In the last few years, the Government of Papua New Guinea made significant progress through its commitments and actions to advance gender equality and women’s rights. This showed promising moves towards realization of its commitments for equality for all its citizens as enshrined by its National Constitution and international standards and norms.
These commitments have been operationalised through the National Policy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 2011-2015,which focuses on the 3 main components; Women Equality and Representation; Women Economic Empowerment; and Gender Based Violence and Vulnerability.
UNDP and other UN agencies, with financial assistance from AusAID have been playing a significant role in supporting the government on various fronts to further these efforts. These agencies have been working closely with the three women machineries i.e. Office for the Development of Women (ODW), DFCD Gender Unit, and National Council of Women (NCD).
UNDP’s Gender portfolio covers two major areas:1) Support to Women participation and representation in decision making at national and sub national levels and; 2) Support to initiatives addressing Gender Based Violence.
A. Women in Leadership/Politics
In this area, UNDP’s support is focusses primarily on promoting initiatives where women, men, boy and girls have equal opportunities to access resources, rights and decision-making processes through equal participation and benefits from the economic, social and political development of PNG.
UNDP’s support to advancing women representation in decision making processes in Papua New Guinea generated significant outcomes over the past years.With theEquality and Participation Bill (whereUNDP particularly played a critical role in terms of drafting) yet to pass through reading on the floor of Parliament, women machineries, networks, relevant government departments (Office for the Development of Women) accelerated initiatives to prepare women to run for open seats. These initiatives ranged from high-level dialogues and consultations with Ministers, Members of Parliament, to targeted and tailored trainings (such as Practice Parliament Training for Women Candidates), media engagement and support; etc.
As a result of these initiatives, PNG has (for the first time since in early 1980S experienced:
1) a 300% increase of elected women in the national Parliament (3 women elected compared to 1 in the 8th Parliament);
2) an increased level of awareness on the capacity of women candidates throughout PNG, including at local level;
3) Increased level of engagement of political parties with women after they parties got ‘awakened’ to the increased value women could add into parties, and at least 10 parties nominated women candidates to run for the national elections. Following the national elections, the national momentum gained from above initiatives extended to upcoming subnational/ local level elections due in June 2013, In this regard, the government, political parties, and development partners agreed to further support women representation in upcoming local level government elections
B. Gender Based Violence
This is part of UNDP’s Country Programme 2012-2015 in support of the implementation of Papua New Guinea’s Policy for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 2011-2015.UNDP’s work in this area focuses on three major components i.e.
1. Supporting the capacity development initiatives of law enforcement agents (particularly the police) to have improved practices in addressing Gender based violence. In this area, Police Barracks Commanders, Chaplains and Social Welfare Officers benefited from a number of trainings and assessments and planning sessions- NOTE UNDP was a strong player in conducting the Country Gender Assessment; Development of a curriculum for training of NGOs, service providers and networks working on GBV is ongoing.
2. Promoting initiatives aimed at availing evidence on the prevalence, effects of Gender based violence in PNG; for instance, UNDP is currently conducting a study in Bougainville on the prevalence of GBV and attitudes/role of men and boys in addressing GBV; Recently, UNDP supported NACS to finalised a GBV/HIV Readiness Assessment for Health and Justice service providers, report will be released soon
3. With support from AusAID, UNDP is planning to complement its work on GBV with another programme “HAMAMAS FAMILIS PROGRAM (Happy families)”that seeks to establish evidence regarding the nature, extent and effects of Family and Sexual Violence in all the 22 provinces in Papua New Guinea. The program has a strong capacity development component
UNDP has continued to avail evidence, through studies and research on the extent, causes, and effects of Gender Based Violence. For instance, in 2012 UNDP in partnership with National Statistics Office completed a study on the involvement of men and boys in addressing GBV in Bougainville. The study focused on understanding the causes and effects of GBV in selected communities, as well as exploring entry points to scaling up prevention and response to GBV victims, with men and boys involvement. The implementation of findings from these assessments and studies is underway
From the service provider point of view, UNDP has brokered discussions with law enforcement, judiciary and health service providers on a number of issues and strategies to scale up service delivery to GBV victims. This “readiness assessment” of service providers, also looking at HIV services is critical to address constraints in service delivery and provide much needed assistance to victims.
||Budget $USD4500 000 (2012-2015)
||Department for Community Development, Development of Women, National Council of Women
||UNDP, UN Gender Task Team, Civil Society, Bilateral Agencies
Partnership:UNDP has maintained its partnership with AusAID in a number of thematic areas including HIV, Environment and Climate Change and Governance. Further, UNDP works through the UN Gender Task Team to support the implementation of government priorities on gender. This support is channeled through the DFCD, ODW, NCW, NSO, ABG, FSVAC, Police, NACS and National Department for Planning Monitoring as main key leading national players
In addition, UNDP has been partnering with other agencies especially on its work on Women in Politics/Leadership such as:Centre for Democratic Institution (CDI):which recently concluded a number of support activities for anticipated women candidates in the four regions; National Democratic Institute (NDI) focusing on political party strengthening, particularly on the role of women
Support to Women in Leadership/Politics:
2013 LLG Elections: UNDP continues to support women who will be running for LLG elections in July 2013. The support includes the three major components that we have provided for women candidates running for open seats and governor’s seats for 2012 national elections (Advocacy, Media packages, Practice Parliament Trainings)
Equality and Participation Bill: Work in this area has not been completed until the Bill has been operationalised. Women in PNG still need affirmative action-Temporally measures to participate in political and national level decision making. This is one of the temporally measures that need to be auctioned. UNDP will be working with upcoming government and new parliament to ensure that this bill is passed
Parliamentary Institutional Strengthening: This will be one of the activities to be taken up by UNDP/UN in collaboration with other development partners such as CDI and NDI. Activities in this area will focus on orientation of new Members of Parliament (Including Women MPs) with specific trainings on parliamentary procedures and protocols; Support to parliamentary committees on various issues to effectively deliver on their mandates; support the establishment of parliamentary gender caucus to further initiatives and policy dialogues on gender and women empowerment
Support to Political Parties: This will primarily focus on gender mainstreaming as an entry point to strengthening political parties. This is an area that has not been picked up yet it provides more opportunities for women to participate in political fronts. UNDP plans to closely partner with Registrar of Political Parties and Integrity Commission, CDI and NDI in furthering this area.