Gender equality is an essential part of human rights, which is one of the main pillars of the United Nations (UN) System, in addition to human security and sustainable development.

Gender equality is also an important part of development progress and a prerequisite to advance human development. It is central to the mandate of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); intrinsic to its development approach; increasingly recognized both as an essential development goal on its own and as vital to accelerating sustainable development overall.

Human development approach requires expanding the human welfare and cannot be reduced into economic welfare. Attaining human development requires multifaceted approaches that will encompass not only economic prosperity but also improve people’s well-being by ensuring an equitable, sustainable and stable planet and which aims to greater wellbeing for all. In this approach gender equality becomes vital on the main target as well as a cross cutting issue for all targets.

UNDP’s Strategic Plan (SP) 2014-2017 promotes engagement principles to development and explicitly states that sustainable human development will not be fully achieved unless women and girls are able to contribute on an equal basis with men and boys to their societies. Gender equality is a fundamental and crosscutting issue in all outcomes of the SP, besides being also addressed in a specific Outcome as below:

“Faster progress is achieved in reducing gender inequality and promoting women’s empowerment”. [1]  

Along with the Strategic Plan 2014-2017, UNDP introduced a Gender Equality Strategy that covers the same period and provides detailed guidance for UNDP business units on how to mainstream gender perspectives as they operationalize all aspects of UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2014-2017. The objective is to make sure that empowerment of women is integrated into every aspect of its work.

As in the UNDP Strategic Plan, one Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is dedicated to  gender equality, but it is also integrated within other SDGs as a cross cutting issue:  “Realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (SDG-5) will make a crucial contribution to progress across all the SDG’s and targets. The achievement of full human potential and of sustainable development is not possible if one half of humanity continues to be denied its full human rights and opportunities. Women and girls must enjoy equal access to quality education, economic resources and political participation as well as equal opportunities with men and boys for employment, leadership and decision-making at all levels. We will work for a significant increase in investments to close the gender gap and strengthen support for institutions in relation to gender equality and the empowerment of women at the global, regional and national levels. All forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls will be eliminated, including through the engagement of men and boys. The systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the Agenda is crucial.” [2]

In line with the SDG’s, UNDP in Turkey works for, gender equality and women’s empowerment prioritizing gender equality within all its interventions. This commitment has been well reflected within UNDP Turkey’s key documents.

The UN Development Cooperation Strategy (UNDCS) 2016-2020 has two dedicated Outcomes focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment:

i-Outcome 3.1. “Improved legislation, policies, implementation and accountability mechanisms to enable equal and effective social, economic and political participation of women and girls by 2020.”

ii-Outcome 3.2. “Improved legislation, policies, implementation and accountability mechanisms (on prevention and protection) to promote gender equality and reduce all forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence by 2020”.

Yet, different from the previous UNDCSs, a twin track approach is applied and gender is both mainstreamed into all interventions but also remains as a standalone outcome of the strategy.

Similarly, UNDP Turkey Country Programme Document (CPD), 2016-2020, applies the same approach as the UNDP Strategic Plan and gender mainstreaming is seen as a crosscutting issue. A sole output is dedicated to gender equality but it is also mainstreamed within all other CPD outputs. In line with the UNDP Strategic Plan, CPD for Turkey prioritizes women’s participation to labor market, women’s participation in decision-making processes and elimination of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

With a macro level approach, UNDP mainstreams gender equality and women’s empowerment within all its interventions. Reducing discrimination and enhancing gender-sensitive policy-making through development of inclusive gender-responsive tools are the main goals of the UNDP Turkey CPD. In this respect, strengthening national gender equality machinery and its extension to the local level, targeting regions of greatest inequality are main goals.

Various needs in the field of gender equality and women’s empowerment are introduced in the CPD 2016-2020. It addresses reduction of sexual and gender based discrimination through supporting legal and policy reforms for gender equality, anti-discrimination, women’s and LGBTI individuals’ human rights; providing legal aid for subordinated groups including, displaced  women, LGBTI individuals and girl children and increase their equal access to justice. It also highlights the need for strengthening gender-sensitive policy-making, the national gender machinery and gender mainstreaming for local authorities.  Empowerment of women is also considered as an inevitable dimension. Within the context of development, CDP highlights the following intervention areas: reducing women’s poverty; providing equal participation in decision making; making interventions for women’s greater economic empowerment. 

UNDP Turkey is well aware of the importance of gender equality mainstreaming within the organization in order to realize and achieve the above mentioned areas of intervention. This strategy is therefore prepared to ensure that UNDP Country Office in Turkey has the relevant and adequate capacity, systems and focus of its programme that would allow that the gender equality related interventions are met and UNDP makes substantive and transformative contribution to gender equality in Turkey.


[1] UNDP Strategic Plan, Output 7: “Faster progress is achieved in reducing gender inequality and promoting women’s empowerment”

[2] From outcome document of the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda: “Transforming our World” (para 20. The new agenda)

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