The Gender Team at the United Nations Office Vienna and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNOV/UNODC) was established in the Director-General/Executive Director’s Office in 2017 to support, monitor and report on the implementation of the UNOV/UNODC Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (2018–2021). The strategy was adopted in order to have a comprehensive and systematic approach to the global commitments on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It provides an institutional framework approach for the promotion of gender equality and gender mainstreaming throughout UNODC’s programmatic activities and organizational policies and practices.
“The goal is not just about numbers, but about transforming our institutional culture so that we can access and capitalize on our full potential”
Secretary-General António Guterres, 2018
The Gender Team focuses on making institutional mechanisms gender responsive, awareness raising, developing knowledge products and providing training on gender mainstreaming, as well as ensuring that the Offices benefit from and incorporate UN System-wide best practices and lessons learnt . The Team serves as the institutional coordination point for the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the Gender Equality Strategy.
Having an institutional approach to gender mainstreaming requires corporate mechanisms to guide gender mainstreaming efforts and to ensure compliance. To support the implementation of a corporate approach to gender mainstreaming a Gender Strategy Focal Point Network was established. The Network is coordinated by the Gender Team and has representation throughout HQ and the Field Offices; it is comprised of around 100 personnel. The Gender Team and the Focal Points provide technical assistance on gender mainstreaming to colleagues and support awareness raising efforts. Together they ensure that gender considerations are integrated throughout the UNODC pillars of work – normative, technical assistance and research, by forming part of reviewing and approval mechanisms.
Meeting the challenge to advocate the relevance of gender in all thematic areas and to provide practical guidance on the implementation of the strategy, the Gender Team has developed a range of tools, to support staff in their everyday work. To date, there are five thematic briefs on health and livelihood, terrorism, organized crime, justice and illicit trafficking, which offer hands-on practical advice on how to mainstream gender issues in different phases of project implementation and monitoring. The Team has also developed a set of standard gender sensitive and inclusive indicators to support UNODC colleagues to report and monitor progress on global gender equality commitments.
The Gender Team cooperates closely with Gender Focal Points in Vienna-based organizations. The Team also forms part of various UN inter-agency coordination groups on for instance Artificial Intelligence, reviewing Beijing Agenda implementation and the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The aim of this cooperation is to ensure that the Offices benefit from best practices in addition to sharing its own experience on implementing global gender commitments.
The Gender Team develops and provides capacity building on gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment to UNOV/UNODC staff at HQ and Field Offices. These trainings provide a general introduction to of gender equality theory as well as how it is relevant to the UNODC mandate areas. Recognizing that programmatic staff often struggle to find the entry points for gender mainstreaming, the Team also conducts tailormade workshops on practical gender mainstreaming to programmatic staff.