Online Discussion on Gender-Equitable Local Development

Event Type: Online Discussion

Date: 03.09.09 – 21.09.09

Location: International


UNIFEM is pleased to announce the launch of an online discussion on Gender-Equitable Local Development, organized jointly by UNIFEM and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The outcome of this e-discussion will contribute to the development of a conceptual framework, guiding the implementation of a joint programme in Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. Contributions are welcome in English, Spanish and French.

The GELD Programme

In 2008, UNCDF, UNIFEM and UNDP initiated a joint programme in support of Gender Equitable Local Development (GELD) in five African countries (Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania). The programme seeks to improve women’s access to resources and services at the local level, through ensuring gender-responsive planning, programming and budgeting. The three-year programme, launched in September 2008, is implemented by UNCDF and UNIFEM with funding from the Belgian government.

In preparation for the launch of the programme, preliminary research was carried out in the five programme countries to examine decentralization processes from a gender perspective and identify entry points. Findings pointed to gaps in implementation of national gender commitments at local level and to inadequate responses to gender equality priorities in budget allocations.

The research highlighted a range of challenges that exclude women from accessing services and resources at the local level and inhibit the achievement of gender-equitable local development. The studies further highlighted the fact that fiscal, political and administrative decentralization processes in all five countries are in their early stages. They indicated the absence of technical and institutional capacity in local governing bodies in the areas of gender planning, budgeting and monitoring and evaluation. The five country studies finally pointed to barriers to the participation of local women’s groups in budget decision-making processes.

To address those challenges, UNIFEM and UNCDF have commissioned a conceptual framework that will guide the implementation of the programme and support the achievement of results at the local level. The conceptual framework has the following objectives:

  • Identify the key requirements for Gender-Equitable Local Development
  • Provide an analytical framework for assessing local planning, budgeting, service delivery and monitoring from a gender perspective
  • Articulate ways to integrate those requirements in technical assistance to local authorities
  • Identify a set of parameters that will inform the programme’s evaluation framework

Objectives of the Online Discussion

As part of the process for developing the conceptual framework, UNIFEM is launching an online discussion on Gender-Equitable Local Development, to garner the views and experiences of development practitioners in supporting initiatives geared towards improving women’s access to resources and services and fostering gender-responsive planning, programming and budgeting at the local level, and particularly in poor rural and peri-urban areas. The e-discussion also seeks to trigger a debate over the factors (policy, institutional and financial frameworks) that determine the effectiveness and gender-responsiveness of local governance within a human rights framework.

To achieve these objectives, the e-discussion will raise two sets of questions that will be debated in two phases. The first phase will run from 3-12 September and the second phase from 12-21 September 2009.


Participants to the discussion will include development practitioners, local government councilors and staff, gender advocates, local governance experts, GRB experts, civil society organizations, academia, UN staff and government and non-government partners. The views and recommendations that emerge from the discussion will be an important contribution to the GELD conceptual framework, which will be presented and discussed at the programme inception workshop to be held in Johannesburg (South Africa) on 29 September to 1 October 2009.

To participate in the e-discussion, please send your responses to unifem-gb@groups.undp.org. To allow broad participation to this conversation, we welcome contributions in English, French and Spanish. The interim remarks and final summary of the discussion will also be made available in the three languages. We look forward to a productive, constructive and insightful discussion, which observes the rules of courtesy and respect for different standpoints.


The discussion will be hosted on the GRB listserv and moderated by Ms. Nalini Burn, international GRB expert who has also been tasked with the development of the conceptual framework for the GELD programme. In addition to providing guidance and clarifications for the entire duration of the e-discussion, Nalini will offer interim remarks at the halfway point and a final summary of the contributions to wrap-up the discussion.

Nalini Burn is an economist and sociologist by training. She has over the last seven years gradually specialized in gender-responsive budgeting (GRB), taking a broader view of GRB as encompassing policy, planning, budgeting and monitoring, and a key entry point for engendering macroeconomic frameworks. A particular focus of her work is the intersection of poverty and exclusion with gender inequality and the deficits related to women’s empowerment. She has worked as a consultant since 1996 for a number of UN organizations, in particular UNIFEM, as well as UNDP, UNICEF, the African Centre for Gender and Development of the Economic Commission for Africa and also for the World Bank.

Sponsored by: UNIFEM, UNCDF

Ms. Nalini Burn