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WMO policy on gender mainstreaming
Text extracted from WMO-No. 1077, Abridged Final Report of Cg-16, Annex XII

1. General

1.1 Purpose
The purpose of this WMO Policy is to promote, encourage and facilitate gender equality across WMO and to establish a mechanism by which progress can be measured.1

1.2 Definitions
1.2.1 For the purposes of this Policy, WMO has adopted the definitions relating to gender mainstreaming adopted by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and for gender and gender equality those developed by the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women.

1.2.2 Mainstreaming a gender perspective was defined by the ECOSOC agreed conclusions 1997/2 of 18 July 1997 as "the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels. It is a strategy for making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality”.


Gender refers to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationships between women and men and girls and boys, as well as the relations between women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialization processes. They are context/time-specific and changeable. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and valued in a woman or a man in a given context. In most societies there are differences and inequalities between women and men in responsibilities assigned, activities under-taken, access to and control over resources, as well as decision-making opportunities (ref.: United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women).
Gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. Equality does not mean that women and men will become the same but that women’s and men’s rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equality implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity of different groups of women and men. Gender equality is not a women’s issue, but should concern and fully engage men as well as women. Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centred development (ref.: United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women).

1.3 The WMO Vision on Gender Equality
1.3.1 The WMO vision is to provide world leadership in expertise and international cooperation in weather, climate, hydrology and water resources, and related environmental issues, and thereby to contribute to the safety and well-being of people throughout the world and to the economic benefit of all nations.

1.3.2  The gender perspective of this vision is to realize fully the professional and human potential of both women and men through equal employment opportunities (see paragraph 3.3.2(a) below) and to provide improved environmental services that are responsive and sensitive to women’s and men’s needs and will make a difference to their lives.

2. Rationale for the WMO Policy on Gender Mainstreaming

2.1  Gender mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy in the United Nations (UN) for promoting gender equality. The UN has taken specific actions to eliminate gender discrimination. Such actions include, among others: the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, ECOSOC agreed conclusions 1997/2; the United Nations General Assembly resolution 52/100; and more recently the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) No. 3: “Promote gender equality and empower women”.

2.2  As a specialized agency of the UN System, WMO is committed to this strategy and has to date conducted two global surveys on gender issues and convened two conferences on women in meteorology and hydrology, in 1997 and 2003, respectively. These produced a number of recommendations and areas for action. These recommendations, together with Resolution 33 (Cg-XIV, Geneva, May 2003) of WMO, were taken into account in drafting this Policy at the Expert Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming, which was held in Geneva, Switzerland, March 2007, with participants from different Regions and representatives of the WMO technical commissions.

3. The WMO approach to gender mainstreaming

3.1 Goal
The overall goal is to achieve gender equality. The provision of enhanced and gender-sensitive environmental services will contribute to an improved response to humanitarian needs related to weather, climate and water.

3.2 Strategy
In order to achieve this goal, WMO will adopt a three-pronged approach. First, gender mainstreaming is intended to ensure that the diverse needs and experiences of women and men will be factored into employment, policymaking and the provision of services. Second, genderspecific interventions will be undertaken, where appropriate, based on the results of previous WMO gender analyses. Third, a mechanism will be set up to oversee gender mainstreaming activities at all levels.

3.3 Objectives
3.3.1 WMO’s three Top-Level Objectives (TLOs) are as follows:

(a) To produce more accurate, timely and reliable forecasts and warnings concerning weather, climate, water and related environmental parameters;
(b) To improve the delivery of weather, climate, water and related environmental information
and services to the public, governments and other users;
(c) To provide scientific and technical expertise and advice in support of policy and decisionmaking and implementation of the agreed international development goals and multilateral agreements.

3.3.2 In relation to the above objectives, the WMO Policy on Gender Mainstreaming focuses on providing balanced and equal opportunities in employment and delivery of environmental services and will provide a foundation for gender-sensitive actions as follows:

(a) Employment:

(i) Use of balanced recruitment, selection and retention practices;
(ii) Provision of equitable working conditions (leave, hours of work, pay, facilities, retirement and other benefits);
(iii) Equal opportunities for training at local, regional and international levels;
(iv) Provision of fair opportunities for promotion;
(v) Equitable distribution of work responsibilities at all levels;
(vi) Balanced work/life arrangements for differing personal/family situations;
(vii) Equal opportunities for the participation of women and men in WMO activities and programmes;
(viii) Inclusion of women and men in decision-making on employment issues;

(b) Provision of environmental services:
(i) Access to, and interpretation and use of, information and services;
(ii) Effective participation in public education and awareness activities;
(iii) Gender balance in user participation in WMO activities;
(iv) Effective consideration of diverse user needs.

3.4 Framework for Action
This Framework provides guidance and direction for WMO and its Members. The four main elements of this Framework are:

(a) Governance:

(i) Visible support, accountability and transparency from top-level management in ensuring gender equality;
(ii) Provision of adequate resources for gender mainstreaming activities in regular budget planning;
(iii) Inclusion of gender equality in all communications and consultations with stakeholders;
(iv) Promotion of more clear communications between countries on gender equality issues;
(v) Development of gender-sensitive human resource policies;
(vi) Appointment of gender focal points at all WMO levels to address gender-specific issues;
(vii) Establishment of a mechanism to direct gender mainstreaming activities;

(b) Employment:

(i) Implementation of gender-sensitive actions in the areas of recruitment, selection and promotion and balancing work with life;
(ii) Implementation of gender-sensitive
(iii) Provision of equal opportunities for in-career education and training for the
professional development of all staff;
(iv) Development and implementation of outreach programmes to promote meteorology and hydrology and related sciences as attractive careers for women and men;

(c) Enhanced service delivery:

(i) Consideration of the specific needs of women and men when providing timely and effective services;
(ii) Active involvement of women and men in designing services for users;
(iii) Attention to gender equality when selecting participants for user forums;
(d) Effective monitoring and evaluation:
(i) Collection and analysis of data on gender issues;
(ii) Annual evaluation of and feedback on progress in gender mainstreaming by NMHSs;
(iii) Assessments of the impact of the implementation of the WMO Gender Mainstreaming Policy;
(iv) Sharing (communication) of best practices on gender mainstreaming between NMHSs and international organizations;
(v) Accountability and continuous improvements in the elements of the framework.

3.5 Implementation
3.5.1 The success of this Policy depends on the commitment of WMO and its Members. This Policy will be implemented by the national and international collective and coordinated activities of WMO’s major Programmes, regional associations, technical commissions and Members, including NMHSs.

3.5.2 Owing to the political, cultural and socio-economic differences between Members, it is essential that NMHSs develop action plans that are appropriate for addressing their local needs. The above Framework is intended to assist in carrying out this Policy.

3.6 Roles and responsibilities
The responsibility to ensure the effective implementation of this Policy is shared as follows:

(a) The Permanent Representatives of Member countries with WMO and the Secretary-General have the ultimate responsibility for the implementation of this Policy at their respective levels;
(b) All individual staff members, policymakers, service providers and gender focal points should carry out their activities in the spirit of the gender mainstreaming approach as described in this Policy.

3.7 Monitoring
3.7.1 The implementation of this Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis by an appropriate mechanism.
3.7.2 Progress will be reported to the Secretary-General, who will relay the information to Member countries and report to the Executive Council and Congress.


1 Throughout this document, all references to WMO encompass the Secretariat and its programmes, National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS), technical commissions and regional associations. [back]

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