Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Initiative on Gender and Development (GAD)

Provisional Translation

Government of Japan
March, 2005

1. Basic Principles

(1) Japan supports a series of international commitments that aim at achieving women's empowerment and gender equality, including the "World Plan of Action" adopted at the World Conference of the International Women's Year (1975), the "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women" (1979), the "Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action" (1995) and the United Nations' "Millennium Declaration" (2000) *1. In Japan, the "Basic Law for a Gender-equal Society" was enacted in 1999, which stipulates that the Japan shall make efforts to take necessary measures for promotion of international cooperation related to creation of a gender-equal society. With respect to Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) policy, the "Initiative on Women In Development (WID)" was announced in 1995, after which assistance has been provided with main focus on the three priority areas of education, health, and economic and social participation of women, and efforts have been made to integrate women into the development process through contributions to multilateral organisations and bilateral assistance. In August 2003, Japan revised the "ODA Charter", the basic document on Japan's ODA, which stipulates assurance of fairness as one of the basic policies and referred to the importance of incorporating a gender equality perspective. In February 2005, the new "Medium-Term Policy on ODA" was adopted in accordance with the "ODA Charter".

(2) Moving into the 21st century, the situation surrounding people in developing countries is undergoing substantial changes. The progress of economic and political globalisation provided women in developing countries with opportunities of employment and capacity building. Gender disparity has been significantly reduced in social, economic and political aspects in the 1990s. At the same time, however, there has been a growing need for addressing global issues that negatively affect women and children in particular, for example, conflicts, terrorism, generation of refugees, spread of infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, human trafficking in persons, large-scale natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis and floods, and environmental problems. Furthermore, since gender inequality still persists, it is recognised that promoting gender equality and women's empowerment as well as undertaking activities with gender perspective are crucial in the joint effort of international community toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In the field of international cooperation, "Gender and Development (GAD)" approach has become increasingly important since the 1980's in addition to "Women in Development (WID)", a development approach focusing on improving the status of women in developing countries. The GAD approach seeks to analyse the causes of gender inequality within the context of relations between women and men and social structure, and to change stereotyped division of labour as well as institutions and systems that bring about gender disparity. The GAD approach emphasises empowerment *2 of women who are economically and socially disadvantaged, while paying due consideration to the role of men in eliminating gender inequality. Since the "Fourth World Conference on Women" held in 1995, the international community has attached importance to "gender mainstreaming" *3 as a way of firmly establishing the GAD approach.

Gender mainstreaming is a process in which women's and men's development challenges and needs as well as development impacts on both men and women are clarified throughout the process of policy formulation, project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation on the premise that all policies, interventions, and projects have different impacts on men and women. There have been cases in the past in which development policies, programs and projects that were considered to be gender neutral have brought different consequences for men and women. Therefore, it is important to incorporate gender equality perspective into all the development policies including those not directly targeted at women. Development assistance can be implemented more effectively and efficiently by adequately addressing the differences in livelihood situations and needs of both men and women as a part of planning and implementation. In the process of gender mainstreaming, formulation and implementation of laws, policies, interventions and projects in all fields such as political, economical or social will be monitored and evaluated bearing in mind that men and women participate in and benefit from development equally and existing gender inequality is not perpetuated.

(3) With the purpose of promoting gender equality in development more effectively, Japan takes the occasion of the tenth year from the "Fourth World Conference on Women", having thoroughly reviewed the "Initiative on WID" introduced in 1995, to announce the "Initiative on GAD (Gender and Development)", in accordance with the "ODA Charter" and the "Medium-Term Policy on ODA". The new Initiative articulates Japan's specific actions based on gender mainstreaming in order to strengthen Japan's ODA assistance to developing countries' efforts to achieve gender equality and women's empowerment with full respect for their ownership.

2. Basic Approaches to Gender Mainstreaming

Through this initiative, Japan will seek to promote gender mainstreaming broadly in its ODA and throughout the process of needs assessment, policy formulation, project formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. For this purpose, the following outlines Japan's basic approaches to gender mainstreaming.

(1) Strengthening integration of gender equality perspective in ODA policies

When formulating Country Assistance Programs and sector/issue specific policies on ODA, gender equality perspective will be fully taken into account. Issues relating to gender equality in developing countries will be shared with the recipient countries through such occasions as policy dialogues. In order to realise assistance that are tailored to the specific situation of each country, efforts will be made to have a full understanding of sex disaggregated basic data, gender related issues, and corresponding actions of the developing country.

(2) Strengthening gender analysis and promoting women's participation

The factors that affect gender inequality are a complex combination of economic structure, politics, culture, society, history, and geography specific to that country and region. Therefore, to attain impact that are equitably beneficial for both women and men, sex disaggregated information on beneficiary groups, needs, project impact should be assessed during the project planning process. From this perspective, integration of gender perspective into ex-ante evaluation will be strengthened and studies for analysing women's social and economic roles and situations will be implemented as needed. At the same time, considerations will be given to promote women's as well as men's participation in decision making at the stages of planning and implementation ODA policies and projects that may affect their lives. In addition, efforts will be made at the stages of project implementation and post-completion to conduct monitoring, evaluation and effective feed back based on gender perspective.

(3) Assistance for policies and institutions that promote gender equality

It is important to assist the self-help efforts of developing countries towards realising international commitments to achieve empowerment of women and gender equality such as the "Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action" and "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women". From this standpoint, assistance will be provided to support the efforts of developing countries in such areas as follows; formulation of national policy on advancement of women; institutional strengthening of national machinery; establishing legal and institutional framework from a gender perspective; upgrading gender statistics; gender awareness raising of government officials through gender training.

(4) Strengthening cooperation with the international community and NGOs

Cooperation with other development partners including other donor countries, international aid organisations, universities, educational and research institutions, NGOs and civil society at both home and abroad will be strengthened. Through cooperation with other partners, Japan will seek to strengthen its assistance in fields in which it has insufficient knowledge or experience and to share gender-related information in developing countries including gender statistics. In addition, through cooperation among educational and research institutions in Japan and in developing countries including gender research centres and women assistance centres, application of Japan's know-how in the operation and management of such centres will be promoted. South-South Cooperation will be supported to promote a sense of ownership and partnership among developing countries.

(5) Organisational and institutional capacity building

In order to implement this initiative, actions will be taken to raise awareness regarding gender related issues among Japan's development practitioners and to strengthen institutional capacity. For this purpose, gender training to staff in ODA related ministries and agencies as well as to development practitioners will be strengthened and gender focal point will be designated at ODA related sections to promote gender mainstreaming. To monitor the progress and extent of gender mainstreaming, statistics on projects that incorporate a gender perspective will continue to be expanded and updated.

3. Sector Specific Actions from Gender Equality Perspective

Japan will actively address the priority issues stipulated in the "ODA Charter" and the "Medium-Term Policy on ODA" bearing in mind that gender is a cross-sectoral issue, for example, as follows. In these efforts, the perspective of "human security" *4 that places the focus on individual human beings is important.

(1) Poverty reduction

Poverty is an issue that requires a multi-dimensionsional response. Poverty is caused by economic factors such as low income and expenditure, but is also caused by social and political factors as exemplified by lack of access to basic social services such as education and public health and lack of opportunities to participate in the decision-making process. Gender inequality persists in many aspects such as economy, society and politics. It is said that among the 1.1 billion people who are poor about 70% are women, and women account for two thirds of illiterate population in the world. Therefore, in formulating policies and projects aiming at poverty reduction, Japan will give consideration to improve women's access to a variety of services and welfare opportunities and promote participation of women in the decision making process so that women and men can equally benefit.

With respect to education, Japan will support; equal access to education through creation of social and economic environment which enables girls to go to schools and through distance learning, elimination of gender disparity in literacy rate, enrolment rate (especially, in primary and secondary education) and completion rate; establishment of gender- sensitive education-related law, institution and educational policies; development of educational software (curriculum, teaching material etc.) to promote gender equality and empowerment of women; gender training to education administrators and teachers to promote understanding and teaching method concerning gender; and promoting awareness in communities including parents and the decision makers in region concerning importance of girls' education.

With respect to health, Japan will promote; elimination of disparity in health condition that originates in gender, such as disparity in access to medical and health services or vulnerability of women to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDs; response to specific health needs of women throughout their life cycle; and sexual and reproductive health/rights. More specifically, Japan will support; ensuring equal access of women and men to quality and affordable medical and health services; dissemination of information and education concerning family planning and reproductive health to women and men, families and local communities; strengthening of maternal and child health service for reducing infant and maternal mortality; establishment of institutions and medical facility/system for supporting women's lifetime health; promotion of research including statistics.

With respect to agriculture, forestry, fishery, and rural development, the role of women in production tends to be underestimated and there are problems of women not being able to utilise productive resources because they do not have rights to own or inherit land. Moreover, depending on the region, the role of women in agriculture increases further due to a decrease in male workforce that result from migration to cities or conflicts.

Based on the recognition of women's role in rural development as well as the different purpose for which men and women engage in agricultural production needs, Japan will support; establishment of facilities and extension of cultivation technology that contributes to reducing agricultural workload of women; dissemination of technology to raise women's incomes such as livestock husbandry and cultivation; participation of women in food-processing industry; strengthening women's producer associations and their management; training for the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer. In addition, inhabitants in the rural areas in developing countries depend their livelihoods on natural resources such as spring water, rivers and forests, and in many cases fetching water and collecting fuel wood is assumed to be the role of women. Japan will support measures to conserve natural resources as well as to reduce such work burden of women.

(2) Sustainable growth

Economic policies and development of socio-economic infrastructure for achieving sustainable growth may affect men and women differently. Therefore, if such policies or projects are planned and implemented without incorporating a gender perspective, it may not bring benefits to women, and in some cases it may even worsen the situation of women. It has also become evident that infrastructure projects will become more effective and efficient by accurately analysing and taking into account the different living conditions and needs of women and men at the planning stage of projects. For these reasons, Japan will give consideration in the planning stage to have women and men participate equally in the decision making process and to have the benefits of its cooperation be shared equally by women and men.

In the area of infrastructure development, Japan will promote planning and implementation based on a gender perspective, and will take necessary measures to ensure that women benefit. For instance, consideration will be given to gender training for people involved in projects and expanding women's employment opportunities.

In the area of economy and labour, women are more likely to engage in the informal sector or work under part-time employment. Women's unpaid work in the community or household are not included in economic statistics. In view of such circumstances, Japan will provide assistance on; measures to redress gender inequality resulting from differences in labour conditions such as wages and occupational category; formulation of trade and investment policies that benefit poor women; capacity building of women to expand their opportunities in industries and employment; fostering women entrepreneurs and microfinance programs targeted at women; promotion of rights and legal protection of female workers in formal/informal sector; and making work and family life compatible for both women and men.

(3) Addressing global issues

Gender perspective must be incorporated in the actions to address global issues, including natural disasters that affect a wide area such as earthquakes and floods, environmental issues such as natural environment degradation and environmental pollution, human right issues such as trafficking in persons and violence, and spread of infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS. In promoting actions against global issues, Japan will analyse the different needs of men and women, provide support to eliminating factors which may threaten women's living environment as well as traditions/customs which are harmful and discriminatory for women with the participation of both women and men.

With respect to environment, rural people in developing countries tend to depend on natural resources for their livelihood and have daily contact with nature through such activities as collection of firewood or medicinal plants. Therefore, in order to conserve the natural environment, Japan will provide training on management of natural resources and environment protection, promote measures to protect the environment that give consideration to women's roles (e.g. afforestation and the promotion of improved cooking stoves etc.), and utilisation of experiences and knowledge of women for environmental measures such areas as biodiversity conservation.

With respect to human rights and violence, Japan will support efforts of developing countries to establish legislation as well as to achieve substantive gender equality based on the "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women" and other international human rights documents. Issues regarding violence against women which has its background in traditional gender stereotypes, and violence or human rights abuse against migrant women will also be addressed. In concrete terms, Japan will provide support to; dissemination of information for advocacy of women's human rights; elimination of prejudice and discrimination against minority women including indigenous women and handicapped women; rejection of traditional practices that violate human rights of women; development of laws and institutions for preventing and combating all forms of violence against women including domestic violence; development of comprehensive laws and institutions against trafficking in persons; and development of legal systems, organisations or shelters for the support and protection of victimised women and their children.

(4) Peace-building

Conflicts, which bring about various problems such as creation of a large number of refugees and internally displaced persons, sexual violence and abductions in conflict situation, deprivation of rights and freedom, and damages from landmines and small arms, affect women differently from men, as exemplified by the fact that women are more likely to be victims of violence. At the post-conflict stage, there are cases in which social integration of widows and discharged women soldiers receive lower priority, or women become victims of physical violence from husbands who suffer from post-war trauma. Therefore, it is necessary to appropriately reflect the needs of women and men by taking actions that incorporate a gender perspective at all stages of peace-building assistance from emergency humanitarian assistance, post-conflict reconstruction and development assistance, to prevention of conflict and its recurrence. It is also important to treat women not merely as victims of conflicts, but also as a contributor to peace-building.

In the area of humanitarian assistance and reconstruction assistance, support will be provided for protection of women from sexual violence in conflict situation and recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Japan will also provide support to refugees and internal displaced persons, to their post-conflict repatriation, resettlement, and rehabilitation in a seamless manner. Japan will consider women's special needs at all phases of peace-building, and address the security of women and girls, women's capacity building and economic independence at the post-conflict stage.

On prevention of conflict and its recurrence, Japan will also support equal participation of women and men in decision-making in the peace process. Japan will support equal participation of women and men in politics as well as peace education targeted at women and men. In the process of social reconstruction after conflict, Japan will provide assistance on development of laws and institutions from a gender perspective, and on promotion of equal social participation so that a society can achieve security and permanent peace.


*1 Those "international commitments" here also refer to the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of women (1985), Agenda 21 adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (1992), the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference on Human Rights (1993), the Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development (1994), the Outcome Document of the 23rd Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly "Women 2000" (2000), the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2000), and so forth.
*2 "Empowerment" means to develop self-sustaining capacity by participating in the decision-making process as an individual and/or as a social group.
*3 "Gender mainstreaming" is defined here as a means of achieving gender equality in all areas.
*4 "Human security" means focusing on individual people and building societies in which everyone can live with dignity by protecting and empowering individuals and communities that are exposed to actual or potential threats. In concrete terms, this means protecting individuals from "fears," such as conflict, terrorism, crime, human-rights violation, displacement, disease epidemics, environmental destruction, economic crises and natural disasters, and "wants," such as poverty, hunger and lack of educational and health services, and empowering people so that they can choose and take action against these threats.