Region:Asia Pacific Current UN Women Plan Period Afghanisthan:2018-2022
World Bank Income Classification:Low Income The World Bank classifies economies for analytical purposes into four income groups: low, lower-middle, upper-middle, and high income. For this purpose it uses gross national income (GNI) per capita data in U.S. dollars, converted from local currency using the World Bank Atlas method, which is applied to smooth exchange rate fluctuations. Least Developed Country:Yes Since 1971, the United Nations has recognized LDCs as a category of States that are deemed highly disadvantaged in their development process, for structural, historical and also geographical reasons. Three criteria are used: per capita income, human assets, and economic vulnerability. Gender Inequality Index:0.575 GII is a composite metric of gender inequality using three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market. A low GII value indicates low inequality between women and men, and vice-versa. Gender Development Index:0.723 GDI measures gender inequalities in achievement in three basic dimensions of human development: health, education, and command over economic resources.
Population:209,497,025 Source of population data: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2022). World Population Prospects: The 2022 Revision Male:19,976,265 (9.5%) Female:189,520,760 (90.5%)
Women have improved capacity, access to resources/knowledge and agency to participate, lead and engage in political processes, including running as elective officials in AfghanistanIn its normative role, UN Women supported the reinforcement of understanding of Afghan women Members of Parliament on gender-sensitive legislation. This was made possible through the development of a gender strategy, a Terms of Reference for a women parliamentarian’s caucus group and women’s affairs commission in the Afghan Parliament, and a transformational leadership programme that was anticipated to support all women Members of Parliament to promote gender equality in Afghanistan and facilitate the revision of existing laws (requiring revision or parliamentary approval). The gender strategy aimed to elevate the goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the parliamentary structure by providing the basis for the promotion of dialogue and action in addressing gender issues within the country, and by bringing more coherence to the work of the various entities engaged in these issues in the Afghan Parliament. With the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, there has been a dramatic reversal of progress on women’s participation in political life. By the end of the reporting period, women’s political participation stood at zero – before 15 August 2021, 28 per cent of parliamentarians were women. UN Women had prepared to deliver Gender-Sensitive Media Training to journalists from various media backgrounds, including the traditional, and digital media, to foster an environment where the interests, experiences, and realities of Afghan women become part of the public agenda. Capacity building training was planned for quarter 3 of 2021 but did not take place due to the deteriorating security situation and changes in the operating context following the Taliban takeover in August 2021.
The capacity of the government and stakeholders is strengthened to assess the progress in implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, and other global normative and policy frameworksBefore the seizure of state control by the Taliban in mid-August 2021, partnership on embedding systemic normative change on women’s rights and empowerment in Afghanistan continued in earnest. Cooperation between UN Women and the Republic Government during this period included carrying out the review process for Afghan progress made towards adhering to key women’s rights frameworks – such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action, among others. UN Women was also able to leverage its coordination mandate to facilitate the functioning of platforms advocating for accountability on gender commitments, both within the UN system and with governmental actors. UN Women convened coordination meetings with the Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Afghan Women’s Network, all of which proved to be essential platforms for strategic engagement in the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. However, under the de facto authority, the national-level gender equality architecture in Afghanistan has been dismantled, with the abolishment of the MoWA and the absence of any women in the Taliban’s governing structure. In response, UN Women is strengthening its sub-office structure across five provinces, to bolster monitoring and reporting on women’s rights developments at the provincial level and contribute to wider UN capacity to expand and hold the space carved out in the provinces on women’s rights.
Favorable social norms, attitudes, and behaviors are promoted at individual, community and institutional levels to prevent VAWViolence against women has been a consistent feature of many Afghan women and girls’ lives. Even before the fall of the Republic of Afghanistan, rates of violence against women and girls were already extremely high across the country, with one study suggesting that 87 per cent of Afghan women experience some form of violence during their lifetime. As a critical step for the development of the National Primary Prevention Framework, UN Women Afghanistan finalized the desk review and training materials on primary prevention, contributing to understanding among key stakeholders (including government, civil society organizations, and donor partners) on what constitutes primary prevention, and supporting the engagement of these stakeholders in developing the Framework. Furthermore, UN Women implemented awareness programmes focused on strengthening understanding of women’s rights and violence against women and girls within communities, as well as COVID-19 preventive measures and guidance to mitigate the spread of the virus. A total of 1,966 women and 1,744 men (during the first and second quarters of 2021) improved their understanding of women’s rights, human rights, and violence against women and girls, as well as COVID-19 preventive measures within local communities. However, security challenges, instability, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic were exacerbated by the fall of the Republican Government and the abolishment of the Ministry of Women Affairs, the national women’s machinery, extensively affecting the implementation of the primary prevention workshops and any subsequent development of the Framework.
National and sub-national institutions and organisations have the commitment, knowledge and capacities to legislate, advocate, plan, implement and monitor policies to prevent and respond to SGBV and HPActivities under this results area were paused while risk assessments and re-programming options were explored given the deterioration of the security situation in the lead-up to August 15th and the subsequent Taliban take-over of the country. A Concept Note for a “High-Level Religious Leaders’ Forum on Islam and Ending Violence Against Women & Girls in Afghanistan” was developed and a briefing note on “Faith-based approaches to prevent violence against women and girls and create peaceful families, homes and communities” was developed for the Ministry of Haj and Religious Affairs to engage religious leaders in primary prevention efforts. These documents will be used to inform (adapted) programming approaches in 2022.
Civil society organizations are able to advocate on, and prevent and respond to VAWG through support from the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund & Spotlight Initiative FundBefore the fall of Kabul, UN Women finalized and signed six project documents with civil society partners selected within the framework of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF)-Spotlight Initiative, with 10 additional partnerships under finalization. UN Women conducted a rapid assessment to understand the status and operationality of the WPHF-Spotlight grantees. All grantees expressed their willingness to continue to implement the proposed programmes, highlighting that their interventions were now more than ever needed. Following the European Union, Spotlight Initiative, and WPHF confirmation that the project can move forward in the new country context, UN Women liaised with the 16 organizations to support them through the contracting and project finalization process.
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