The Working Party on Women and the Family in Rural Development (WPW) has been a statutory body of the FAO European Commission on Agriculture (ECA) since its establishment in 1965, with the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia providing the Secretariat functions. The WPW counts on the support of all FAO member countries in Europe and Central Asia, through key national stakeholders working on gender and rural development, such as the ministries of agriculture and rural development; in addition, the WPW partnership includes NGOs, academic and research institutes and other UN agencies. Independent gender experts are occasionally contracted to assist the technical work related to the recommendations of the WPW.
Through its annual Expert Meetings and formal biennial Sessions, the WPW provides a neutral forum for discussions on gender equality in the agricultural and rural sector in the Region to:
• exchange information and experience with a view to promote the recognition of the role of women in agriculture and rural development;
• undertake joint research and actions towards the integration of rural women in development;
• formulate regional and national policy recommendations in the field of rural gender mainstreaming, equity and equality;
• cooperate with relevant institutions and agencies to maximize efforts dedicated to gender mainstreaming.
The WPW Sessions review and adopt the recommendations of the Expert Meetings, which are then presented to FAO and to the member countries at the Regional Conference for Europe (which takes place once every two years). Thus, the WPW acts as an advisory body to both FAO and the member countries in bringing to their attention current main gender issues in the agriculture and rural sector, in order to formulate appropriate national responses and policies.
The WPW Sessions and Expert Meetings are open to all member countries of the Europe and Central Asia region. The delegates and experts are nominated by their respective governments following an invitation from the WPW Secretariat.
Participation by other UN, international and regional organizations, Civil society, NGOs, research institutes and academia, are, of course, greatly welcomed and encouraged.
For further information on participation in upcoming events, please contact the WPW Secretariat.