The UNDP’s Portfolio Review from a gender perspective has been developed by the Gender Cluster in the LAC Regional Hub as a complementary tool of the UNDP Gender Equality Seal Initiative* to increase and dig deeper into Country Offices’ capacity and accountability for gender mainstreaming in UNDP programmes and policy support. Implemented in 9 countries** of Latin America and the Caribbean region since 2016, it has been considered as an eye-opening process on the status of CO’s portfolio vis a vis to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.
The review of the portfolio from a gender lens arose from COs’ requests to integrate in a more systematic manner the gender perspective in their policy advice and programme/project portfolios; identify strategies and route maps to ensure gender is fully mainstreamed into processes, instruments and benchmarks associated with programme and project cycle, and build capacities and share best practices for a substantive collective reflection on how to institutionalize gender mainstreaming. The timing of a portfolio review is critical. A greater value added has been showed when COs are starting their new CPD, new projects are in pipeline and have on board a gender specialist that can create a space for a joint work for achieving the “Extra Mile on Gender Equality”.
The methodology used for the Portfolio Review represents a distillation of good practices and lessons learned from exercises undertaken so far. It is based on a tool-kit of instruments that is purposely simple and accessible and, allows for adaptation by COs with different capacities and operating in very diverse contexts.
It consists on a review rather than an evaluation, enriched by a joint technical work of a gender specialist of the regional hub and a gender focal point of another CO, which is geared towards generating a neutral and facilitated conversation between UNDP personnel in different units and at different levels, including with key counterparts, allies and present and potential donors. It offers a “structured space” to have a more in-depth analysis and discussion on what is gender mainstreaming and what are the implications of incorporating it (or not) into programmes and strategies. It is used to break down the “evaporating effect” of gender issues in the broader development process and the complexities faced by COs implementing policies and programs.
Through the Portfolio review, COs gained a series of recommendations and guidelines for an action plan on how to mainstream gender in line with the objectives of UNDP Strategic Plan, UNDP Global Gender Equality Strategy, national priorities (UNDAF/UNMSDF –CPD), 2030 Agenda, and the requirements of UNDP Gender Equality Seal. Through a participatory exercise, COs receive an overview of the status of the portfolio outcomes vis a vis gender equality and women’s empowerment, showing the diverse way in which gender links to sustainable development, better implementation of the SDGs and innovation. Training of COs personnel on UNDP’s policies and tools (including the gender marker) and UNCT instruments to better integrate gender analysis it has also been a key component of this methodology that is supporting COs achieving gender transformative results and development overall.
Following some key notes coming from COs that participate to this collectively process to strengthen UNDP gender architecture:
For the first time, the three programmatic areas of the CO analyzed its 17 projects with a gender perspective and received feedback on how to better mainstream gender in the projects (UNDP Ecuador)
Our CO recruited a dedicated gender specialist. As a result, staff capacity and most of partners on gender have been enhanced. New projects are being screened through gender lenses during the inception phase; ongoing project activities are being monitored from a gender perspective. (UNDP Suriname)
The portfolio review helped to increase the budget dedicated to gender equality of the programs and the overall CO (UNDP Dominican Republic, UNDP Bolivia)
The UNDP Gender Equality Seal , launched in 2011, has been implemented in 57 of 146 UNDP offices in the countries of all regions. In the Latin American and Caribbean region 10 country offices of the 26 offices in the region have completed the process and have been certified with the Gender Equality Seal, of these, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Argentina and Nicaragua have received certification «Gold»; Colombia, Panama, El Salvador, Peru and Jamaica have received the «Silver» certification and Suriname has received the «Bronze» certification. Currently the offices of Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Haiti and Chile, Paraguay are in the second round of certification of the initiative and Jamaica and Panama are renewing their certification.** 2015-2018: Dominican Republic, Panama, Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, Bolivia, Guatemala, Chile y Colombia In 2019 will be implemented in Jamaica, Paraguay and Costa Rica.