Exceptional session

5-23 August 2002

Item 5 of the provisional agenda*

Implementation of article 21 of the Convention on theElimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Reports provided by specialized agencies on the implementation of the Convention in areas fallingwithin the scope of their activities **

Note by the Secretary-General


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

* CEDAW/C/2002/EXC.1.

** The document was submitted late to the conference services without the explanation required under paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution 53/208 B, by which the Assembly decided that, if a report is submitted late, the reason should be included in a footnote to the document.

1.On behalf of the Committee, the Secretariat invited the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), on 19 June 2002, to submit to the Committee a report on information provided by States to FAO on the implementation of article 11 and related articles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which would supplement the information contained in the reports of the States parties to the Convention that will be considered at the exceptional session.

2.Other information sought by the Committee refers to activities, programmes and policy decisions undertaken by FAO to promote the implementation of article 11 and related articles of the Convention.

3.The report annexed hereto has been submitted in compliance with the Committee’s request.


Report submitted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


According to FAO statistics, Guatemala’s population estimate for 2000 was 11,385,000 inhabitants, 49.6 per cent of whom were women. Nearly 60 per cent of the population lived in rural areas. There were 4,142 economically active persons, of whom 46 per cent were working in agriculture and only 8 per cent were women.

Owing to its history, Guatemala has an economic model which is dependent on a limited number of products and vulnerable to changes in the global economy.

The government policy on rural women in Guatemala is a package of guidelines and actions aimed at facilitating the integration of women in agricultural activities. In keeping with the national agricultural policy, it is grounded in the principles of subsidiarity, equity, decentralization, institutional flexibility, solidarity and institutional sustainability.

The aim of the Guatemalan policy on the participation of rural women 2000-2004 is to lay the groundwork for integrating rural women in productive life with a view to ensuring that their gender does not become a barrier to their economic, social and intellectual development.

The overall objective is to integrate rural women into productive development activities by facilitating their access to land ownership and other productive resources and building their capacities of association and organization with a view to improving their socio-economic situation.

To that end, a number of programmes are being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, including:

–the Training Programme for Rural Women,

–programme to lay the strategic groundwork for the integration of rural women in productive development activities,

–the Rural Women’s Agro-development Programme,

–programmes for the development and management of rural women’s entrepreneurial organizations, and

–projects to expand the rural women’s literacy programme.

In 1994, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) began implementing the Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), a multidisciplinary programme aimed at promoting an integrated and participatory approach to development based on food security.

The Special Programme for Food Security was implemented in three Central American countries: Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In Guatemala, the project targets a sector of the population which uses a basic irrigation system serving three neighbourhoods (San Bartolo, San Antonio and Hierbabuena) on the outskirts of the town of Sololá, Department of Sololá. This irrigation unit was built more than 20 years ago and is being used for fruit and vegetable gardening, the main activity of the region’s families.

SPFS has carried out a number of strategic actions in its four components with participation and joint decision-making by the families of the Xibalbay Irrigation Unit. Inequities have been noted, however, in women’s opportunities for participation; thus, a more in-depth strategy has been proposed with a view to understanding the families’ concrete reality through a gender-sensitive diagnosis which can form the basis for planning activities. The activities will promote an awareness-building process which should help to alleviate this situation of inequality within the families.


According to FAO statistics, the population estimate for 2001 was 22.8 million people, out of which 83.4 % lived in rural areas and 83% of women live in the rural areas.

In 2001, it was estimated that 46.5% of the population was economically active, out of which 73% in the agricultural sector. The share of economically active women represented 43.2% out of which about 70% was working in agriculture.

National Action Plan for Women

The gender policy that was approved in 1997 was part of the policy of mainstreaming gender concerns in the national development process. Women play a crucial role in food security and poverty eradication. The Government of Uganda recognized the marginalisation of women and has instituted affirmative action. The Local Governments Act (1997) requires women to form at least one third of persons elected to all levels of local council. The formulated action plan is to address poverty, income generation and economic empowerment, reproductive health and human rights, legal framework and decision-making and girl child education.

There has been more participation of women in decision-making. By 1999 the proportion of women in decision-making positions had increased to 39%. There are more women in politics than those in non-political posts and the proportion of women at local government levels is higher than at Central Government. Boys and girls education is promoted through Universal Primary Education (UPE), which emphasises education for the girl child, children with disabilities etc, as a strategy of economic empowerment of women.

The strategic objectives in Gender are: to increase capacity for integrated community development approaches for sustainable livelihood in 15 of the poorest districts by 2006; increase contribution of culture towards poverty eradication by at least 5% by 2006; and empower women in all spheres of social, economic and political development in order to improve their quality of life.

Although HIV/AIDS is still a critical development problem, Uganda has made significant progress in reducing its prevalence from 31% in 1991 to 14% in 1995 and 6.1% in the year 2000. In the region, Uganda remained a leader on gender issues although there is little impact yet, if any, on the majority of rural women.

FAO work in Uganda

The Integrated Support to Sustainable Development and Food Security Programme (IP) was initiated in March 1998, with funding from the governments of Norway and Finland. The aim of the programme is to enhance sustainable development and food security, through developing a comprehensive human resource base for integrated and collaborative approaches at policy and programme level both within FAO and partner countries.

In Uganda, the focus has been on establishing networks and collaboration between diverse sectors that are working towards food security. Much of the work has been centered around mainstreaming of gender and participatory tools and methods. Several training of trainer's workshops in Socio-economic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) have been conducted, and the National Facilitators have acted as resource persons for national and international organisations in Uganda on gender mainstreaming issues. The IP has collaborated with the Household Agricultural Support Programme (HASP) in training their extension staff in Socio-economic and participatory tools and methods. SEAGA training of trainer's workshops were held for 153 men and women at the district and sub-county level, in the Pallisa, Tororo, Masaka, Rakai and Kabarole districts in May 2000.

The IP in Uganda has brought together partners from the veterinary medicine, research, statistics, extension, farm animal genetic resources, agricultural engineering and others, and has developed activities in line with the national priorities presented at the IP planning workshop in July 1999. The IP has also collaborated closely with the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO), and assisted in the facilitation of a gender sensitisation workshop in the spring of 2000. In collaboration with Buckley High School, Makarere University and other partners, the IP facilitators have presented participatory tools and methods at a seminar for teachers in addition to gender sensitisation activities. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Makerere University has also worked on engendering the curricula through collaboration with the IP.

A one-day meeting for users and producers of data took place in Mukono Agricultural Research and Development Centre in November 2000. The objective of the meeting was to initiate a dialogue among key stakeholders in data production and utilisation and to identify training needs among stakeholders at all levels. The meeting was attended by 55 participants from relevant organisations in Kampala and from the districts of Lisa, Luwero and Bushenyi. A needs assessment was made on the basis of the information and discussions at the workshop, and this formed the basis for the training workshop on gender disaggregated data that took place in Uganda in the first half of 2001, under the auspices of the IP. The Programme continues to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) on activities related to gender disaggregated data.

At present, FAO is undertaking an HIV/AIDS study in the framework of the IP that will provide insights on the impact of HIV/AIDS on agricultural production (crops, livestock and fisheries) and household food security, and provide information on gender-differentiated impacts, changes in the gender division of labour and on the constraints faced by rural families, and extension services, in addressing the non-health impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Other FAO Projects focused on women, such as the Training in Village Scale Meat Processing, the aims of which were to make meat available as an affordable food item in the diets of rural population in Uganda, through training of rural women in charge of small-scale processing units.

Several Telefood (www.fao.org/food/tf2001/gender-e.htm) projects were implemented as well, such as the Fruit and Vegetable Gardening by Mukungwe Women’s Development Association to promote increased production of fruits and vegetables, fight malnutrition and related diseases and promote crop diversification at household level. Under this project, women in the association in Masaka district were given vegetable seeds, fruit seedlings and related inputs. The Fruit and Vegetable Project by Kyakaliba Women’s Group had the objective of diversifying household income sources with fruit and vegetables production, improve nutrition and encourage the adoption of improved crop varieties in the area. Vegetable seeds, fruit seedlings and related inputs have been delivered to women’s group beneficiaries in Hoima district. The project promoted the year’s (2000) World Food Day theme “a Millennium Free From Hunger,” since Hoima district where the project is located hosted the national celebrations. The Household pig farming by Gabulatudde Women’s Group, Mukono promoted pig production through training of beneficiaries and supply of gilts/boars and veterinary drugs and feeds.

Dimitra, an information and communication project implemented by FAO since 1998, collects information on projects concerning rural women, food security and sustainable development. By making this information available, the project aims at increasing the visibility of the contributions of rural women to development via traditional means of communication and new information technologies. Dimitra seeks to increase gender awareness among development actors and to promote information exchange and dissemination. There are twenty four organisations from Uganda listed in the Dimitra database (www.fao.org/sd/dimitra).These organisations have been engaged in a total of 93 projects.


According to the Ministry of Planning and Development, the population of Yemen for 2000 was 18,261,000 people, out of which 50% are women. 74% of the population lived in rural areas and 51,3% of the rural population were women.

In 2000, 3,621,000 people were economically active. The active rural population represented 53,2%, out of which 40,5% were women.

The Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for Yemen (PRSP) has identified the following factors as the main causes for poverty in Yemen: population dynamics and alarming continuous negative growth (-3.5%); scarcity of arable land; scarcity of water; insufficient infrastructure; inefficient civil service; many returnees and refugees; gender-based inequalities; Qat related issues.

The year 2001 has seen the launching of the Second Five-Year Plan (2001-2005). The main agricultural policies of the plan are: a) increase the agricultural production by 5.8% to achieve a better level of food security, and diversify agricultural exports by raising yields and labor productivity, and b) improve farmers’ income. To achieve the aims of the agricultural policies, the Plan has adopted the following strategies: a) promote new farming techniques for crop and animal production, b) provision of agricultural inputs, c) introduce new irrigation techniques, d) construction of small dams, reservoirs, and irrigation canals, e) promote rural women’s activities, f) strengthen cooperation between agriculture, food industry, and agricultural markets, g) enhance private investment in the sector, h) promote agricultural marketing, and i) ensure sustainable development in agriculture.

FAO has assisted the General-Directorate of Planning, Ministry of Agriculture, to assess the socio-economics of Qat, and raise social awareness against the abuse of the plant, carry out field surveys and to assist formulating policy that will help to limit Oat’s expansion. The project also aims to produce data that will contribute in raising the awareness of rural people/rural women on the side effects of Qat planting.

FAO supported the establishment of a National Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System. The long term goal of the assistance is the reduction of food insecurity and vulnerability in the country, where rural populations and rural women would be the main beneficiaries of the project, by identifying their roles and their needs and proposing policies to mitigate the level of poverty in their areas, etc.

With the "Management, Use and Control of Prosopis” project, FAO aims at supporting the Government of Yemen in developing suitable and adapted management strategies and plans for the use and control of Prosopis juliflora in local agricultural systems, with a view to improving household food security and income generation opportunities. The project will also provide proper training to rural communities, especially rural women, on the various methods of using Prosopis juliflora as fodder shrubs and for charcoal use.

On the one hand, with the "Poverty Eradication and Employment Generation - Strategy for Community-Based Regional Development”, FAO assists regional governmental institutions and NGOs in establishing, at the level of local communities, especially rural women, a fully functioning organizational framework and process for participatory planning and implementation of community-based social development / poverty alleviation initiatives in five selected areas, representing, five different ecological zones. On the other hand with “Poverty Eradication and Employment Generation – Local Initiative for Household Food Security" FAO assists local communities, especially rural women, in establishing a fully functioning organizational framework to undertake participatory planning, implement income generating initiatives in selected poor areas, and ensure proper interface with regional government institutions.

FAO assists the Government to attain sustainable socio-economic development through management and development of the water resources of the country in an efficient, equitable and sustainable manner. This project provides extensive training to the rural communities, especially rural women, on modern irrigation techniques that use the water in an efficient manner.

FAO has also financed various small Telefood projects (www.fao.org/food/tf2001/gender-e.htm) in various districts and with the Government of Yemen, in the fields of Group Sheep Fattening and Bee keeping. A priority in selecting partners for executing this micro project was given to the Women’s Associations in the various governorates, such as Sanaa, Ammran, Dhammar, Hodeidea, Hadramout, Ibb.

Finally, Dimitra, an information and communication project implemented by FAO since 1998, collects information on projects concerning rural women, food security and sustainable development. By making this information available, the project aims at increasing the visibility of the contributions of rural women to development via traditional means of communication and new information technologies. Dimitra seeks to increase gender awareness among development actors and to promote information exchange and dissemination. There are 5 projects listed in the Dimitra database (www.fao.org/sd/dimitra) and implemented in Yemen.