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UNDP trains Belarus officials, NGOs in gender mainstreaming

Minsk, 4 April 2006 - A series of trainings on gender mainstreaming were held by UNDP experts in Minsk last week to facilitate a better alignment of the work of Belarusian legislative and executive authorities, and NGOs with the principles of gender equality.

The trainings provided basic knowledge and skills in gender mainstreaming highlighting its importance in the work of NGOs, legislative and executive authorities.

“Gender equality is a core principle of UNDP. Since the international community vowed to achieve women’s equality and empowerment at world summits and global conferences in 1990’s, UNDP has been greatly involved in helping countries to put these commitments into practice”, UNDP Assistant Resident Representative in Belarus, Alessandro Fracassetti, pointed out.

The trainings were an especially important occasion to coordinate the UNDP gender efforts with counterparts. Training participants learned standard concepts of gender equality and gender mainstreaming that can be applied in their professional activities, and reviewed good and bad practices from other countries. They also discussed areas where gender aspects are not always evident such as ecology, poverty or prevention of drug abuse.

Training participants took a very active part in the discussions, some suggesting that gender awareness is still weak in many areas and that gender issues have to be raised both at the regional and at the national policy levels. Others pointed out that specific budgetary funds should be allocated to implement the “Belarusian action plan for attainment of gender equality”. Many also stressed their wish for more trainings and discussion in the field of gender.

“Just ten years ago, trainings of this kind were attended by men who perceived such workshops as unimportant believing that the problems discussed did not deserve any attention; today instead we have men who take paternity leave... They represent a different generation with a certain gender sensitivity”, Head of Social Communication Department of the Belarusian State University, Olga Tereschenko, said.

Trainings were organized in the framework of the UNDP project “Moving Gender Equality to the Centre of Development Work”. The project is intended to facilitate integration of gender mainstreaming in all areas of UNDP activities in Belarus and to promote it on the country-wide scale. More than 20 national and international experts including specialists from Turkey, Russia, Lithuania, Ukraine and other countries have been involved in the project which has been implemented since June 2005.

For further information please refer to the UNDP Public Information Assistant Vladislav Khilkevich, at +375 17 227 38 17, or Evgenia Ivanova, Manager of the Project “Moving Gender Equality to the Center of Development Work”, at +375 29 710 09 13.

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