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The PBF and Gender Equality


The Peacebuilding Fund recognizes that systematic inclusion of women in peacebuilding is essential to the just reconstruction of political, legal, economic and social structures, and to the advancement of gender equality goals. This is not only a matter of women’s and girl’s rights, but of effective peacebuilding.

The Security Council has highlighted, through the adoption of a broad normative framework of several resolutions, the importance of increasing women’s participation in preventing, resolving and recovering from conflict, as well as the necessity to address the impact of conflict on women. The importance of women’s role in the economic recovery, social cohesion and political legitimacy of war-torn societies has also been the focus of the Secretary-General 2010 report on “Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding” (S/2010/466). The report defined a Seven-Point Action Plan on Gender-Responsive Peacebuilding outlining commitments in 7 areas, to ensure that women’s priorities are addressed, their participation is guaranteed and a gender perspective is applied to all aspects of peacebuilding. Under the areas on financing, the Secretary-General committed the UN system to allocate at least 15% of UN-managed funds in support of peacebuilding to projects that “address women’s specific needs, advance gender equality or empower women” as their principle objective.

Together with its partners, the PBF wants to strengthen the participation of women in political processes, enhance their voices in post-conflict planning processes and address their specific post-conflict needs. The PBF recognizes that rebuilding after conflict is the opportunity to “build back better” by addressing gender inequality and reaffirming women’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. In addition, PBF underscores the conclusion of the Secretary-General’s report on “Women’s Participation in Peacebuilding” that, in post-conflict settings, targeted interventions are required to break patterns of violence and to capitalize on the leadership roles women may assume during conflicts.

Since becoming operational in 2007, the PBF has adopted proactive measures to support peacebuilding approaches that promote gender equality as part of its strategy to prevent relapse into conflict. A gender marker was adopted in 2009 to track these commitments. As an overall principle, and as reaffirmed in its 2014-2016 Business Plan, PBF works to make sure that its entire portfolio is gender mainstreamed, i.e. that all peacebuilding interventions it supports consider gender issues as part of the conflict analysis, priority setting, budget allocation, implementation, as well as in monitoring and evaluation.

Some examples of PBF-supported peacebuilding activities that promote gender equality and empower women:

  • In Guinea Conakry (2013) and Guinea Bissau (2014), the PBF supported the monitoring of the elections by women from civil society through the set-up of a Women Situation Room which acted as early warning mechanism and contributed to peaceful elections.
  • In Yemen, PBF supported women and young people’s participation in the National Dialogue, enabling them to develop common positions across party lines.
  • In Nepal, the PBF has funded the provision of reproductive health services, psychosocial and legal counselling, and livelihood support to survivors of gender-based violence, combined with a “do-no-harm” approach to documenting sexual violence cases.
  • In Liberia, support from the PBF has enabled the establishment of a specialized unit within the Ministry of Justice exclusively dedicated to prosecuting crimes of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), as well as the training of judiciary and police on cases-processing and victim support;

In 2011, to help meet the SG’s 15% target, PBF launched a first Gender Promotion Initiative (GPI), calling for targeted projects on women’s empowerment and gender equality. This first GPI allocated US$ 6.1 million to 8 projects (in Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Nepal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda), which as of August 2014 are mostly still being implemented.

pdf Download Overview of PBF Gender Promotion Initiative 1

In great part thanks to this GPI, PBF reached the mid-term 10% target that had been defined by the Policy Committee for 2012. However, in 2013, PBF saw the proportion of projects targeted gender equality as main objective decrease to 7.4%, demonstrating that proactive, exceptional measures remain indispensable to promote gender in peacebuilding programmes and projects.

PBF Gender Marker 2007-2014

The 2013 independent Global Review of the PBF, as well as the independent Thematic Review on Gender and Peacebuilding commissioned by PBSO in mid-2013, both recommended that a second Gender Promotion Initiative be launched to continue actively promoting and funding gender-responsive peacebuilding.

The Peacebuilding Fund launched a second Gender Promotion Initiative (GPI2) in the Fall of 2014, to continue deepening the integration of women’s empowerment and gender equality in the overall peacebuilding portfolios supported by PBF in selected countries. The GPI2 also aimed at increasing PBF’s total funding allocation to projects dedicated to advance gender equality and/or empower women. 17 countries were invited to apply to a two-step, competitive process. This led, at the end of 2014, to the selection of 9 projects submitted by 6 countries (Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Somalia), were selected for funding, for a total amount of $7,628,110. Projects range from political participation to security sector reform, access to land, participation to local governance and prevention and response to gender-based violence. PBF believes they will substantively contribute to gender equality in the selected countries and provide important lessons learned and promising practices for further gender-responsive peacebuilding in the future. Please click here to see the overview of the approved and conditionally approved projects. Please click here to see an overview of the PBF allocation with regards to the gender marker of the projects, which assesses to what extent a project focuses on gender empowerment.

pdf Download GPI2 Concept note

On 16 September 2015 PBSO received a letter from UN Women, congratulating it for increasing financial allocations to gender-responsive peacebuilding and also for continued efforts to enhance accountability for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

pdf Download UN Women letter to PBSO congratulating for efforts