The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the global development network of the United Nations, is an organization advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources, in order to help people build better lives. UNDP is on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to national and global development challenges. As countries develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and its wide range of partners.
UNDP’s human, institutional and financial resources, its partnerships and the personal commitment of its staff offer substantial support to iKNOW Politics. UNDP also provides significant expertise, as it plays a key role in issues including: Promoting legislative, electoral and judicial reform to ensure that women’s rights are protected in law and in practice; enhancing women’s participation in the democratic process through decentralization and the bolstering of local governance; championing information and communication technologies as a tool for women’s political empowerment; integrating women’s rights into national development strategies and bringing women’s voices into national and global dialogue.
UNDP supports capacity development of political parties’ female members and independent candidates preparing to enter the political arena. The organization’s Gender Unit provides support to gender policy advisers based in sub-regional resource facilities and country offices; it also facilitates a Global Knowledge Network with a focus on gender equality. This network, comprising over 400 colleagues, 134 gender focal points in country offices and 20 gender specialists of the United Nations Volunteers, will be a critical resource for iKNOW Politics.
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) is the women’s fund at the United Nations. The Fund provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that foster women’s empowerment and gender equality. Placing the advancement of women’s human rights at the centre of all of its efforts, UN Women focuses its activities on four strategic areas: Reducing feminized poverty, ending violence against women, reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls and achieving gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace and war alike.
Since 1976, UNIFEM now part of UN Women has worked to address the concerns and help improve the living standards of women in developing countries, focusing on women’s political participation as one of the pillars of its work. UN Women helps increase the number of women at all levels of government, trains women leaders and equips them with the skills necessary to participate in elections as candidates and voters through 14 sub-regional offices, a wide network of partners and knowledge communities in thematic areas. These communities and networks will link to iKNOW Politics and expand its members’ access to critical resources.
The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) is a non-profit organization working to strengthen and expand democracy worldwide. Calling on a global network of volunteer experts, NDI provides practical assistance to civic and political leaders advancing democratic values, practices and institutions. With over 60 field offices, NDI works with democrats in every region of the world to build political and civic organizations, safeguard elections and promote citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.
Since 1985, NDI has been committed to the pursuit of an equitable, democratic society that meaningfully addresses women’s needs. Its Women’s Political Participation Program is dedicated to increasing the number of women in elected positions and improving women’s leadership in political parties and civil society. To achieve these goals, NDI implements programmes and projects that strengthen women’s skills for engaging in politics, demonstrate that women are impacted differently by public policy and improve the public perception of women in political life.
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) is an intergovernmental organization that supports sustainable democracy worldwide. Its objective is to strengthen democratic institutions and processes.
International IDEA acts as a catalyst for democracy-building by providing knowledge resources and policy proposals, or by supporting democratic reforms in response to specific national requests. It works together with policy makers, governments, United Nations agencies and regional organizations engaged in democracy-building.
International IDEA provides:
- Assistance with democratic reforms in response to specific national requests;
- Knowledge resources in the form of handbooks, databases, Web sites and expert networks; and
- Policy proposals to evoke debate and action on democracy issues.
International IDEA develops comparative analyses and tools to advance the participation and representation of women in political life. Alongside International IDEA’s cutting-edge research on women in politics, its network of academics and practitioners will provide the users of iKNOW Politics with access to a substantial body of experts and information on women’s participation in politics worldwide.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the world organization of parliaments of sovereign states. Established in 1889 as the focal point for worldwide parliamentary dialogue, IPU works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy. Strategies for achieving these goals include: Fostering contacts, co-ordination and the exchange of experience among parliaments and parliamentarians; expressing views on questions of international interest and concern in order to bring about action by parliaments and parliamentarians; contributing to the defence and promotion of human rights; enhancing knowledge of the workings of representative institutions and strengthening and developing such institutions’ means of action.
IPU considers equal participation of men and women in politics a prerequisite for democracy. Since its inception, the organization has strongly advocated and worked to enhance women’s political participation. Its three main objectives are to:
- Increase the number of women in parliament;
- Support and enhance the input of women parliamentarians into the work of parliaments; and
- Enhance the capacity of parliaments to address and defend women’s rights and to promote equality between men and women.
The work of IPU’s Programme for Partnership between Men and Women in Politics includes:
- Conducting continual and extensive research to monitor trends and raise awareness of women in politics;
- Providing technical assistance on projects for women parliamentarians and candidates;
- Providing support to parliaments for programmes that promote women’s rights;
- Cooperating with the United Nations on gender equality programmes to enhance parliamentary input; and
- Convening global and regional thematic meetings of women parliamentarians to facilitate networking and the sharing of experiences and strategies for gender equality.