Mainstreaming a gender perspective means assessing the implications of any planned action for both women and men. This approach seeks to ensure that women and men benefit equally by integrating their experiences and concerns into the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.



In the early 1990s the alternative development projects of UNODC began to specifically include women. Gradually, however, it became clear that treating women as special beneficiaries in alternative development projects meant that women's issues often became mere appendages to development interventions. While policies advocated involving women, they did not necessarily promote gender mainstreaming in policy programmes, project planning and implementation. In line with the mandate given in the Action Plan on International Cooperation on the Eradication of Illicit Drug Crops and on Alternative Development, UNODC strives to improve the gender focus of alternative development projects. The Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming in Alternative Development prepared in 2000 were the first step towards this goal.


  The Guidelines on Gender Mainstreaming in Alternative Development are based on the findings and lessons learned regarding women's issues and gender mainstreaming in selected UNODC alternative development projects. Gender experts have studied project documents and visited project sites in Bolivia (Plurinational State of), the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Pakistan and Peru. During the course of field visits, practices, barriers and constraints with respect to gender were assessed.


Based on the findings of the expert mission and the outcomes of a workshop on gender held at UNODC headquarters in Vienna, a number of goals have been identified for UNODC alternative development programmes:

1. To provide equitable access to alternative development resources and opportunities to men and women, both individually and in groups.
To take measures to ensure women and men's equitable access to and full participation in power structures and decision-making in alternative development programmes.
2. To contribute to the United Nations goal of gender equality in staffing, particularly in higher management positions.
3. To include gender assessment as part of the situation analysis for each alternative development project document.
4. To generate and disseminate gender-disaggregated data through monitoring and evaluation of alternative development projects.
5. To define the implementation and monitoring requirements concerning gender in contractual agreements with executing, implementing and cooperating agencies.



UNODC provides the following recommendations for mainstreaming gender in four key areas:

1. UNODC policy and operations at the country level: Surveys on the drug situation, country profile documents and other basic documents should contain information on the situation with regard to gender. Gender disaggregated data should be part of standard reporting requirements.
2. Alternative development strategies and business plans: Priorities should be identified and alternative development strategies should be based on gender disaggregated data collected in the preparation of country profiles or when conducting drug surveys.
3. Formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of UNODC alternative development programmes and programme modules: For each step of the project cycle, a list of key questions has to be addressed to ensure gender mainstreaming.
4. UNODC staffing policy and management of alternative development projects: Awareness about gender issues should be improved by training target groups such as villagers, Government counterparts at the district and provincial levels, project staff and visiting consultants. Gender focal points could also be identified in selected field offices.