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Promoting gender equality in development co-operation

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Promoting gender equality in development co-operation

The European Community aims to implement a policy of gender equality in development cooperation. The purpose of this regulation is to clarify Community policy, step up activities, and provide financial aid for promoting gender equality. As of 1 January 2007 these rules have been replaced by the Regulation establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation.


Regulation (EC) No 806/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on promoting gender equality in development cooperation


The legal basis for this proposal for a regulation is Article 179 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (EC) which gives the Council the powers to adopt whatever measures are necessary to combat poverty in developing countries, promote sustainable development in such countries and ensure that their economies are integrated into the world economy.

The great majority of the world's poor are women. Promoting gender equality in all age groups, raising the status of women and empowering them, through education in particular, are therefore all essential if poverty is to be reduced in developing countries.

To reinforce the work already done and clarify the promotion of gender equality in development cooperation, Regulation (EC) No 2836/98 needs to be replaced.


The Regulation provides for gender mainstreaming to be included in all fundamental development cooperation policies, which means, inter alia, adopting specific measures to promote the empowerment of women and develop their role in economic, social and environmental matters.

The Regulation also underlines the cross-cutting role of gender equality within the framework of Community development-related financing and introduces support for public and private sector capacities in developing countries which can take ownership of and initiative for promoting gender equality.

Type of activity financed

The types of activities that will be financed include support for measures related to access to resources and services for women (e.g. in education, training, health, economic and social activities, employment, infrastructure, and the participation of women in the political decision-making process); the clearer definition and better analysis of indicators; awareness-raising campaigns and advocacy; and strengthening of the institutional and operational capacities of key players in the development process.

The selection of activities to be financed will depend on their potential to act as a catalyst in support of the strategy of gender mainstreaming in all Community measures. Particular attention will also be paid to strengthening strategic partnerships and initiating the kind of transnational cooperation that reinforces regional cooperation. Efforts to promote synergies with policies and programmes on reproductive and sexual health and rights, poverty-related diseases, programmes linked to HIV and AIDS, measures to combat violence, the education of girls and other issues affecting them, training for women of all ages, the elderly, the environment, human rights, conflict prevention, democratisation, the participation of women in the political, economic and social decision-making process, will also be considered.

Special attention needs to be given to the role of gender mainstreaming in the six sectoral priorities of the Community's development policy and in education.

Financial assistance

The Regulation is applicable until 31 December 2006. A total package of 9 million has been set aside to cover the period 2004-2006. The new budget heading will have to be implemented in such a way as to ensure a more profitable and more sustainable economic outcome. Management of the activities being financed will be supervised by means of a monitoring system in which both the partners and the actors are involved.


Operations under this Regulation must be in line with the gender and poverty aspects of the Community's overall development cooperation policy. Coordination, consistency and complementarity with other aid instruments available to the EC and with the relevant national, regional and international policies will be essential.

When it submits its annual report on the European Community's development policy to Parliament and the Council, the Commission will also provide information on the operations financed during the year under consideration and its conclusions on the implementation of the regulation during that year. One year before expiry of the regulation, the Commission will submit to Parliament and the Council an independent report evaluating overall implementation of the regulation and putting forward proposals as to future operations.


The Declaration and Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 provided the impetus for greater promotion at international level of gender equality in developing countries. The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women considers such discrimination an obstacle to development. Furthermore, the UN millennium summit (in 2000) included gender equality and the empowerment of women among its development objectives.

At Community level, Council Regulation (EC) No 2836/98, which expired on 31 December 2003, was intended to include gender integration in all Community development cooperation activities. An action plan for the period 2001-2006 was then drawn up in order to reinforce gender mainstreaming in the European Union's general framework of development cooperation.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 806/2004



OJ L 143 of 30.4.2004

Last updated: 03.07.2007