Gender inequality renders aid ineffective, UN agency says

2 September 2008

Governments and aid donor partners need to make greater efforts in tackling gender inequality if they are to successfully combat global poverty, the United Nations and the European Commission (EC) stressed today at a high-level forum in Accra, Ghana.

“Over a billion women worldwide continue to be trapped in poverty,” the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Director, Inés Alberdi, told the 3rd High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness.

“Where women can’t thrive, national development strategies and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals [MDG] are in jeopardy. There can be no aid effectiveness without a focus on gender equality.”

Including women’s ministries and gender equality advocates in national development and aid delivery planning increases the effectiveness of aid assistance, according to UNIFEM, the EC and the UN International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC/ILO).

Gender-responsive budgeting, which UNIFEM has supported in some 40 countries, at times with the EC, has been effective in ensuring aid resources benefit women’s development needs.

“Today, we know how important the role of women is in society, to health, nutrition and education of children, to economic growth and the development of a country,” said the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel.

“[This] Forum on Aid Effectiveness offers a unique opportunity for governments and donors to come together and commit to accelerate achievements in gender equality. This opportunity is not to be missed,” he added.

The EC/UN Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace programme also urged governments and donors to further ensure that gender equality advocates are part of the entire development planning, programming, budgeting and monitoring process.

Developing countries and donor partners today started the three-day meeting of the forum, reviewing progress towards the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, signed by 100 donors and governments in March 2005.


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