The objective of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is to combat desertification and land degradation and to mitigate the effects of drought in affected countries around the world, particularly in Africa, through effective action at all levels. Established in 1994, the UNCCD is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management.
In 2017, by decision 30/COP.13, Parties to the UNCCD adopted the Gender Action Plan (GAP)1 recognizing that all aspects of the Convention have gender dimensions and calling for further mainstreaming of gender equality into policies and activities addressing desertification/land degradation and drought (DLDD), notably in the context of the UNCCD 2018−2030 Strategic Framework. In 2018, the UNCCD secretariat joined the UN System-wide Action Plan (UN-SWAP) for Mainstreaming Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, which defines commonly agreed standards and coordinated approaches for the UN system to reach its gender mainstreaming goals and to measure progress systematically. The UNCCD GAP and the UN-SWAP provide the overall objectives and general principles for integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment into the work of the Convention secretariat and the Global Mechanism (GM), and for supporting Parties to advance gender mainstreaming at the national level. With the aim to ensure effective implementation toward the objectives of the GAP, in line with the principles of the UN-SWAP, the secretariat and the GM are currently checking whether their capacities, policies and practices are adequate to support the inclusion of gender equality in their activities. A survey on internal capacity for gender mainstreaming was recently carried out, and a gender audit will be conducted in the coming weeks. These two activities are meant to assess the extent to which the UNCCD staff has the capacity to recognize and bring forth gender issues in their work, and to clarify how gender equality is currently taken into account in the planning, policies, programs, structure and processes as well as the budget of the secretariat and the GM. They will also identify related gaps and challenges.
The first UN-SWAP Performance Indicator requests each participating entity to have an: “Up to date gender equality policy, including gender mainstreaming and the equal representation of women, policies and plans implemented”, which is yet to be prepared for the UNCCD secretariat, covering also the GM. The results of the gender capacity assessment and the gender audit will provide the starting point for the development of such policy. For ensuring that the policy will be operational and achieve what it plans to achieve, also an implementation plan including accountability for follow-up, timelines, resources, and capacity development, will be developed as part of the policy. This corporate gender policy will be aligned with the UN-SWAP and established through a participatory internal process that will be supported by an external expert as a consultancy. The terms of reference for that consultancy are outlined in this document. Gender equality is universally recognized through the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination against Women as a human right, and ensuring this right is the primary purpose of gender policies in the UN system, including that of the UNCCD. The development of the UNCCD corporate gender policy will focus on supporting more effective operations of the secretariat and the GM through enhanced gender mainstreaming.
More specifically, the development of the UNCCD corporate gender policy will seek to - Identify clear outcomes – including a brief results framework and implementation plan –related to the actions on the secretariat and the GM in the field of advancing gender equality;
- Translate gender-related objectives into practical approaches to be used across the work of the secretariat and the GM;
- Define the institutional mechanisms and processes needed for the implementation of the gender policy, which may include corporate approaches and procedures, capacity development, knowledge building, communication, partnerships, and monitoring and evaluation;
- Improve the capacity of the secretariat and the GM staff to engage in, and be accountable for, applying the principles and practice of gender equality in their work
The development of the UNCCD corporate gender policy will include the establishment of a detailed, scheduled and budgeted implementation plan.