United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

UNIFEM South Asia Office


(Framework for Action in the South Asia Region)

In South Asia, UNIFEM’s overarching goal is reducing feminized poverty and exclusion by promoting the realization of women’s human rights and human security


Focus area: To reduce feminized poverty and exclusion, UNIFEM’s programmes focus on:

  • Engendering the PRSP processes, National Action Plans, statistical systems, National Development Plans, and reporting on the MDGs  

  • Developing national and local capacities in gender responsive budgeting, leading to more equitable budgetary allocations

  • Highlighting women’s work and their economic contributions by engendering Census exercises

  • Building women’s capacities and improving their access to larger markets and financial products and services.

  • Building the capacity of networks and institutions of home based and informal sector workers to promote rights and security of women workers

  • Establishing a new discourse in protecting and promoting the rights of women migrant workers as well as highlighting their contribution

  • Moving women up the value chain of production

  • Engendering micro-finance institutions and business development services to effectively support women producers

  • Building capacity of key policy makers to address women’s concerns within trade frameworks

  • Supporting rehabilitation of women’s livelihoods in disaster recovery processes, working in partnership with multiple stakeholders

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Focus Area: To achieve gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace and in recovery from war, UNIFEM focuses on:

  • Promoting and strengthening women’s leadership to ensure their equal rights in building nations, while shaping constitutions, policies and resources that affect their lives and choices

  • Facilitating the development of gender sensitive governance frameworks, during peace processes and post conflict reconstruction

  • Advancing gender sensitive policies and legal frameworks through inter-governmental regional accountability mechanisms on women’s rights

  • Facilitating accountability to BPFA, CEDAW, MDGs and SC1325 throughout the region

  • Increasing the incorporation of a gender perspective into reporting and implementation of international treaties and obligations, in particular CEDAW

  • Building capacity to report, monitor and implement CEDAW

  • Increasing capacities to access justice and support services

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Partnerships: UNIFEM works in partnership with governments, women’s organizations, the SAARC Secretariat, National Human Rights Commissions, Planning Commissions, statutory bodies, research institutions, civil society organizations, national and international NGOs, IFAD and the UN System, bilateral and multilateral agencies.

Within the UN System: UNIFEM catalyzes the recognition of women’s agency, the empowerment of women and gender justice within the UN system, by building gender sensitivity into the Common Country Assessments (CCA), the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) processes and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Guiding Principles

UNIFEM’s work is guided by the Beijing Platform for Action, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and the Millennium Development Goals. In South Asia, it is also guided by the Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) and the regional mandates, which emerge from the South Asian regional ministerial meetings held to track progress on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Held biennially, these review meetings, are co-hosted by governments, leading to the emergence of a consensus document, which includes a Plan of Action, listing regional priorities. 

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Focus Area: Ending Violence against Women (EVAW)

Women’s human rights are central to all UNIFEM programmes. At the same time, a number of programmes focus specifically on building capacity, raising awareness and facilitating compliance with globally agreed norms and standards to advance women’s human rights. 

  • Facilitating the formulation and implementation of  gender sensitive legislation and policies at national and regional levels.

  • Factoring in issues of VAW in MDG reports and action plans, National Development Plans and UNDAF.

  • Strengthening the capacity of key national and regional institutions to effect and implement national EVAW policies, legislation and action plans.

  • Promoting the integration of human rights standards, norms and protocols in the work of law enforcement agencies. and civil society, to protect the rights of women, including trafficked women and survivors of other forms of VAW.

  • Facilitating multi-sectoral responses to violence against women involving multi-stakeholder groups, including men, UN organizations, inter-faith groups, private sector, and mass media.

  • Building the capacity of religious groups, men’s organizations, civil society and the private sector to effectively advocate against gender based violence.

Regional Anti Trafficking Programme

UNIFEM promotes well-defined preventive, protective and rehabilitation strategies to combat trafficking. In keeping with the programme’s key objective of enhancing data and knowledge base on trafficking, UNIFEM has partnered with premier research institutions and human rights bodies in the region. Using an effective communications strategy, it works to prevent cross-border trafficking, to deter trafficking in tourist destinations, working closely with the media, law enforcement agencies and justice delivery systems.

Promoting increased regional cooperation to eliminate trafficking of women and girls, it  works to build the capacity of anti-trafficking networks.

UN Trust Fund in Support if Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women

The UN Trust Fund in support if Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women was established by General Assembly resolution 50/166 in 1996 and is managed by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The Trust Fund is the only multilateral grant-making mechanism that supports local, national and regional efforts to combat violence

v     Complete list of grantees in South Asia 1997-2006

    Complete list of Trust Fund Grantees in South Asia 1997 - 2006

  v     For more details check -  




Not a Minute Before - Brochure

Gender and HIV/AIDs

UNIFEM ensures that gender equality is the guiding principle in the fight against HIV/AIDS. It builds national capacities to review existing laws and policies related to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in order to identify provisions that need to be revised; it brings a gender equality and human rights perspective in its work with National AIDS Councils, UN Agencies, women’s and government organizations at regional and national levels; it spearheads holistic strategies to address HIV/AIDS, by drawing links to violence against women, feminized poverty and other vulnerabilities due to physiological, economic and socio-cultural reasons.

It plays a crucial role in catalyzing strategic linkages amongst diverse stakeholders, including women’s organizations, NGOs, community collectives, panchayat representatives, media agencies and the government. At the community level, UNIFEM works toward equality between women and men in an effort to lower HIV/AIDS prevalence rates and transform gender relations based on power.



Catalyzing gender mainstreaming within the UN system, by building gender sensitivity into the Common Country Assessments and UNDAF processes, and the Millennium Development Goals.