SPECA Working Group

Ewa Ruminska-Zimny (UNECE director) and Dono Abdurazakova (UNDP director)

2005-12-15 16:27:59 / News read 2658 reading

Women have direct interest in solving development problems through closer economic cooperation under the UN Special Programme for Central Asia (SPECA). These problems undermine progress and impoverish their families and communities. Women represent, however also, an untapped potential to be used to accelerate growth and development in the region.

To maximize development opportunities from SPECA, the International Conference on strengthening sub-regional cooperation and the future role of SPECA (Astana, May 2005) took the decision to consider establishing a new Working Group on Gender and Economy.

The main purpose of the two days meeting that took place in Geneva between 8-9.XII.2005 was to stimulate a discussion on the mandate and work programme of this group. It looks at gender “links” to core areas of SPECA activities in the context of current situation and policy challenges -- creating new jobs and pro-poor growth strategy, addressing problems of rural population, mobilizing human capital, inherited from the past which includes often unique expertise and scientific capacity. And argues that that taking a gender perspective in addressing these challenges makes good economic sense.

Mainstreaming gender into SPECA, a programme supported by UNECE and UNESCAP, draws on the outcome of the World Summit (New York, September 2005) and the 10-Year Review of the Beijing process at global (New York, March 2005) and regional levels (Geneva, December 2004).

The Network of East - West Women was invited to share the experiences of Gender Budgeting on local level as well as the idea of the Women's Economy Institute that is going to start in spring in CEE/CIS countries and could be duplicated in Asia.


Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room IX, starting on Thursday, 8 December at 10 a.m.

1. Opening of the meeting
2. Adoption of the agenda and organization of work
3. Election of officers
4. Women and the economy: country perspective
(a) Access to land and assets
(b) Employability
(c) Public expenditure and social protection
(d) Emerging issues

5. Institutional mechanisms and tools to promote gender equality in the economy

6. Regional cooperation under SPECA and international support

7. Proposal for the terms of reference (TOR), the work programme for 2006-2007 and Chairs

8. Chairperson’s conclusions

Item 1: Opening of the session
The Officer-in-Charge of UNECE delivers the opening speech. A welcome address also is delivered by a representative of UNESCAP. Brief introductory remarks are made by the UNECE Gender Focal Point.

Item 2: Adoption of the agenda and organization of work
The meeting is invited to adopt its agenda. Information is provided on the organization of work.

Item 3: Election of officers
Delegates are invited to elect a chair of the meeting and also chairs of sessions.

Item 4: Women and the economy: country perspective
National presentations are followed by a discussion to identify themes where a regional approach would facilitate progress at national level. The following broad areas are discussed: (a) access to land and other assets, including rights to land; (b) employability, including self-employment and entrepreneurship, work in the informal sector; (c) public expenditure and social security including pensions; and (d) emerging issues, including ICT. This agenda item is discussed in the context of the outcome of the Beijing +10 regional review (Geneva, December 2004) and 2005 World Summit (New York, September 2005).

Documentation: National reports prepared by country delegations.

Item 5: Institutional mechanisms and tools to promote gender equality in the economy
Under this agenda item the meeting discusses good practices in building partnership and dialogue with economic line ministries and tools for mainstreaming gender into economic activities and policies (such as gender economic indicators, gender budgets). Mainstreaming gender into Poverty Reduction Strategies and/or MDG strategies are discussed.

Documentation: Conference Room Paper on Institutional mechanisms to promote gender equality in economies of SPECA member countries, Secretariat paper prepared in cooperation with UNDP, UNIFEM and OSCE/ODIHR (CRP.1)

Item 6: Regional cooperation under SPECA and international support
The meeting discusses the advantages of regional cooperation under SPECA in the context of synergies and possibilities for mainstreaming gender concerns into other areas of SPECA work. Lessons from international support programmes are discussed to promote existing good practices and identify complementarities among international support programmes in the gender and economy area in the SPECA region.

Documentation: Conference room paper prepared by the UNECE secretariat. (CRP.2)

Item 7: Proposal for TORs, the work programme for 2006-2007 and Chairs
The meeting discusses a proposal for the terms of reference, the work programme for a new SPECA Working Group on Gender and Economy and the Chairs. The discussion is based on proposals presented at the Round Table of the International High-level SPECA Conference, Astana, May 2005 and follow-up discussions with countries, bilateral donors and international organizations. The proposal is presented for the approval of the next meeting of SPECA Governing Council.

Item 8: Chairperson’s conclusions

: Zofia Lapniewska, participant of the meeting, on the basis of received materials

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