Norway to Promote Women's Rights In Developing Countries

8/26/2008 // The Norwegian Government launched the new Action Plan for Women's Rights and Gender Equality and Development Cooperation on the International Women's Day, 8 March, 2007.

The new Action Plan shows that Norway wants to be a strong and visible promoter of women’s rights and gender equality in all of its development cooperation efforts. The plan focuses on measures to improve the lives of girls and women.

The launch took place at the Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo, where State Secretary Anne Stenhammer presented the Action Plan. Among the key speakers were Director of UNHABITAT, Anna Tibaijuka and Director of OECD Development Centre, professor Louka Katseli.

“Norway will require all of its cooperation partners, whether they are governments, international institutions or NGOs, to take issues related to women and gender equality seriously,” said State Secretary Anne Stenhammer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Funding is being provided in support of this plan. An additional NOK 390 million of development assistance has been earmarked for measures targeted at women and gender equality. This includes a new allocation of NOK 200 million. NOK 130 million has been earmarked for women-oriented initiatives within Norwegian humanitarian efforts and for peace and reconciliation. A total of NOK 3 billion has been allocated for  development cooperation measures related in some way to projects that have women and gender equality as their primary or subsidiary aim,” Ms. Stenhammer said.

The ambitious plan demands a higher level of awareness and visibility of women’s rights and gender equality incorporated in Norway’s development cooperation efforts. Gender equality involves the redistribution of power, resources and care responsibilities between men and women. The most important force for change is women who organise and mobilise resources to challenge and overcome discriminatory attitudes and structures in their societies. Norway wants to support such agents of change.

This plan is founded on a strong human rights approach, focusing on four main areas:

  • Women’s political rights and participation
  • Women’s economic rights and participation
  • Sexual and reproductive rights and health, included lesbians’ and homosexual’s rights
  • Violence against women

At the same time, the action plan outlines concrete measures and targets for integrating the gender perspective into the other main priority areas for our development cooperation: Peace building, human rights and humanitarian assistance; good governance; environment and sustainable development; oil and energy management.

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