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IGAD Member States Get Enhanced Training on Gender Mainstreaming in the Economic Sector

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Gender Affairs conducted a Gender Mainstreaming Skills Training between 15thand 17th June 2016 at Golden Tulip Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The training was attended by experts and sectoral technical staff from Ministries of Finance, Infrastructure and Trade sectors as well as IGAD Foreign Ministry Focal Points from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda and Other participants included were IGAD staff from Economic Cooperation and Social Development Division and selected experts UNECA, UNDP and AUC.

The training funded by JFA/ISAP and facilitated by IGAD Gender Affairs UNECA and UNDP was focused on strengthening inclusivity in design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of economic policies, infrastructure development projects and trade policies in the region within the context of African Union Agenda 2063.

The AU Agenda 2063 is both a vision and an action plan to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united strong Africa based on shared values and a common destiny through political commitment by the States, full participation, engagement and ownership by all stakeholders such as women and youth in particular for collective prosperity.

For IGAD, gender is identified as one of the priority cross-cutting policy themes to be mainstreamed in all institutional instruments, programmes and undertakings at all levels for the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment considered a critical imperative for fostering resilience, regional integration and peace for sustainable development in the region.

During the Opening ceremony, on behalf of the Executive Secretary His Excellency Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, the Program Manager of Trade, Industry and Tourism highlighted the importance of the training for it illuminated the relevance of gender for economic policies and strategies, explored the links between gender and infrastructure in IGAD region, and tackled gender issues in trade, within the overall context of regional integration.

On behalf of the Bureau of the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission; Mrs. Elizabeth Atyang-Eilor, Gender Adviser commended IGAD for its efforts to bring together its Member States to address the issue of gender mainstreaming. She went on to request them to support these efforts because gender mainstreaming is key for the AU Agenda 2063 to become a reality by embracing existing cultures positively and enhance the skills of the youth and women in the region and continent.

This is critical for fulfilling global, regional and national commitments & normative standards on gender equality and women's empowerment as an integral component of AU Agenda 2063 and SDGs.

The main objective of the training was to build capacity of technical staff in Economic Cooperation and Social Development (ECSD) sectors to effectively mainstream gender in policies, plans and programmes.

The IGAD Secretariat Program Manager Gender Affairs Mr. Mubarak Mabuya highlighted the factors that contribute to increases in per capita GDP, the role gender equality plays in the process of stimulating economic growth and identified policy implications for Member States and Regional Bodies within the context of AU Agenda 2063.

The IGAD Member States shared their different experiences, agendas and strategies, challenges, lessons learnt and best practices on mainstreaming gender in the areas of economic management, infrastructure development (focusing on ICT, Transport, Energy) and trade reforms.

Challenges such as culture, gender role stereotypes, limited gender mainstreaming expertise, inadequate availability of gender and sex disaggregated data as well as low levels of funding were identified as constraints for effective gender mainstreaming in the focus sectors. Others challenges identified included unharmonized policies and plans as well weak accountability mechanisms on GEWE.

During the closing ceremony, the Director of Economic Cooperation and Social Development Mr. Elsadiq Abdalla pointed out that IGAD has continuously advocated and carried out interventions to promote gender equality and women's empowerment in Member States, in accordance with the IGAD mandate for development and economic transformation.

In addition to the skills and knowledge on gender mainstreaming acquired by participants, the team identified critical follow up actions for deepening gender mainstreaming in ECSD sectors which include; a) promoting gender budgeting; b) strengthening agency of women specifically promoting infrastructure, trade and macro economics; c) addressing stereotypical gender roles through education and training in science, technical engineering and mathematical fields;d) revision of policies, laws and regulations that eliminate legal and administrative barriers to women's involvement in infrastructure and trade for improved inclusivity; e) conducting a gender analysis of trade laws and policies; f) bridging of gaps in macro and micro linkages in trade; g) developing strategies to address specific challenges and constraints that women face in engaging in trade; h) building capacity of relevant national machinery to address gender and trade linkages as well as g) strengthening partnerships between IGAD and institutions like AUC, UNECA, UN Women and relevant units and departments at national level to name but a few.

Source: IGAD