Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for Asia and the Pacific

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Acronyms and abbreviations


Objectives and process

Regional context and priorities

1. Regional gender context

2. Emerging regional trends and challenges

3. Regional priorities, priority programmes and gender equality

4. Priority Programmes

RAP focus areas for gender equality and women’s empowerment

1. Developing improved understanding of gender dynamics in changing agri-food systems

2. Increasing the benefits that women and men receive from FAO and partner programmes in key productive systems, including rice farming, fisheries and aquaculture

3. Advancing gender equality in food and nutrition security programming

4. Improving protection from and resilience to disasters and climate change risks for women and men

Improving intervention effectiveness: mainstreaming gender in projects, planning and M&E



Annex I: RAP gender action plan 2017–2019

Acronyms and abbreviations

ADG/RR Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative

APRC Asia-Pacific Regional Conference

BGRI Blue Growth Regional Initiative

CPF Country Programming Framework

DRR Disaster Risk Reduction

FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

GEP Gender Equality Policy

GFP Gender Focal Points

GGFP Government Gender Focal Points

INDC Intended Nationally Determined Contributions

M&E Monitoring and Evaluation

NDC Nationally Determined Contributions

RAP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

RRI Regional Rice Initiative

SDG Sustainable Development Goal

SP Strategic Programme

UN United Nations

VGGT Voluntary Guidelines for the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry

WEE Women’s Economic Empowerment

ZHC Zero Hunger Challenge Regional Initiative


Progress towards gender equality is key to meeting global goals of eradicating poverty and eliminating hunger and malnutrition. Women make important contributions to agriculture and rural livelihoods and play a vital role in the care and reproduction of households and communities. However, persistent gender inequalities, such as unequal access to productive resources – including land, services and inputs, finance, training – and information to markets and institutions hamper the realization of women’s human and productive potential. These inequalities must be addressed to realize the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the mandate of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and eradicate poverty through sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources.

In recent years, the United Nations (UN) and FAO have deepened their institutional commitment to gender equality. In 2006 the UN Chief Executive Board for Coordination endorsed the UN System-Wide Action Plan to speed inclusion of gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the UN system. FAO formulated the FAO Gender Equality Policy (GEP) in 2012, establishing institutional targets and external objectives for gender equality in rural development, agriculture and resource management (FAO, 2013a). To support the implementation of the FAO GEP and ensure attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment in all its areas of work, FAO also strengthened its gender architecture consisting of a team of experts at headquarters, regional gender advisors and Gender Focal Points (GFP) in country offices.Gender is a cross-cutting theme in the FAO Strategic Framework and its five Strategic Objectives.1 This confirms the organization’s commitment to “pursue the integration of gender issues in all aspects of its work, ensuring that attention to gender equality becomes a regular feature of work on standard setting and of regional, subregional and country level programmes and projects” (FAO, 2013b, 20).

In the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, gender equality is mainstreamed as well as being included as a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) (SDG5), which aims at gender equality, including in representation and decision-making and in access to economic resources, inheritance, and natural resources.2 FAO further recognizes rural women as agents of change whose engagement is necessary to meet the other SDGs (FAO, 2015). This Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) builds on and supports these efforts.

Objectives and process

The Regional Gender Strategy aims to provide focus for the FAO gender-related work in Asia and the Pacific and identify delivery mechanisms for the period 2017–2019. The main objectives of the strategy are to: 1) establish regional priorities to support gender equality in alignment with the FAO GEP and Strategic Framework; 2) outline delivery mechanisms, roles and responsibilities; and 3) improve the visibility of RAP’s gender work and encourage knowledge generation and the sharing of results.

The regional strategy encompasses work at both the regional, and country level. Because the agricultural, socioeconomic, and gender contexts in the Asia-Pacific Region are so diverse, the strategy does not attempt to map out all gender work that will take place in all countries and technical areas. Rather, it maps out areas of common focus to which many countries in the region can contribute. Individual countries and technical teams will need to assess their situation and develop specific activities to meet local needs and opportunities within the context of the GEP and the Regional Strategy. The Strategy is also specific to the time period at hand: it focuses on what needs to be done in the next four years to move RAP towards the FAO longer-term gender equality goals and ultimately the achievement of the SDGs.

Process: The Strategy was developed with feedback and input from regional and country office staff and headquarters, and endorsed by the Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative (ADG/RR) for Asia and the Pacific. Initial drafts were prepared by a consultant in collaboration with the Regional Gender Officer, drawing on: 1) review of the GEP and other global FAO documents on gender; 2) the Regional Gender Stocktaking report, including a survey of government counterparts conducted for the stocktaking; 3) the Regional Gender Workshop report (FAO, 2015); and 4) the outcomes of the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference (APRC)^3^, regional initiatives concept notes, and other regional documents.

Audience: The Gender Strategy is intended primarily for RAP, country offices, and project staff. It will identify areas where specific programmes can support the gender objectives, outlining roles and responsibilities. For regional partners, the strategy will provide a clear understanding of the FAO strategic priorities and planned work on gender throughout the region in the medium term.

Timeframe: The duration of the strategy is four years and will be reviewed at midpoint and adjusted if necessary. Supporting gender equality is an ongoing process to which different countries and technical areas may contribute with a variety of efforts and at their own pace.

Regional context and priorities

1. Regional gender context

Women make essential contributions to agriculture across Asia and the Pacific, comprising between 40 and 50 percent of the agricultural labour force in East and Southeast Asia and around 30 percent in South Asia. In China and India, women make up one fifth of fishers and one fourth of fish farmers and they are responsible for marketing up to 60 percent of all seafood (FAO, 2012). In Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, women provide up to half of the total labour in rice production (CGIAR, 1995). Agriculture is also the primary provider of employment for women in the region. In South Asia, agriculture engages close to 70 percent of all working women (FAO, 2011a).

Despite contributing significantly to the rural economy, women face multiple gender-related constraints and inequalities, such as unequal access to land and productive inputs as well as unequal participation in personal, family, and community decision-making. Women represent on average only 10 percent of all agricultural landholders in Asia (FAO, 2016a). The average landholdings of male-headed households are more than twice the size of those of female-headed households in Bangladesh and Pakistan (FAO, 2011b). According to the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index, unequal access to group membership and lack of decision-making power on use of income and autonomy in production pose the biggest constraints on women’s empowerment in Bangladesh and Nepal (IFPRI, 2014).4

The RAP Regional Gender Workshop was held in 20155 bringing together FAO GFPs, Government Gender Focal Points (GGFP) and representatives from civil society and farmers’ organizations. The Workshop highlighted the ways that social and traditional norms, culture and institutions, governing frameworks and markets explicitly or implicitly constrain women in Asia and the Pacific. It identified the following areas where work is needed to advance gender equality, including:

• Increasing understanding of gender context;

• Capacity development on gender that addresses existing gender inequalities by increasing women’s access to and control over resources and markets;

• Increasing the voice of women and their participation in rural institutions and decision-making bodies; and

• Building partnerships and awareness.

2. Emerging regional trends and challenges

The agricultural context in Asia and the Pacific is diverse and undergoing rapid transformation, with increasing competition over land use and decreasing natural resource availability. RAP has identified several emerging regional trends which affect agriculture, food security and natural resource management in the region and hence RAP’s technical work. These were shared with member countries at the APRC and include:

1. Shifting demographic structures in rural communities, along with migration, feminization of agriculture, and aging of the rural population

Migration is increasing in many Asian countries. In some cases, especially in South Asia, it is predominantly men who migrate from rural communities, leaving women in charge of managing farms and households and resulting in a feminization of agriculture. For example, in Nepal, the share of female agricultural employment went from 35 percent in 1980 to about 50 percent in 2010 (Slavchevska, Kaaria and Taivalmaa, 2016). The female share of the agricultural labour force has also increased dramatically in Pakistan, where it is now almost triple the rate in 1980, and in Bangladesh where it now exceeds 50 percent (FAO, 2011b). This phenomenon creates opportunities, but also challenges for the women who stay on the farm. Women may take on new tasks and have more say in the household or farm; but also need more training and services and face additional work and time burdens. Migration changes the demographic structure of rural communities and can lead to labour shortages, since working-age people are more likely to migrate, leaving elders and young children behind. As a result, older people, particularly older women, must take on more work.

2. Changing agri-food systems, mechanization of production, and commercialization of agriculture

The Asia-Pacific region is home to 70 percent of the world’s family farmers, most of whom operate small-scale farms (FAO, 2016b). Across Asia and the Pacific the trend is to wards increasing mechanization and commercialization of agricultural production. New mechanized production models and market-linked value chains present opportunities for farmers to expand existing farming operations and access paid labour. However, some farmers, particularly those with the smallest holdings, the land-poor, and the landless, are at risk of being displaced by larger operations and may be disadvantaged in accessing markets and contracts. Women in particular may lose control of productive activities they once dominated such as, for example, small livestock production (Doss, 2011). Commercial production may increase household in come overall, but can potentially change the share of income women control in the household, or affect household nutrition, if it displaces food crops previously grown by women.

3. Climate change, extreme weather and environmental degradation

Climate change and associated phenomena threaten rural populations throughout the region with changing temperatures and precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and increased vulnerability to natural disasters. These in turn affect food availability, livelihoods, assets, and health and may have far reaching social impacts. Women and men will be affected by and respond differently to the challenges of climate change. How gender roles and relations impact resilience building programmes, disaster preparedness and livelihood restoration initiatives will be different in different environmental and social contexts, but effectively analysing these and engaging women and men is important to ensure the effectiveness of these programmes. Additionally, environmental degradation may also increase women’s work by making access to water and/or fuel more difficult, time consuming, or more costly. Access to gender-responsive technologies and modern energy sources reduce health and safety problems associated with energy acquisition and use (SE4All, 2015) and can reduce the time women must work as well as the burden of that work.

4. Widening income disparity and social inequalities

The benefits of economic growth, especially in fast growing economies, are not evenly distributed. The rural poor, ethnic minorities, some castes, indigenous peoples, and other marginalized groups are at risk of becoming even further marginalized by uneven growth. Women – especially those in female-headed households – and ethnic minorities are more vulnerable to shocks, such as price volatility and decreased food availability. As income disparity and social inequalities worsen in the region and traditional rural safety net systems are disrupted by migration and demographic shifts, providing social protection measures becomes more important.

These trends will be further shaped by increased globalization, trade liberalization and agreements, and regional collaboration. Specifically, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community integration will change labour markets, trade, migration and governance, with the potential for both negative and positive impacts on gender equality.

3. Regional priorities, priority programmes and gender equality

The APRC identified regional priorities for the FAO work in support of member countries in Asia and the Pacific. The primary mechanisms for addressing these priorities are the Country Programming Frameworks (CPF) and the Regional Initiatives under the various Strategic Programmes (SP). The main priorities are:

1. Addressing hunger and malnutrition

The Zero Hunger Challenge (ZHC) addresses this priority by supporting national food security policies, strengthening data collection and analysis, and promoting nutrition-sensitive interventions. As key producers, procurers and primary preparers of food and those most closely involved with child nutrition, women play a key role in nutrition and food security. The Zero Hunger delivery team has identified raising awareness of gender equality with key decision-makers and supporting the engagement of organizations that support gender equality in the formulation of national nutrition policies as ways to address gender equality within the initiative and more broadly.

2. Supporting rural livelihoods through increasing efficiency and yield of rice production

The Regional Rice Initiative (RRI) aims to improve the sustainability of rice production by promoting more productive and sustainable rice production practices, supporting farmer field schools, and policy processes such as the formulation and implementation of national rice strategies. The RRI contributes to RAP’s broader Regional Rice Strategy. The important role of women in rice production has been well documented. The Regional Rice Strategy identifies several ways in which the role of women in rice production can be supported to achieve more sustainable and efficient production, including training women for new tasks and jobs and introducing mechanization and practices to reduce the burden of women’s work.

3. Sustainable intensification of aquaculture and fisheries

The Blue Growth Regional Initiative (BGRI) aims to increase the resilience of farmers and fishers through inclusive aquaculture and fisheries value chains and by improving access to quality production inputs, technologies and markets. Women play important roles in aquaculture and, in some places, fishing production and value chains. However, not enough information and data is available on women’s contributions within aquaculture, fisheries and related value chains and how programming in these areas can best support women’s economic empowerment (WEE). Knowledge generation and strengthened gender analysis prior to designing interventions can support better integration of gender concerns and identification of entry points for WEE in aquaculture and fisheries value chains.

4. Developing inclusive local value chains for food security and nutrition

Several country-level programmes address value chains, including gender-inclusive value chains. The Regional Initiative for Developing Value Chains for Food Security and Nutrition in the Pacific Islands seeks to achieve greater food security and improved livelihoods by supporting the transition of semi-subsistence farmers into more commercial production by improving access to markets. Developing regional policies and institutions that encourage agribusiness development as well as creating an enabling environment at the country level would help improve access to markets. Women in the Pacific are active in many value chains, including production and marketing of produce and tourism. However, they face barriers to market access, including discrimination and social customs, mobility constraints, and lack of networks or capital. To ensure equality and inclusiveness, it is important to address gender concerns in value chains both at the policy level as well as in local-level programming.

5. Data and analysis for decision-making

Increasing the availability of data and analysis for decision-makers to formulation effective policies and programmes is a regional priority that cuts across RAP’s programming. Data on the status of women and their roles in agriculture and rural economies in the region are fragmented and not systematically collected. This, in turn, encourages the use of inaccurate data and by and large creates missed opportunities for accurate measurement of change and evidence-based programming and policies.6 In many sectors, for example, fisheries and aquaculture, data are limited and rarely disaggregated by sex (FAO, 2012). When official statistics do provide sex-disaggregated data, they often undercount the participation of women in the labour force by considering some activities – for instance onshore fishing net preparation and mending tasks – as domestic work instead of productive work. Data are needed on the importance of the contributions of both women and men to local economies and production systems and the different roles and needs of men and women. FAO can support the collection, analysis and use of sex-disaggregated data as well as supporting increased national capacity for gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation (M&E), particularly in relation to the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. A key component in this effort is work to increase awareness, especially among government counterparts, of the gender dimension in the formulation, implementation, and M&E of plans, programmes and projects.

4. Priority Programmes

Two major multi-disciplinary priority programmes, which will be a focus of RAP’s efforts in the upcoming four years, are currently in the planning and development stage. These programmes will address many of the regional priorities above. They are:

1. Scaling-up action on climate change and agriculture

Planning is underway at RAP for a cross-disciplinary effort to develop and implement a regional programme to support member countries in addressing the 2030 Agenda on climate change and food security through climate finance. In order to contribute to efforts to address the drivers and impacts of climate change, countries developed Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), identifying actions to scale-up adaptation and enhance the productivity and resilience of agricultural systems.7 Assessing vulnerabilities, coping strategies and adaptation from a gender perspective is an integral part of adaptation plans and resilience building. If structural constraints that hamper women’s access to resources, knowledge, technologies and services are removed, their full potential as “agents of change” in climate change adaptation can be harnessed.8 Resilience building efforts that do not take into account gender differences risk having limited impact and sustainability.

2. One Health

One Health will address food systems and trade, enhancing the overall health of humans, animals, plants and the environment and fostering economic development through food safety and trade.9

In the period 2017–2019, One Health will aim to increase food security and reduce public health as well as animal and plant disease risks by understanding the drivers and risks, developing and implementing risk mitigation policies, building capacity, ensuring preparedness, and facilitating partnerships and coordination. Given women’s key role in food systems – from food production, sales and procurement, as well as food preparation and distribution – and in animal rearing, integrating a gender perspective into the programme will be key to enhancing its potential to scale up and have a serious impact on the lives of women and men, as well as their rural communities.

RAP focus areas for gender equality and women’s empowerment

For the time period 2017–2019, RAP has identified four focus areas for work on gender. The selected areas are those where: 1) there is recognized need for action, drawing on regional priorities identified above; 2) RAP has the opportunity to make a significant contribution to gender equality; and 3) RAP can build on work it has already started, to speed up progress and achieve the desired impact within this time period. These focus areas were developed taking into consideration the regional priorities as well as countries’ recognized gender needs.10

Cumulatively, the focus areas aim to: 1) improve RAP’s institutional capacity to promote gender equality and implement programming that supports gender equality; 2) support the capacity of partner organizations to implement inclusive rural development that serves women more equitably; and 3) increase the number of women reached by the overall equity outcomes of FAO programming in Asia-Pacific.

1. Developing improved understanding of gender dynamics in changing agri-food systems

The regional trends identified above will affect men and women differently and may lead to changes in social and gender roles. Understanding who will benefit from these changes and who is at risk of being left behind is critical for sustainable and inclusive growth. In particular, there is a need to understand how different women and men11 will be differentially impacted by change; how gender roles are changing in production and value chains; and how to mitigate the risks faced by women and men. RAP can make a strategic contribution not only to its own programming but to that of counterparts and other agencies by providing an up-to-date understanding of how these emerging trends will affect different groups, including women in different socioeconomic and ethnic groups.12

To strengthen understanding of the gender impacts of ongoing regional change, RAP will include analysis of the impact of change on gender equality and rural women’s empowerment in its upcoming analysis of the impact of key regional trends on agriculture and food security. Focus will be placed on the implications for gender roles, the differential impact the changes will have on men and women and new entry points for supporting men and women’s production and well-being. The knowledge generated will be used to make the programmes of FAO and its counterparts more responsive and effective and to increase their benefit to women and men.

Expected outputs

For the regional analysis, RAP will: 1) formulate the specific areas of information around regional trends and gender equality, which are needed to support the work of FAO technical staff and counterparts; 2) draft a report on key results and findings; 3) disseminate results and findings as widely as possible to FAO technical staff, other UN agencies and organizations, and member-country counterparts; 4) identify key areas linked to RAP programming where more research might be needed; and 5) explore opportunities for systematising and analysing existing information and data. Expanded awareness, knowledge and use of findings in FAO and counterpart programmes in different technical areas are the longer-term outputs.

Implementing modalities and responsibilities

This work will be coordinated primarily through the RAP ADG/RR, Strategic Programme Coordinator and Strategic Advisor. Other staff and counterparts, such as country office staff, GFPs and technical staff in the identified priority areas will contribute as necessary.

Technical and programme staff in the technical areas covered will be responsible for using the results to better support gender equality within their programmes, as well as developing gender-sensitive M&E.

2. Increasing the benefits that women and men receive from FAO and partner programmes in key productive systems, including rice farming, fisheries and aquaculture

RAP will build and share knowledge on the gender dimension of key production and value chain systems, particularly aquaculture and fisheries and rice, and identify key areas that could contribute to WEE. To effectively implement aquaculture programmes, information is needed on how gender inequalities, roles, and relations impact the production, distribution and marketing of fish products, the gender division of labour and entry-points for women and men throughout the value chain. More research has been done into the gender dimensions of rice production and the Regional Rice Strategy provides some recommendations on reaching women farmers via rice programming. However, work is still needed to adopt findings on gender into ongoing programming.

The purpose of these efforts will be to improve the ability of aquaculture and fisheries, rice, and mixed rice/aquaculture programming to benefit both women and men via the BGRI and RRI country-level programmes.

Expected outputs

Work on expanding understanding of the gender dimension of aquaculture will be carried out through: 1) a study of WEE in aquaculture in two countries (Indonesia and Bangladesh), which is already underway and uses a case-study methodology; 2) a comparative study on the gender equality dimensions of rice-shrimp and rice-rice farming systems in Vietnam; 3) a planned study to support the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security in Myanmar; 4) dissemination of results of data collection and analysis within FAO and its partners; and 5) networking on gender in aquaculture and fisheries at events such as the Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries. Together, these activities contribute to strengthening the gender dimension in country-level programmes and the BGRI.

In rice programming, the RRI will consider the recommendations contained in the Rice Strategy and other ways to support women’s participation, including country studies to document women’s contribution to rice systems, and the promotion of rice and aquaculture-based labour-saving technologies and practices that are suitable for women. For programming in both areas, gender-sensitive M&E should be used to monitor women and men’s participation in the programme, including the benefits the programme delivers.

Implementing modalities and responsibilities

The regional gender team, in collaboration with technical staff in fisheries and aquaculture, will be responsible for moving this work forward, with the collaboration of staff working on relevant programmes. The headquarters-based gender team and fisheries team will collaborate in the process. Technical and programme staff involved in aquaculture and the BGRI will be responsible for using the results.

Technical staff and programme staff contributing to the RRI and under SP2, 3 and 4 will identify ways in which existing programmes can promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, including through gender-sensitive M&E so that gender differentiated results can be reported.

3. Advancing gender equality in food and nutrition security programming

In nutrition and food security policies and programming (e.g. the Zero Hunger Initiative and related networks), FAO will raise awareness and promote gender equality, particularly in areas related to nutrition-sensitive agriculture, food loss and food waste, nutrition-sensitive social protection and women’s work burden.

Expected outputs

Within the ZHC, RAP will raise awareness of gender equality, including within the context of the joint SP1-SP3 nutrition-sensitive social protection and nutrition-sensitive agriculture initiatives. A regional social protection workshop and training for nutrition focal points are already planned under these initiatives where gender equality dimensions in nutrition and food security will be addressed. At the country level, contribution to this focus area will come from the “Role of Women in Reducing Food Waste and Food Losses” project, planned under the 2016–2020 CPF of Indonesia and a planned study in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on the linkages between nutrition interventions, women’s work burden and social protection measures.

Implementing modalities and responsibilities

The ZHC team together with the SP1 staff will be responsible for identifying opportunities to mainstream gender equality in policies and programmes, liaising with technical and programme staff in different locations. SP1 and SP3 teams will be responsible for the refinement and implementation of the activities under the joint nutrition-sensitive social protection programme.

Indonesia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic country office staff, together with technical officers in RAP and headquarters, will be responsible for the formulation of the above-mentioned project and study.

4. Improving protection from and resilience to disasters and climate change risks for women and men

The Asia-Pacific region is prone to disasters, extreme weather events and the effects of climate change. RAP and country offices will strengthen efforts to support building the resilience of women and men to face the effects of climate change and disasters, including through the promotion of gender mainstreaming in policies and programmes, gender analysis and planning, and gender-responsive social protection measures. Women can play a key role as “agents of change” in climate change adaptation thanks to their knowledge and expertise on natural resource management and their capacity to engage in innovative and sustainable agricultural practices.13 RAP will work on strengthening the institutional and technical capacity to address gender concerns in climate change policies and programmes and women’s resilience, including through the promotion and adoption of gender-responsive, climate-smart agricultural practices and technologies. In terms of disaster preparedness, women face different risks and problems (e.g. not being able to swim, having less access to information, being responsible for children and the elderly) than men and may be differently impacted by the effects of disasters and climate change.14 When programming in this area, RAP will strengthen systematic integration of gender analysis, mainstreaming and gender-sensitive monitoring and reporting.

Expected outputs

The design for new and ongoing resilience building efforts and disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster recovery programmes will address gender concerns to ensure that interventions are more inclusive of both women and men and of marginalized groups. RAP will proactively seek opportunities to promote women’s empowerment and an enhanced role in the restoration of livelihoods in areas affected by disasters, including through the development of value-adding initiatives, marketing and entrepreneurship. These initiatives may also apply to livelihood restoration programmes following conflicts and man-made disasters. Gender-sensitive M&E will be used to report results for women and men. Through the work under the Climate Change regional programme, efforts will be made to integrate a gender perspective in National Adaptation Plans and in the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) by promoting systematic use of gender analysis, gender mainstreaming and gender indicators.

In RAP programming is already ongoing that will contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment for climate change adaptation and poverty reduction. At the country level, a gender- sensitive DRR policy is included in the 2016-2020 CPF of Indonesia.

Implementing modalities and responsibilities

Regional and country staff working in DRR and under SP5 will be responsible for conducting gender analyses and identifying ways to make programmes more gender responsive, as well as implementing gender-sensitive M&E.

RAP technical staff will be responsible for efforts to mainstream gender equality in the development and implementation of the Climate Change regional programme and climate change related initiatives, including projects under the Global Environment Facility and Green Climate Fund.

The RAP gender team and technical staff will be responsible for raising awareness about the need to strengthen women’s resilience to climate change and poverty.

Improving intervention effectiveness: mainstreaming gender in projects, planning and M&E

In addition to the focus areas above, RAP will continue to strengthen its institutional capacity to mainstream gender, build on the work already started to mainstream gender through its technical areas and programmes, include gender in strategic planning at the country level and develop gender-sensitive M&E.

Strengthening RAP’s institutional ability to mainstream gender. RAP will strengthen the institutional capacity for mainstreaming by continuing to develop the GFP network. Almost all RAP countries have GFPs in place and many also have government counterparts acting as GGFPs. RAP will provide GFPs with additional training in gender issues and gender mainstreaming. A regional stocktaking exercise indicated their need for additional training and support to implement their work.15 This will serve to ensure gender work throughout the region is coordinated and carried out in line with the FAO GEP.

Continued mainstreaming throughout RAP’s portfolio. Technical teams within RAP will continue to expand their work mainstreaming gender equality into programmes in agriculture, rural and social development, livestock, forestry, fisheries, land and water and value chain programming. A few selected areas where work has been ongoing or planned are indicated below:

• Forestry: RAP will build on knowledge developed through a regional assessment and eight country assessments on mainstreaming gender in forestry in Asia and the Pacific, development of a training manual, and regional capacity development workshops in Rotorua and Bangkok. In the up-coming period, RAP will work towards promoting capacity development activities and knowledge sharing on gender and forestry throughout the region.

• Land tenure and natural resource governance: RAP will deepen efforts to promote equality in women’s access to land and participation in natural resource governance. RAP plans to scale up the FAO Capacity Development Programme on Gender and the Voluntary Guidelines for the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry (VGGT), which supports human and institutional capacity development in gender sensitive land tenure governance and the implementation of the VGGTs at national level. This programme has been implemented in Mongolia and will be rolled out in Nepal and other countries. In addition, studies are planned in Cambodia and Myanmar on customary tenure and women’s land rights.

• Gender analysis and policy: RAP will continue to promote gender analysis and mainstreaming as fundamental to ensuring gender equity, inclusiveness and effectiveness. RAP will pilot the Gender in Agriculture Policies Assessment Tool in countries where RAP already collaborates with governments on gender issues, such as Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Nepal. This toolkit assists government and other stakeholders to carry out a participatory process of diagnosis, analysis and reflection on gender equality gaps in policies and implementation with a view towards outlining concrete policy steps to address those gaps.

Gender in strategic planning at the country level. Including gender in the CFPs is the key mechanism through which gender will be mainstreamed into country-level strategic planning. To start, country gender assessments will be done in five countries (Myanmar, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Bhutan) where the process is already ongoing or planned and resources are available. This will support the GEP and RAP’s regional strategy priorities as well as advance member countries’ efforts to promote gender equality and rural women’s empowerment. Knowledge generated under this area will inform programme design in key areas of the FAO mandate in sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security, natural resource management and inclusive rural development. This will in turn enable more effective programming and help RAP to reach out and benefit women and men equally.

Gender–sensitive M&E and reporting. Gender sensitive M&E and reporting are critical not only to be able to measure that programmes are benefitting women equally, but also to continue learning which approaches work. One needed step is to improve the gender content of annual reports, which currently is not systematic. Also, improvement is needed in the ability to track gender in the country and regional level programme portfolios. A second area of work is strengthening the gender sensitivity of project design, M&E and reporting by conducting gender analysis in programme and project design, including gender equality in objectives, and collecting sex-disaggregated data on participation and impact.

Expected outputs

To develop the capacity of GFPs and relevant staff, RAP will undertake: 1) systematic briefings for new FAO Representatives, Assistant FAO Representatives and GFPs; 2) organization of RAP training, particularly online webinars, with key topics including the FAO GEP and knowledge of mechanisms and tools for gender mainstreaming; 3) systematic sharing of guidelines and tools developed by headquarters; and 4) development, sharing and training on the use of country level M&E tools to enhance reporting capacity. In addition, RAP will support the GFPs to develop their work plans in alignment with the regional strategy and to raise funds locally for specific activities.

Gender will be included in plans to support countries in meeting the SDGs. Programming and projects will contribute to gender equality by considering gender roles in programme design and implementation; undertaking programmes which explicitly address women’s as well as men’s needs; supporting the equal access of women and men to resources, training, information and services; working with organizations that promote gender equality; and supporting women and men’s equal participation in rural institutions.

Gender will be considered in strategic planning processes at regional and country level and all new CPFs will include gender discussions. Gender assessments will be conducted in the five countries mentioned above.

New systems and recommendations for reporting developed by headquarters will be promoted and adopted and project-level gender-sensitive M&E will be strengthened within the identified focus areas so that results can be measured and used to identify lessons learned. In addition, RAP will support raising awareness and capacity development of country office staff and key stakeholders focusing on the importance of gender equality data in order to support countries’ efforts to develop indicators for the SDGs and to implement the 2030 Agenda.

Roles and responsibilities

FAO Representatives: Highlight the importance of gender equality with the country office; ensure gender is included in country-level strategic planning and reporting and as a goal within strategic objectives; and support inclusion of gender within the priority areas.

Technical staff working on regional initiatives and relevant programme areas, delivery teams, and strategic objective coordinating teams: Understand the importance of gender inclusiveness; use gender analysis and assessments to inform programme design; include gender equality objectives in programmes; and conduct gender-sensitive M&E, including reporting sex-disaggregated results.

GFPs: Support other staff in accessing information on gender and adopting systematic gender analysis, mainstreaming and M&E and reporting in their areas of work; support formulation of CPFs; liaise with GGFPs and other organizations involved with gender at the country level; participate in gender processes and events; and coordinate regionally through the GFP network.

Regional Gender Officer: Act as a bridge between country officers and the headquarters gender staff to ensure that communication is flowing in both directions; coordinate regional efforts (such as capacity development and the GFP network); liaise with regional organizations; engage in selected gender assessments and programmes; and support GFPs and country offices in the formulation of CPFs in coordination with the Regional CPF Focal Point.

Headquarters gender team: Develop and disseminate guidelines and systems for gender mainstreaming capacity development; coordinate efforts related to corporate monitoring, evaluation and reporting; and support regional gender officer with timely information and relevant resources.


1 These are: 1) contribute to the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition; 2) increase and improve provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry and fisheries in a sustainable manner; 3) reduce rural poverty; 4) enable more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems at local, national and international levels; and 5) increase the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises.

2 For a complete list of all targets, see https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5.

3 The Thirty-third Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific was held in Putrajaya, Malaysia, 7-11 March 2016.

4 The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index is composed of two sub-indexes: the five domains of empowerment index and the gender parity index. The former measures five domains of empowerment: 1) production decision-making; 2) access to decision-making power over productive resources; 3) control over use of income; 4) leadership; and 5) time allocation. The latter (GPI) measures women’s empowerment relative to men in the same household (IFPRI, 2014). The baseline report covered 19 countries with the following 3 countries in RAP: Bangladesh, Nepal and Cambodia.

5 Regional gender workshop 2015 “Challenges and opportunities towards rural women’s empowerment: Agrarian transformations and the changing role of women in agriculture and food systems”, held in Bangkok 7-8 July 2015. The workshop brought together GGFPs, FAO GFPs from 18 countries as well as representatives from civil society, farmer organizations, academia and development partners.

6 “Gender, Agriculture, and the Environment: From ‘Zombie Facts’ to Evidence” presentation by Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute at Penn State University, June 2016.

7 Scaling-up Action on Climate Change and Agriculture in support of the 2030 Agenda in Asia and the Pacific, draft concept note for discussion.

8 RAP draft concept note “Women as ‘agent of change’” for climate adaptation and poverty reduction.

9 Draft programme framework to support One Health in the region.

10 Report of the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Challenges and opportunities towards rural women’s empowerment: Agrarian transformations and the changing role of women in agriculture and food systems, held in Bangkok, 7-8 July 2015.

11 Gender is only one of the social dimensions that creates differential positions and access to opportunities. Therefore it is important to adopt an intersectionality approach that takes into account how gender intersects with other social differences – age, ethnicity, class, etc.

12 This strategy promotes an intersectional approach to gender, taking into account to the extent possible the ways gender interacts with other social differences such as age, ethnicity, religion, class, etc.

13 RAP draft concept note “Women as ‘agents of change’” for climate adaptation and poverty reduction.

14 According to a survey by Oxfam, four times as many women than men were killed in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami-affected areas of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India. Women died because they stayed behind to look for their children and other relatives. Also, women often cannot swim and climb trees, which meant they could not escape. For example, in Sri Lanka, swimming and climbing trees are mainly taught to boys, and this allowed more males to survive during the tsunami. Oxfam. 2005. The tsunami’s impact on women, available at http://www.preventionweb.net/files/1502_bn050326tsunamiwomen.pdf (http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article/asset?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020178.PDF)

15 According to the RAP gender stocktaking, many GFPs and GGFPs have not had capacity building in gender, or do not feel they have high levels of skills in all areas. Capacity development is particularly FAO gender policy, gender in program design, and gender-sensitive M&E.


CGIAR (Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research). 1995. Research from Field to Lab and Back: women in rice farming systems.

Doss, C. 2011. The role of women in agriculture. ESA Working Paper No. 1. Agricultural Development Economics Division. FAO. Rome.

FAO. 2011a. The role of women in agriculture. ESA Working Paper No. 11-02. Rome.

FAO. 2011b. The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-11. Women in Agriculture: closing the gender gap for development. Rome.

FAO. 2012. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012. Rome (available at http://fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e.pdf).

FAO. 2013a. Policy on Gender Equality: Attaining Food Security Goals in Agriculture and Rural Development. Rome. (available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/017/i3205e/i3205e.pdf).

FAO. 2013b. Reviewed Strategic Framework. FAO Conference, Thirty-eight Session held in Rome, Italy 15-22 June 2013. Rome.

FAO. 2015. FAO and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Rome (available at http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4997e.pdf).

FAO. 2016a. Gender and Land Rights Database (available at http://www.fao.org/gender-landrights-database/en/). Accessed 30 September 2016.

FAO. 2016b. Family Farming Knowledge Platform (available at http://www.fao.org/family-farming/regions/asia/en/). Accessed 30 September 2016.

IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institute). 2014. Measuring Progress Toward Empowerment. Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index: Baseline Report. Washington DC.

Slavchevska, V., Kaaria, S. & Taivalmaa, S. 2016. Feminization of Agriculture in the Context of Rural Transformations: What is the Evidence? Working Paper. World Bank.

SE4All (Sustainable energy for all). 2015. Annual report 2014. Vienna.

Annex I: RAP gender action plan 2017–2019

Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for Asia and the Pacific

The Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan aims to provide focus for the FAO gender-related work in Asia and the Pacific and identify delivery mechanisms for the period 2017-2019. The Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan encompasses work at both the regional and country level.

  • ISBN: 9781370227037
  • Author: FAO
  • Published: 2017-02-08 16:20:13
  • Words: 7587
Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for Asia and the Pacific Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for Asia and the Pacific