Dr Ayyappan (DG ICAR & Secretary, DARE) is very supportive of the GAP. Following the success of GCWA last year and the issues it raised, ICAR has proposed a new budget allocation, for a total of 10 Crore Rupees (approx. 1.84 million USD) over 5 years, to directly support gender equity actions across its sphere of operation in agricultural research, extension and education and to establish and support a regional GAP Hub for Asia, based at ICAR Delhi and managed through DRWA. This is an excellent case of actions at scale being leveraged through the GCWA and multiple actions among the GAP partners, including APAARI, ICAR and GFAR.
This is an exciting development, which demonstrates clear commitment to the GAP principles in India and also provides much opportunity to provide, and leverage, further financial support for other country programmes across the region. This funding is likely to first become available in mid-2013 subject to approval of the XII Plan proposal by the Government. Though it was announced in the valedictory of GCWA.
India’s commitment is very welcome and provides positive action at a time when the status of women in India is receiving much negative media attention around the world, with a public backlash on violence against women that was even demonstrated by the students at the Conference. It is very good to see such affirmative action towards empowering and directly addressing the needs of rural women in India. This reinforces the value of GAP in addressing needs both within and outside India.
Dr Krishna Srinath retires from DRWA at the end of this month, but an advertisement has already been placed for her successor. She has been appointed an emeritus scientist to ICAR on gender issues, so will be able to continue connection with the GAP, from her new base in Chennai.
Many links now exist with participants in the GCWA 2012 across India and a very useful first step would be to build a collective knowledge base as a hub for these, to share their actions learning and build active networks by focused themes.
The concept note for the funding exists and will be shared by Krishna Srinath, but it is recognized that there will also need to be a meeting/workshop as the funding comes on stream, to prioritize practical areas of work as the programme commences.
It was agreed that at least 3 immediate international linkages should be pursued, in addition to the GAP actions to deliver greater gender equity in India:
Support to gender-based reform processes, as requested to GFAR for GAP by the Nepal Agricultural Research Council and which aligns with the UN programme on Accelerating Progress Toward the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women
Uma Lele is to visit IRRI and the Asian Development Bank in the next few weeks and will discuss potential collaborative activities in the SE Asia region.
The recent CGIAR meeting at Worldfish Centre on gender transformative research was well noted and also should provide links involving a range of relevant actions in the region, in particular in the river delta regions.
The NAAS XI National Agricultural Science Congress also provided opportunity for Uma Lele, Krishna Srinath and Mark Holderness to highlight the need for reform to better address the needs of rural women and included a strong focus on nutrition. This also enabled the potential for an AWARD-like process to be fostered in India, through GAP, to provide training in skills and personal empowerment for women researchers and advisers, a priority flagged into the Conference outcomes.