More than 25 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995), and more than 20 years after the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) adopted its Guidelines for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development Co-operation (1999), the time is ripe for new guidance to incorporate the lessons from these decades of action. Firstly, while “gender mainstreaming” has helped secure attention from policy makers, many recognise it can still be more effectively and holistically implemented and a twin-track approach is needed, with initiatives dedicated to gender equality complementing mainstreaming efforts. Secondly, in order to achieve transformative change, DAC members are increasingly aiming at the root causes of gender and power inequalities, including by working with men to understand masculinities, and taking into account the inequalities intersecting with gender faced by many individuals. Thirdly, in addition to civil society and multilateral organisations, DAC members are increasingly partnering with the private sector, philanthropy and other actors.

This Guidance is for both development co-operation institutions with a long-standing commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and those at the beginning of their journey. The primary audience is policy and programme staff, as well as managers of DAC member systems supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Nevertheless, it was designed to assist all types of development partners.

The Guidance sets out DAC members’ current practices, highlights successful examples, and lays out checklists to deliver effectively on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. It addresses leadership, policy and strategy (Chapter 1), analysis and design (Chapter 2), programme implementation (Chapter 3), financial resources (Chapter 4), monitoring and evaluation (Chapter 5), and finally the institutional set-ups and approaches needed – in human resources, capacity, accountability and incentives for gender equality (Chapter 6).

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