Author/Editor(s): Michele Burger (editor)
Women’s participation in governance, whether in time of peace or war, continues to be limited, yet it remains a top priority and a critical element for achieving gender equality. Only when women have full access to decision-making positions will laws, policies, and budgets reflect the needs of all citizens and support women’s rights.
World leaders meeting at the World Social Summit (2005) agreed that promoting increased women’s representation in government decision-making bodies is essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. These leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), which was established in July 2005. The purpose of the Fund is to promote democracy by providing assistance for projects that consolidate and strengthen democratic institutions and facilitate democratic governance.
In 2006, UNDEF awarded US$36 million to 125 projects, ten of which are being executed by UNIFEM in Argentina, Cambodia, Ecuador, Haiti, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria and the occupied Palestinian territories; a Great Lakes Regional project in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania; and a project implemented by Inter Press Service International in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Swaziland. They have all gone through the first year of implementation (2007-2008).
A common factor among the projects is the creation of an enabling environment that provides an opportunity for women to participate in reform policies, agendas and decentralization processes. Many of the countries involved have or will hold elections sometime between 2006 and 2009, and in several countries, women have run for office.
This document describes initial results of these projects.