Five Ways to Strengthen Gender Mainstreaming in Humanitarian Action: An inter-agency proposal for action (affiliated with the Cluster Appeal) (October 2006)
For more than a decade, the international community has recognized that an effective humanitarian response must address the needs and concerns of women, girls, boys and men equally, right from the very first phase while taking into account their different positions and access to power and resources. The Security Council, ECOSOC, and the Interagency Standing Committee have all called on humanitarian actors to mainstream a gender perspective into all humanitarian programmes. There have been a number of initiatives, including development of policies, ad hoc training programmes, establishment of gender focal points systems, and development of a variety of tools to strengthen the humanitarian community’s ability to recognize that women, girls, boys and men have different needs and capacities, and that responses need to be tailored to address these equally. The impact of these initiatives seems to have made little difference. Recent humanitarian evaluations (Tsunami, Pakistan Earthquake and Darfur) have determined that gender equality issues were neglected, to the detriment of the recovery effort.
Since 1999, the IASC’s Taskforce on Gender in Humanitarian Assistance has worked to strengthen gender mainstreaming in emergencies. While individual humanitarian actors have made major strides on policy development and operational strategies, the impact of the inter-agency forum has however been limited. This Proposal for Action represents a coordinated and cohesive strategic plan to strengthen gender mainstreaming in emergencies by key humanitarian actors under the auspice of the IASC Gender Taskforce.
The proposal is a result of comprehensive review of what exists and the gaps that remain. Five interwoven and complementary initiatives are proposed for action. These are:
- Developing gender equality standards in a field-friendly handbook.
- Ensuring gender expertise in emergencies.
- Building capacity of humanitarian actors on gender issues.
- Getting the right data – using sex and age disaggregated data for decision-making.
- Building partnerships for increased and more predictable gender equality programming in crises.
This funding appeal is meant to complement the IASC CAP Appeal for Improving Humanitarian Response Capacity for approximately $40 million launched in March 2006 requesting support for cluster strengthening. Support for gender as a cross-cutting issue to be mainstreamed in all clusters was left out of the March appeal. In future appeals for strengthening the cluster approach efforts will be made to include requests for support for actors mainstreaming gender issues.
This funding appeal seeks $2.87 million for one-year for six implementing agencies.