Saturday, March 15, 2008

EU/UN gender programme launched

EU/UN gender programme launched

Daily Graphic, Saturday, March 15, 2008. Page 24 (News)

Rebecca Quaicoe Duho

A European Union (EU)/ United Nations (UN) Partnership on Gender Equality for Development and Peace has been launched with a call on the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) to collect a comprehensive data along gender lines for development purposes. A comprehensive approach to data collection is said to be crucial to a sustainable and equitable economic growth and human development in the country.

The Chief Advisor to the President, Mrs Mary Chinery-Hesse, who made the call at the launch in Accra on Wednesday, said such data was the surest way to systematically obtain useful information for the formulation of people-centred, gender sensitive public policy.

The EU/UN partnership project, which would be implemented by UNIFEM with support from the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisations and the Ministry of Women and Children affairs, is aimed at supporting the integration of gender equality as a key driver of development in the country. The occasion was also used to begin a Nation Consultation on mapping Study on Aid Effectiveness and Gender Equality in Ghana.

The EU/UN partnership aims to identify approaches with which to integrate gender equality and women’s human right into new aid modalities, in accordance with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness adopted in March 2, 2005.

The declaration is an international agreement to which ministers, heads of agencies and other senior officials adhered and committed their countries and organisations to continue to increase efforts in harmonisation, alignment and managing aid for results with a set of monitorable actions and indicators.

Mrs Chinery-Hesse said, “as we pursue the strategy of gender mainstreaming, we should recognise that especially in Africa, these should still be space to accommodate interventions that specifically target women’s needs, concerns and perspectives.” This she said, could be achieved with high impact gender specific initiatives as a complement, with the ultimate objective of mainstreaming these activities at a later time.

In this way, she said, “we would eliminate the risk of women’s needs being lost in the mainstream when conditions are not ripe for them to compete on the same footing as men.”

She said the importance of collecting and disseminating statistical information in respect of gender issues was crucial to planning and evaluation, adding that data assumed meaning and usefulness for this purpose if there is disaggregation along gender lines.

The Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Prof. George Gyan-Baffour, said the government would continue to show commitment toward addressing gender equality and equity issues as reflected in the GPRS II. He said the national budget statement and the economic policy of government had shown strong commitment towards addressing gender equality and equity issues.

The Head of Delegation of the European Commission to Ghana, Mr. Filberto Ceriani Sebregondi, said the EU believed that investments in gender equality was fundamental to the effectiveness of development assistance and, therefore, it was contributing a total of 2.5 million euros, which was part of the total cost of 4.7 million euro partnership programmes.

He said the European Commission had committed to channel 50 per cent of government to government assistance through national planning and budgeting frameworks, adding that for the EC, general and sectoral budget support would increasingly become the preferred mode of aid delivery. He said the partnership programme would support the integration of gender equality as a key driver of development in the context of aid effectiveness.

The National Programme Coordinator of UNIFEM, Ms Afua Ansre, said the project would be focused on 12 pilot countries, namely Ghana, Cameroun, Ethiopia, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Papau New Guinea and Indonesia. The rest are Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Nicaragua, Hondarus and Surinam.

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