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Tunis, 2 August 2006 - A consultative seminar on Development Effectiveness for Bank staff on the theme "The Challenge for Gender Equality - Project Design Issues’’ took place on Monday in Tunis, as part of a Bank-wide initiative to enhance the Bank’s contribution to the scaling-up of the development effectiveness agenda in the Regional Member Countries (RMCs).
While opening the workshop, Mr. Philibert Afrika, Operations, Policies and Compliance Department Director, urged staff to use this opportunity to dialogue, share ideas and identify innovative ways to scale up on gender equality through project design so that the Bank could effectively deliver gender sensitive interventions in RMCs. Mr. Afrika also stressed the need to exercise responsibility in making appropriate recommendations for the mainstreaming of crosscutting issues in project design. He underscored the need to carry out assessment and review of all crosscutting issues in project design as well as progressively introduce crosscutting issues in the log-frame and in all the stages of the project cycle starting at the identification stage.
Ms. Laeticia Mukurasi, Chief Gender Specialist for her part, discussed four key issues in her presentation: gender considerations in development effectiveness, the framework for assessing gender equality results, the importance of design for gender equality results and the way forward. On the latter she urged staff to implement the Environmental and Social Assessment Procedures (ESAP) in order to guarantee the kinds of results that could make beneficial impacts on both men and women.
The participants recommended that the process of gender mainstreaming in Bank operations should start with the elaboration of the Country Strategy Papers (CSPs). In that regard, it was pointed out that the Country Departments should carry out studies to generate information for the elaboration of the CSPs that constitute the starting point for the consideration of gender issues in Bank operations. It was also proposed that consideration be given to the placement of a gender specialist in Country Departments to facilitate the inclusion of gender issues at the CSP level.
On ESAP categorization, it was suggested that this should not only include environmental assessment but also social impact assessment. It was also agreed that extensive consultations with the Operations Complex be carried out on classification to determine what it would really mean in terms of gender mainstreaming.
With regard to staffing, participants recommended the need to scale up on gender training in order to create a critical mass of Bank staff who are well versed in the issues and who possess the necessary competence as a short-term plan. As a long term human resource development strategy, it was suggested that gender specialists be recruited in the Operations Complex, especially in areas where there is no such expertise such as the Infrastructure Complex. Participants were unanimous on the need to provide tools to create sufficient awareness for gender mainstreaming among Bank project experts and also ensure that tools that are to be developed as well as those already in existence are further refined to become concise and user-friendly.
The seminar concluded with the identification of immediate actions to enhance mainstreaming of gender issues in its activities. This includes, among others, the inclusion in the concept note being developed under the enhanced Review Process a strong gender focus to guide Bank staff in effective mainstreaming of gender issues in Bank projects at the early stage of project design, the enforcement of inputs of gender specialist into project design during the review process, the integration of the capacity building component in Bank projects to assist in the generation of gender disaggregated data that can be used for future activities, and the inclusion of gender issues as part of risk analysis, particularly if its exclusion poses a challenge to project sustainability and gender equality results. The need to develop and implement an integrated communications strategy to disseminate and promote greater understanding of gender issues in the Bank and in Regional Member Countries (RMCs) was also emphasized.
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