Different UN agencies have committed themselves to mainstreaming gender in their programmes and structures. Gender is a crosscutting issue in the UN Reform process, and accordingly the UN Country Team (UNCT) in Armenia is resolved to mainstream gender in its activities. A gender-responsive programming and implementation of UNDAF implies a continued need for the Country Team to develop and tap into expertise and technical support of a dedicated gender team.
In the second UNDAF for Armenia (2010-2015) gender equality is mentioned in about a quarter of the outputs and seek to address gender in a substantive way, and there are specifically two agency outputs on increasing national and local capacities to ensure gender equality and the empowerment of women, and to combat violence against women. A first step has been made by individual agencies that have a designated gender officer or gender focal point.
The proposed Theme Group will be a forum for further developing capacities across the Country Team, providing technical support to agencies, the Resident Coordinator, single issue theme groups, and the various coordination groups of the UNCT in Armenia.
As the OSCE also attaches great importance to gender issues, as demonstrated in its Gender Action Plan and gender mainstreaming activities throughout its three dimensions, the Theme Group will also assist the OSCE Office in Yerevan to further deepen its own work of gender mainstreaming and to provide support for its gender activities in Armenia, including the economic and political empowerment of women and the implementation of Armenia’s gender-related legislation promoting awareness and action against discrimination, gender based violence and sexual harassment.
The Theme Group will provide leadership towards systematically and effectively addressing gender perspectives in the context of the UN’s assistance, OSCE and other development partners’ programmes in Armenia, particularly within the context of the MDGs. It will be an instrument for dialogue and the development of common strategies, programmes and action plans in appropriate circumstances. The Theme Group will be a forum for the UN system and the OSCE to interact with other development actors, including donor agencies, government and NGOs, committed to gender responsiveness in development practice.
The purpose of the Gender Theme Group is to promote and support the mainstreaming of gender as a crosscutting issue in development agenda of Armenia, development partners’ activities and joint programming, to track gender equality throughout assistance frameworks to promote a deeper understanding and commitment to gender-responsive development programming, to advocate for creating enabling environment, as well as to create a venue for regular sharing of information, experience and tools and experience on implementing gender equality.