UNDP's Strategic Plan 2018-2021 sets out the direction for a new UNDP, optimized to help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Plan describes how UNDP will better adapt to the range of country contexts in which we work, part of which is a series of signature solutions that define the core work of UNDP.

Significant gender inequalities persist in every region of the world, manifest as the unequal distribution of care work, lack of equitable access to decision-making and unequal access to basic services, assets and finance. Addressing these inequalities and their structural causes, and discriminatory practices that perpetuate them, requires sustained, multisectoral interventions. The signature solution will entail work with ILO. UNFPA, UN-Women and other agencies to develop interventions to reform discriminatory laws, institutions and policies. It will enable decent work in formal and informal sectors, access to basic services and infrastructure including clean energy, sanitation and physical security.

Further, this solution will focus on promoting equal political and economic participation enabled by supportive policies. Interventions in these areas will help improve equitable access to transformative livelihoods and strengthen women’s resilience through gender-responsive and sustainable economic and environmental policies. This signature solution will be delivered in partnership with relevant sister agencies, recognizing in particular the role played by agencies such as UN-Women and ILO in establishing norms and standards. UNDP will support, as requested, gender mainstreaming in development strategies in order to enable the gender-responsive implementation of the 2030 Agenda and related agreements.

More women on the political frontlines

Thanks to constitutional and legal provisions that introduced compulsory quotas for women in different posts in local governments, as well as intensive campaigns for women’s engagement in politics carried out by the Election Commission Nepal with the support of UNDP’s Election Support Project, a record number of women have won seats in the first two phases of the local-level elections.

Fatteh Kumari Jaisi was elected a woman ward committee member in Khajura Village in the recent local polls, while Man Kumari Gharti Magar became the new Deputy Mayor in Rolpa municipality. Pabitra GC, on the other hand, was chosen woman ward committee member for Pyuthan, and Surma Sarki elected as the Dalit woman ward committee member in Jumla’s Tatopani Rural Municipality. All these women might hail from different geographical and social backgrounds, but they have one thing in common: all four were among the 45,000 participants of a programme to encourage the political participation of women conducted by the Election Commission Nepal (ECN) with extensive support from UNDP’s Election Support Project (ESP).

Across the two phases of the local elections, 11,630 women have been already been elected, and a third phase is yet to be held. Never before in the country’s history have such a large number of women won seats in local elections like they have done this time around. Overall, elected women comprise 41% of representatives. READ MORE

Weaves of change

It was in 2011 that 25 women came together to establish Koseli House. These women, all hailing from marginalized ethnic communities living in the area, had been encouraged to start an enterprise after participating in an entrepreneurship development training being offered by UNDP’s Micro-Enterprise Development Programme.

Most of the entrepreneurs already had some experience in weaving. But without information about and access to proper markets, and given the amount of effort that went into the work, it was simply not a sustainable means of earning a living for most. And so, like many other traditional crafts, carpet-making in Darchula was seeing fewer and fewer takers over the years.

MEDEP’s training, however, turned things around. Not only did it serve to reinforce the women’s existing skills, but also helped them incorporate new technologies in their craft, as well as offering them much-needed direction in terms of marketing—culminating in the impetus to open their own enterprise. Today, Koseli House makes carpets worth Rs. 15 lakhs in just over six months’ time, significantly boosting the women’s livelihoods. READ MORE

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Righting historical wrongs: UNDP-supported monitoring group takes on caste-based discrimination

A major breakthrough in addressing the rights violations of the historically-excluded Dalit community in Nepal had come in 2014, with the formation of a monitoring group by the National Dalit Commission (NDC), as part of the country’s response to the Universal Period Review recommendations it had recently received related to caste-based discrimination. Formed on May 15 of that year—and with technical support and funding from UNDP’s Rule of Law and Strengthening Human Rights Protection System in Nepal (RoLHR) programme—the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) was composed of six other key organizations working in Dalit issues: the National Human Rights Commission, National Women Commission, the Adivasi Janajati Utthan Rastriya Pratisthan, Dalit NGO Federation, Nepal Police and the Prime Minister’s Office. And within a short time of the JMG’s advent, the NDC had completed 31 incident- and issue-based monitoring of cases relating to caste-based discrimination. READ MORE

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