyl, the network of regional and thematic civil society organizations and social movements that coordinated the NGO/CSO Forum for Food Sovereignty in June 2002. The IPC is now collaborating with FAO on a follow-up action programme focused on four issues: promoting a rights-based approach to food security, ensuring access of local people - women in particular - to productive resources, mainstreaming family-based agroecological approaches to agriculture, and defending the food sovereignty of peoples and countries. In all of these areas special attention is paid to the rights and concerns of women.

45. FAO is also an active member of the UN Inter-agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE). In the biennium 2002-2003, FAO is member of the following IANWGE task forces: Gender and Water, Gender and ICTs, Gender and Trade and, Gender and the MDGs.


46. As illustrated above, progress has been made towards translating the corporate commitment to gender equality into action. However, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed to firmly anchor the gender mainstreaming approach within FAO:

47. First, there is a need for sustained attention and proactive support from middle and senior managers to gender mainstreaming and for a more genuine division of responsibilities and accountability for promoting gender equality in FAO’s work.

48. Second, as regards the internal oversight function, a clearer division of responsibilities between SDW, as a technical division, and the units with corporate level responsibilities for programme planning, budgeting, evaluation and reporting, such as PBE and AUD, should be considered in order to enhance managerial accountability and monitoring of results. This would include ongoing gender-related auditing and evaluation, the development of a practical approach to assist FAO units in monitoring and analysis of significant results, and the continued refinement of reporting mechanisms.

49. Third, in context of FAOSTAT 2, more work is needed in technical units compiling and analysing statistics, such as from national agricultural censuses and surveys, to assist FAO Members to generate gender disaggregated data, produce surveys on the gendered nature of work, and provide detailed gender analysis of statistical material and information on data and on data collection methodologies.

50. Fourth, currently, measurements of gender mainstreaming included in FAO’s documents are almost exclusively quantitative. Given that some programme impacts cannot be measured quantitatively, more work is needed in all technical units on the development of adequate qualitative indicators and greater use of qualitative appraisal methods. Indeed, a major challenge in coming biennia will be to demonstrate to both FAO staff and its Members that the time and resources invested in gender planning, monitoring, reporting and impact measurement, actually lead to improved outcomes of FAO’s work with respect to the four objectives of the GAD-PoA.

51. Fifth, due to the turnover in FAO staff, skills development needs to be a continuing effort. New staff arrivals tend to have little or no gender analysis skills, while many existing staff still are confused about gender concepts and their application. Gender analysis training needs to be a regular feature of the corporate staff development and training programme. Adequate resources must be allocated for this purpose, in consistency with the corporate strategies on building excellence and enhancing inter-disciplinarity, which put emphasis on developing competency and skills in participatory approaches and gender analysis.

52. Sixth, it would be useful to incorporate gender analysis and participatory approaches into relevant FAO post descriptions. Also, the TORs of gender focal points should be incorporated in the workplan of different units and staff, so that gender mainstreaming constitutes part of the regular programme of work that is evaluated.


53. In conclusion, it is recommended that the Conference endorse this first Progress Report on Implementation of the FAO Gender and Development Plan of Action (2002-2007), invite further assessment of progress in terms of gender mainstreaming during the biennium 2004-2005, and enjoin the Secretariat to continuously refine its organizational arrangements and procedures to foster gender mainstreaming in both the Regular and Field Programmes.