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Region:Asia Pacific Current UN Women Plan Period Afghanisthan:2018-2022
i-icon 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. i-icon 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. i-icon 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. i-icon 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.
i-icon 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%)
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outcome XM-DAC-41146-APA_D_2.1

Gender-responsive policy and legislative frameworks are developed and implemented to promote safe migration, decent work and sustainable development for all women workers, including migrant workers

Progress towards increasing legislation and support and services to ensure safety and security of women migrant workers throughout the labour migration journey were made as seen in the gender-specific recommendations in the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) and the Colombo Process’ Thematic Area Working Group (TAWG) meetings. In the 15th AFML, a recommendation to include protection women migrant workers from forced labour, discrimination, violence and harassment in the development or review of bilateral labour migration agreements (BLA)/Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) was made and adopted by Member States and other stakeholders. For the Colombo Process, the Government of Bangladesh made a recommendation on building capacity on gender-responsive and rights-based in employment contracts leading to improved accountability of recruitment for labour migration in the meeting of the Thematic Area Working Group (TAWG) on foster ethical recruitment practices. These followed the efforts of UN Women and its CSO partners to integrate gender perspectives in labour migration governance.
outcome XM-DAC-41146-APA_D_2.2

More women lead, participate and have access to business opportunities to advance sustainable and inclusive growth (Outcome 7)

Significant Progress was made in supporting more women to lead, participate and have access to business opportunities to advance sustainable and inclusive growth. Women-owned businesses (WOBs) and women entrepreneurs have become more gender inclusive, better equipped to scale and improve business performance, have established relevant connections with financing mechanisms and facilitated other partnership opportunities. WEA strengthened capacities of women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses, especially through innovative ecosystem approaches in areas such as unpaid care and gender-lens investing. Overall, entrepreneurs reported that the WEA entrepreneurship trainings had the biggest impact in: helping their businesses become more gender inclusive (29.9%) gaining knowledge and tools to up-scale their businesses (23.2%) improving business performance, establish relevant connections and identify financing mechanisms (18%) (please refer to Final report in supporting document as evidence.) WEA mobilized and trained 3,096 women across all WEA countries (since programme inception in 2019) that aimed to increase access to entrepreneurship and leadership training programmes (e.g., business training, financial education and/or technical skills).To measure the effectiveness and impact of capacity-building activities, particularly those focused on entrepreneurship, WEA developed a set of impact-based surveys to collect data from entrepreneur beneficiaries who participated in various trainings across the WEA countries. A total of 353 responses were received from women entrepreneurs and WOBs across the WEA countries between September 2021 – August 2022. UN Women’s holistic approach to work with governments and private sector towards an ecosystem for advancing women’s economic empowerment has contributed to the above results. It encouraged the central role of the private sector in advancing women’s economic empowerment (WEE) and promoting a gender-inclusive economic recovery. Working with the private sector, commitment and actions from the private sector to drive more responsible business conduct, have been leveraged during the reporting period. Building on the successful implementation of the WEPs Awards 2021, WEA organized the third WEPs regional awards to recognize exemplary business practice for gender equality aligned to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). This year, the Awards generated significant interest, resulting in 1208 applications this year compared to 700 received in 2021 (cumulative values). The success of the WEPs Awards establishes it as a powerful vehicle at both national and regional level to raise awareness of the WEPs among key stakeholders, create openings for collaboration, and mobilize the private sector to commit to and act to become more gender inclusive. UN Women’s knowledge products have also reached a wide audience and significantly contributed to UN Women’s holistic COVID-19 response and specially to address unpaid care work and awareness-raising and public advocacy for a gender-responsive recovery has also been essential. Its efforts will also seed interest in a larger regional agenda on the care economy that will capitalize on Asia-Pacific global moments in 2023. For instance, the WEPs “Trends and Opportunities to Advance Gender Equality in Business in Asia and the Pacific” developed and launched by UN Women in 2022 provides valuable insights on the progress made by companies on the level and depth of promoting WEPs and gender equality across supply chains and highlights gaps where actions are still needed. UN Women built further momentum and awareness on the Care Economy through the development and launch of the Care Entrepreneurship Think Piece entitled ‘Can Inclusive Care Entrepreneurship be a pathway to address gaps in the childcare sector in Asia and the Pacific?‘ and disseminating key findings from the Think Piece in various fora including during the WEA Closing Forum in August 2022 and the 2022 Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN) Global Conference in Indonesia. On the theory of change, there also remains a need to assess how the Programme has affected and can support the most marginalized women. While UN Women Country Office efforts target the most marginalized groups in most cases, the WEA project targeted middle-income countries as well as the “missing middle” of women-owned SMEs as strategic entry points to demonstrate gender-responsive business models. Linking these different target groups in integrated programme approaches could be explored, for example, through the work on gender-responsive procurement (GRP). Efforts to expand and increase the income of women-led SMEs could promote their inclusion in supply chains of large companies, including multinational enterprises. In turn, these SMEs could be mobilized to employ and source products and services from relatively more disadvantaged women in the community. Similarly, efforts to reduce the disproportionate share of women in unpaid care work could target marginalized women to gain access to decent work and income (including in the care economy itself), through improved access to and availability of affordable child and elder care. Social norms change is WEE with a view to working across the individual, systemic, formal, and informal levels to stimulate transformative change. It will require UN Women to leverage its expertise in research and data, generation and dissemination of knowledge products, advocacy, and holistic approaches to capacity building of actors to influence policy changes and support implementation of gender-responsive practices at all levels. It will also necessitate clarifying how synergies across thematic areas will be leveraged and identifying opportunities where UN Women could be positioning itself for the future. An important learning is that programmatic efforts have reiterated that private sector engagement is fundamental in the journey to advancing women’s economic empowerment and gender equality. Resource mobilization to maintain the visibility on WEE achieved through WEA and the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) approach has a critical role to play in supporting the private sector to implement the WEPs. While WEA constructively engaged with policymakers to identify and propose solutions for challenges faced by women in the private sector, securing buy-in and advancing policy level changes proved to be very lengthy and required significant efforts. Targeted and prolonged capacity building of public stakeholders will be necessary for transformational legislation and gender mainstreaming practices. Moreover, with increased requirements for accountability set by and among governments and investors, Transparency & Accountability will continue to be a key priority area for future normative and policy work. Three years was a limited amount of time to fully implement and document the impacts of all the various assets created. As such, a key challenge moving forward is the sustainability of the assets created in terms of continued implementation. Resource mobilization to expand WEPs support at field level - beyond the current WEA countries - is critical to ensure a consistent approach.
outcome XM-DAC-41146-APA_D_2.3

Needs of women are better addressed by climate change and disaster risk reduction actions for ensuring alternative climate-resilient livelihoods

Governments and intergovernmental organisations including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) articulated greater commitments to collaborate and advance gender equality in climate change to deliver more inclusive outcomes. Key to this was the adoption by the ASEAN Centre of Energy of the Roadmap on Accelerating ASEAN Renewable Energy Deployment through Gender-Responsive Energy Policy ,with technical support from UNEP. The chair of the Renewable Energy Sub-Sector Network of the ASEAN Energy Cooperation has adopt it and a strong commitment was made to implement the actions and monitor the results. The roadmap will inform the ASEAN long-term renewable energy roadmap that is currently under development, with clear gender targets and indicators. Similalry, climate change was identified as a key priority for technical cooperation between the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) and UN Women, reaffirming the commitments in the ASEAN-UN Women Joint Work Programme. The development of the sub-regional flagship reports on the State of Gender Equality and Climate Change in South Asia and the Hindu Kush Himalaya and Southeast Asia to identify gaps and scalable actions serve as key policy too. Findings and recommendations of the ASEAN report has informed the ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW)/ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC) workplan and the actions of different sectoral bodies working in climate change, agriculture, DRR and renewable energy. In the reporting year, governments and institutions from over 18 countries have strengthened capacities to integrate gender equality priorities in climate, renewable energy, and disaster risk reduction policies and plans. Governments adopted gender-responsive climate change and disaster risk reduction policies at the country level including the Bangladesh Climate Change Gender Action Plan and the Viet Nam Climate Change Strategy to 2050 through policy guidance, capacity building, and dialogues. These policies and frameworks brought opportunities for increased investments in addressing gender and social inequalities and building long-term resilience for women and vulnerable communities. Women entrepreneurs and women-enterprises have stratengthened capacities for resilient livelihoods as a result of trainings and increased access to renewable energy financing mechanisms. A total of 473 women have established or improved livelihood activities and over 1,689 women receiving indirect economic benefits such as improved standard of living due to access to basic services including water, reduced health and protection risks due to accessible and cleaner energy sources, and time saved due to availability of products and services in their communities. Over 56 women's rights and civil society organizations participation and leadership were strengthened in climate and disaster risk reduction dialogues and decision-making processes. CSOs have broadened networks, increasingly engaged in dialogues with governments, and has led community- based climate and DRR actions. Overall, UN Women in partnership with UNEP, through the joint project EmPower Women for Climate Resilient Societies together with its partners, provided integrated support aimed, leveraged platforms, fostered partnerships, and placed gender equality and human rights in the spotlight, creating a foundation for amplifying and scaling up results.
outcome XM-DAC-41146-APA_D_3.1

An enabling legislative and policy environment in line with international standards on EVAW and other forms of discrimination is in place and translated into action

Institutionalization of survivor-centered and migratory-inclusive service provision for responding to cases of violence against women abroad The APA Outcome 3.1 made significant progress during the reporting period. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Viet Nam institutionalized the quality service provisions for Vietnamese women abroad. In December 2022, MOFA adopted the “Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Supporting Overseas Vietnamese Women Victims of Violence, Abuse, Sexual Harassment and Trafficking in Persons”, with technical support from UN Women ROAP and the Viet Nam Office. Technical support from UN Women was provided through consultations throughout the development process and review processes of the draft documents. The SOPs were designed based on the “ Practical Guide: Developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for a Coordinated Response to Violence against Women, including women migrant workers ”, developed by the UN Women regional office. With the SOPs, foreign service officials and diplomats of Viet Nam embassies and consulates overseas are able to provide strengthened protection and support for Vietnamese citizens abroad, especially those who have experienced violence against women or trafficking in persons. The SOPs will be implemented through Vietnamese embassies and consulates globally as a guiding document for survivor-centered referral procedures between Viet Nam and countries of destination. This SOP was reported as one of the leading workstreams by Viet Nam through the implementation and review of the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Women, through the mid-term review of the RPA , conducted in 2021 with support from the regional office (reported in 2021). Strengthening the capacities of foreign service officials in survivor-centered service provision for women migrant workers emerged following one basic workshop in Viet Nam in 2019, and evolved into an ongoing series of learning sessions that incorporated the experiences of foreign service officials globally for newly appointed foreign service officials. The SOPs formalize the training materials into practice as guiding documents for foreign service officials. Capacity development of institutions to implement laws and policies to deliver services for eliminating violence against women Gender-Responsive Police Services In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Police Women Network capacity was strengthened, with support from the regional office, HQ and the Bangladesh Office. The Handbook on Gender Responsive Police Services for Women and Girls Subject to Violence was rolled out in Bangladesh, thus operationalizing the Essential Services Package for Women and Girls subject to Violence as it supports and assists the police by providing the ‘how to’ as well as an exchange of experiences in relation to responding to VAWG in a transformational way ensuring a victim centered approach and building trust and confidence in local communities. The Bangladesh Police Women Network took ownership of the Gender-Responsive Police Handbook roll out process by identifying the areas where the Handbook can be incorporated, including by developing violence against women training curricula for police officers following a gap-identifying analysis process. The Gender Responsive Policing Handbook was translated and adapted to the contexts in Bangladesh . Shelters In Viet Nam, the Viet Nam Women’s Union developed the Capacity Development Roadmap of the Peace House Shelter to strengthen the shelter management and the capacity of services with technical support from UN Women. In Bangladesh, the Tarango Shelter for survivors of violence utilized the gender-based violence-women’s economic empowerment integrated model to pilot the economic empowerment interventions alongside the provision of multisectoral services. UN Women supported the light review process of the shelter project, analyzing whether services have adequately responded to survivors’ needs.
outcome XM-DAC-41146-APA_D_3.2

Favorable social norms, attitudes and behaviors are promoted at national, community and individual levels to prevent VAW

he APA Outcome 3.2 made progress during the reporting period. Following years of advocacy and strengthening evidence, understanding and practice on prevention of VAWG and social norms change, Australia DFAT has partnered with UN Women and UNFPA ROAP offices to develop a regional center on prevention of VAW in Southeast Asia. This center is expected to strengthen prevention expertise and capacity, build evidence on effective programmatic interventions, and support regional advocacy collectives, and will focus on transformational, evidence-based advocacy, dialogue, policies and programming. UN Women is heavily involved in the design process. During the reporting period, youth equipped themselves on favourable social norms, attitudes and behaviours to end violence against women and girls. For this, they designed and led initiatives on ending violence against women and girls, drawing upon regional evidence and calling for action to support survivors of violence. The regional youth leadership network “ 30 for 2030 ” created the “ Youth Guide to End Online Gender-Based Violence (OGBV) ” to call for action from youth to address OGBV, in response to the high prevalence of online violence in the Asia-Pacific region, especially among young women and girls. The Guide is a significant outcome of the youth network as the entire process was led by the members of ‘30 for 2030’, from selecting OGBV as the topic to drawing actionable recommendations. The youth network utilized the UN Women’s study “Online Opposition to Gender Equality” to develop the Guide, where they extracted content related to narratives and tactics of online opposition to develop recommendations about how to counter the opposition narratives and engage men and boys in promoting gender equality. The 30 for 2030 is a youth leadership network that brings together young leaders with various backgrounds--eminent civic and business innovators, feminists, entrepreneurs, technology pioneers, educators, activists, artists, journalists, and more--launched by ROAP in March 2023. The 30 for 2030 thought leaders and experts are determined change-makers to accelerate progress toward the 2030 Agenda from a feminist perspective, break down gender barriers and make gender equality a working reality in their spheres of influence. ROAP provided capacity building opportunities and mentorships to strengthen their understanding of gender equality, ending violence against women and their advocacy skills. Voices against Violence Curriculum In Thailand, students have more opportunities to learn positive gender norms and relationships to prevent violence against women and girls. 1 school in Thailand developed its own resource package on Gender and Ending Violence to integrate the “ Voices against Violence (VaV)” curriculum into the regular school curriculum. This was initiated from the implementation of the VaV curriculum in 14 schools in Thailand, through the partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and their Thailand member organization “Girl Guides Association of Thailand – GGAT”. The VaV is a non-formal education programme for children and youth to help stop violence against girls and young women, developed by UN Women and WAGGGS. ROAP provided technical and financial support for the rollout of the curriculum. In 2022, WAGGGS continued the rollout of the curriculum and used a cascading model of capacity building whereby they trained the GGAT leadership and project team on Safeguarding and Child Protection , Power Dynamics and Rape Culture in School, as well as the Voices against Violence curriculum in general, the project team, in turn, strengthened the capacities of girl guides, girl guide leaders and volunteers on these topics who then engaged the schools. The project included a diverse age range of participants who reported becoming more conscious of their actions and more mindful of how they treat others. Next to their trainings and engagement with schools and the GGAT, the girl guides also advocated for stopping violence against girls during the International Women’s Day activities. After participating in the project, they felt confident that they have the knowledge and skills to educate their families, communities, and society at large on the issue of violence against girls, and they were very motivated to carry this work forward. Addressing gender-based violence on campus In Viet Nam, university campuses have become safer for their students with codes of conduct to prevent and respond to campus-related gender-based violence. During the reporting period, 3 universities in Viet Nam developed codes of conduct, based on the Guidance Note on Campus Violence Prevention and Response , with support from the regional office. Advocating for the adoption of a dedicated policy on preventing and responding to sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus has been one of the focus areas throughout the current SN period. Following this, a network of safe campuses was created with these universities as core members. Furthermore, a student-led online safe campus communication campaign was organized which reached 71,721 people, and the counselling rooms of these universities were improved to provide better quality support for students and staff in cases of violence.
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