UNDP Mongolia (Nadia Taher)
In 2006 Nadia Taher undertook a mission for UNDP Mongolia to contribute to the setting up of a gender mainstream strategy.
During her first visit in October 2006, Nadia Taher carried out an interest/needs assessment as a first phase of a one year project initiated by the Governance Cluster of UNDP Mongolia to formulate and implement a gender mainstreaming strategy. The needs/interest assessment included interviews with selected UNDP staff from the three programmatic clusters of Governance, Poverty and the Environment; UNDP operations staff; key staff in other UN agencies; with government officials; members of NGOs and activists groups. The interviews were guided by a well tested methodology that applies at its core a conceptual tool, “The Web of Institutionalisation”, used to examine the extent to which gender has been institutionalised in the interaction between the state, the market and civil society at national, local or programme levels. To facilitate the consultative strategy development process, this tool was shared with UNDP staff members. This was an opportunity to use the ‘web’ to report on the main finding of the mission, and to share and discuss possible first steps of a gender mainstreaming strategy for UNDP.
Key issues that came out of the first phase were that some interviewees were concerned that Mongolia’s transition to the market economy has not paid off. There are those who maintained that while there might have been gains in terms of democratic reforms and different kinds of freedom, there are other areas where there have been losses. Among these losses, as argued by some, is the increase in disparities among Mongolians, whether in geographic terms such as between pastoral, rural and urban areas; in class terms with losses in livelihood and employment for many along with the accumulation of riches in the hand of the few; or in gender terms as disparities grow between women and men, girls and boys, mostly to the determinant of women. To what degree this is actually the case and in what way this is manifested needs deeper analysis and research which UNDP staff are considering as part of the gender mainstreaming activities.
It was therefore proposed that the next phases of the programme will include capacity building of researchers; capacity building of UNDP staff and their counterparts; and piloting the implementation of gender mainstreaming in on-going projects. This will then result in the finalisation of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy and putting into motion its full implementation.