The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to address the root causes of poverty, and underline the universal need for an inclusive and resilient development. Investing in gender equality and women’s empowerment in policies and programmes are pre-requisites for effective delivery of the SDGs.
The concept of ‘resilience’ is becoming increasingly utilized in development programming. It is commonly understood to encompass a broad-based multi-sectoral development that includes the many ways in which individuals (men and women, boys and girls) and livelihood systems mitigate, adapt, recover, and learn from shocks and stresses; the longer-term goal being to reduce vulnerability and increase well-being. In the context of development, ’resilience’ hence bridges humanitarian responses and longer-term development. The frequent exposure to multiple and interlinked resilience challenges, slows down development progress and threaten sustainability of programmatic interventions.
Despite recent positive economic trends, many countries in the African continent, particularly the Horn of Africa (HoA), are characterized by multiple and interlinked
resilience challenges, notably conflicts and climatic variations, resulting in social and economic drought, and forcing livelihoods to organize in a context of scarcity, scant resources and high degree of uncertainty. Market variability – such as dramatic increases in food staple prices and generally weak public institutions – further constrain the ability of poor, rural households to meet their basic needs.
The region is also threatened by conflicts and terrorism, further undermining livelihood security, agricultural production and economic growth as well as the health and psychosocial well-being of people.
Although shocks strike without discrimination, due to the lack of gender-integration in current development approaches and imbalanced access to resources and uneven division of responsibilities, the resilience of women and girls is particularly tested. In the context of general and chronic vulnerability, women and girls are often exposed to additional, gender-specific barriers, which exacerbate the challenges they already face.
There is need for a binary strategy that on the one hand strengthens women’s individual resilience and empowers women to claim their rights in development planning and programming, and on the other strengthens the capacities of Government and Partners to enhance community resilience in affected countries.
To focus on the role of women in building and strengthening resilience, promote dialogue and sharing of experiences on gender-responsive resilience, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in collaboration with key partners will host a Regional Sharefair on ‘Gender and Resilience’ aimed at discussing solutions that increases the resilience dividend.
The combined knowledge, expertise and skills will be utilized to diagnose women’s resilience needs, and upscale suitable innovative rural technologies in the HoA region.
- Strengthening Multi-stakeholder and Multi-sectoral Dialogue: Provide a one-time platform for bringing together governments, development partners, civil society, academic and research institutions and private sector to discuss and consult on the key issues, opportunities and barriers in promoting gender equality within the gender and resilience agenda.
- Expanding the Evidence Base: Gather, present and discuss existing, new and forthcoming research and knowledge regarding gender equality and resilience includingevidence that women’s empowerment is a critical strategy to building resilience and the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
- Promoting Solution Oriented South-South Collaboration: Showcasing and sharing good practices of gender-sensitive resilience-related policies, interventions and development models that can be adapted and scaled up. Within the international frameworks, explore the local specificity for a more effective national implementation.
- Uniting Women in building resilience: Provide and create a durable network/ platform to link women’s associations and groups from across the region and build women’s transformational leadership in resilience.
- Joint Theory of Change: The established multi-stakeholder platform will inform the development of a Theory of Change that, based on a solid body of evidence, will ensure the Sharefair comes up with a clear preposition on the key role of women in building resilience and then in accelerating implementation of SDGs.
- Framework/roadmap for programmatic and policies actions to upscale gender-sensitive resilience solutions: the platform will create an opportunity for actions to amplify resilience solutions and create sustainable change beyond the Sharefair within the SDGs implementation framework.