The EUI ranks second out of DAC donors when it comes to total bilateral allocable funding for projects related to gender equality.
However, its prioritization of gender-related projects is low compared to other donors, putting it in 16th place in relative terms.
The EUI’s consistency in using the OECD gender policy marker has fluctuated in recent years: although all bilateral allocable ODA was screened against the marker in 2016 and 2017, at least one-fifth was not screened between 2018 and 2021 (26% in 2021).
The EUI’s funding for projects related to gender equality has been increasing 32% in 2017 to 38% in 2021.But it remains far from their target, which is for 85% of all new actions related to external relations to contribute to gender equality and women's empowerment by 2025.
Increases in gender equality-related funding have been driven mainly by support for projects that included gender as a significant rather than principal focus. However, despite the EUI’s low share of principal funding for gender equality (4% in 2021), the EUI still ranks first among DAC donors when considering absolute spending on projects with a principal gender focus given their large volume of ODA overall.
The EUI’s projects in the government and civil society, agriculture, and health sectors had the largest gender equality focus in 2021. These sectors received 19%, 12%, and 12% of the EUI’s gender equality-related ODA in 2021, respectively.
In September 2022, the EU pledged US$45 million to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership to support women’s and girls’ SRHR.
EUI have been increasing its policy emphasis on gender equality. In 2019, EC President von der Leyen announced in her political guidelines that building a ‘Union of Equality’ was one of the EC’s major priorities.
EUI gender funding is guided by a number of strategies:
- European Gender Equality Strategy for 2020-2025): This strategy is mostly focused on gender equality in the EU but includes targeted measures to achieve gender equality through development cooperation, EU trade policy, and advocacy in international fora.
- GAP III: This five-pillar strategy was put forward by the EC and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in November 2020.
- ‘European Consensus on Development’ and the EU Global Strategy guide DG INTPA’s gender equality work. These documents identify equality and women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting issue for all EU policies and set out priorities including empowering women and girls, ending violence against women, and girls, and ending harmful practices.
GAP III is based on five pillars:
- Ensuring 85% of all new actions related to external relations contribute to gender equality and women's empowerment by 2025 (in 2021, 70% of new External Actions contributed to gender equality);
- Implementing a shared strategic vision and close cooperation with Member States and partners at multilateral, regional, and country levels;
- Accelerating progress by focusing on the key thematic areas of engagement including:
- Ending GBV,
- Economic and social rights and empowerment;
- Equal participation and leadership;
- Women, peace, and security; and
- Green and digital transformations.
- Having the EU lead by example by establishing gender-responsive and gender-balanced leadership at top political and management levels; and
- Setting up a quantitative, qualitative, and inclusive monitoring system to increase public accountability, as well as ensuring transparency and access to information on its assistance to gender equality worldwide.
Gender equality is addressed through the Global Challenges thematic budget line: The 2021-2027 NDICI Global Challenges budget line includes support to SRHR and child protection systems and the provision for protection against GBV, particularly in situations of instability. Additionally, gender equality is mainstreamed as a priority for geographic programming. In December 2022, the EC and ten EU member states, together with three African Regional Economic Communities, launched a new initiative to advance SRHR in Africa, to which the EC contributed EUR60 million ( US$63 million) for 2023-2027.
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