Seventeenth Session

Rome, 31 March-4 April 2003

Gender and Development Plan of Action

Table of Contents


1. In November 2001, the FAO Conference endorsed a new corporate Gender and Development Plan of Action (GAD-PoA) for 2002-2007. It constitutes FAO’s main policy instrument for follow-up to the Beijing Platform for Action and the Beijing +5 review, as well as the 1996 World Food Summit Plan of Action. The GAD-PoA aims at promoting gender equality in access to food, to productive resources, to support services, to decision-making at all levels, and in on- and off-farm employment opportunities.

I. Institutional Mechanisms

2. The Gender and Population Division (SDW) of the Sustainable Development Department serves as FAO’s corporate focal point for catalysing and supporting gender mainstreaming in FAO’s technical work in collaboration with other divisions.

3. A corporate network of focal points for gender mainstreaming has been established. This network, together with SDW, forms the interdivisional mechanism for the Gender PAIA, one of 16 Priority Areas for Interdisciplinary Action (PAIA) endorsed in the corporate Medium-Term Plan (MTP).

II. Strategies for Supporting Gender Mainstreaming in FAO Member Nations

4. The new GAD-PoA is an effort to realign concepts and approaches with the gender mainstreaming approach widely adopted in the UN system. It is based on corporate commitments and priorities as reflected in the Strategic Framework 2000-2015, the MTP and in other major documents such as the WFS:fyl Declaration. In FAO’s support to Member Nations, the GAD-PoA highlights the following:

III. Strategies for Supporting Institutionalisation of Gender Mainstreaming within FAO

5. Gender awareness and gender analysis skills development: Building the skills of FAO’s own staff for mainstreaming gender in their work is one of the key objectives of the new GAD-PoA. For this purpose, SDW and the staff development and training unit of the Human Resources Division have been collaborating in two ways: first, the entire corporate Project Cycle course was reviewed and elements of SEAGA incorporated in each module; and second, a comprehensive and budgeted work plan was developed for systematic training of staff in regional offices in gender analysis, as well as tailor-made division-by-division seminars. SDW also organizes special training and briefings for the network of gender focal points.

6. Networking and information sharing: An internal electronic newsletter for sharing information about gender-related activities and events initiated by various units, to foster learning and stimulate peer “competition”, was launched in October 2002. A briefing session was organized for the focal points on Gender and Information on how and where to find existing information and resources to support them in their task. Similar half-day or one-day briefing sessions are being planned on Gender-disaggregated data and information (GDD), and on Gender-sensitive indicators (GSIs) for natural resources management.

7. Internal Advocacy activities: SDW regularly organizes seminars for staff, jointly with other technical units, such as on the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD) each year, or in connection with the regular sessions of FAO’s technical committees. For IWD 2002, a seminar was organized with the Land and Water Division and the Land Tenure Service of the Rural Development Division on Gender and Land Tenure and Land Use. For IWD 2003, a similar seminar on Gender and Water is being planned, in the context of the International Year of Freshwater. 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, and the Research, Training, Education and Extension Division.

8. Building a supportive constituency among Member Nations and other partners is also an integral part of the strategy. To that end, extensive contacts and collaboration are maintained with NGOs/CSOs and the Rome-based representatives of INGOs. SDW staff members regularly participate in, and make presentations at, World Congresses and Executive Board/Council meetings of the larger INGOs accredited to FAO, and their representatives are invited to events organized by the Division. In June 2002, during the WFS:fyl, SDW organized a well-attended half-day side-event on Rural Women – Crucial partners in the fight against hunger and poverty.

9. Mainstreaming gender in regular programming and reporting: A key element of the strategy to institutionalise gender mainstreaming within FAO is the close linkage between the GAD-PoA and the corporate MTP. Three objectives are pursued: first, to make consideration of gender an automatic element of the strategic guidance provided by the Office of Programme, Budget and Evaluation to all senior managers for preparing the MTP and the biennial Programme of Work and Budget; second, to ensure that gender commitments are reviewed and updated in the regular roll-over of the MTP every two years; and third, to ensure that the regular reports to governing bodies on programme implementation and evaluation also address the fulfilment of the gender-related commitments undertaken under the MTP/GAD-PoA.