MALE, MALDIVES (21 December 2022) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Maldives today signed a grant agreement amounting to $7.51 million and a technical assistance of $2.5 million for a project to strengthen gender equality and social inclusion in Maldives.

The agreement was signed by Maldives Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Ibrahim Ameer and ADB Director of South Asia Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division Thiam Hee Ng.

This is ADB’s first holistic gender equality project in Maldives and aims to minimize gender-based violence and remove barriers that prevent equal rights, participation, and social and economic benefits for women. ADB’s assistance will help the Ministry of Finance to integrate gender-responsive budgeting into the national budget system, and support efforts by the Maldives Bureau of Statistics to address critical gaps in the collection and use of gender statistics and data disaggregated by sex, age, and disability. It will also fund climate-resilient shelters for domestic violence and gender-based violence survivors in Addu, Hulhumalé, and Raa-Ungoofaaru, and strengthen the capacity of the social service system to provide aged care and early childcare services.

“Maldives has made significant improvement in gender equality in recent years. To complement the Government's gender equality initiatives, the Strengthening Gender Inclusive Initiatives Project is the first ever holistic gender project to be implemented in the Maldives to strengthen the impact of gender-responsive processes, practices, and service provisions at central and decentralized levels," said Mr. Ameer.

“Women and girls must be visible in the government’s data system in order to have equal rights and access to education and resources,” said Mr. Ng. “The collection of quality data related to gender equality and social inclusion, as well as gender-responsive budgeting systems, will reduce disparities by making meaningful investments that tangibly improve the lives of women in Maldives.”

“This project will enable the acceleration of implementing the Gender Equality Action Plan, which has specific goals to eliminate violence against women, increase economic empowerment of women and gender mainstreaming across all sectors. It also adds to achieving Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, concerning gender equality,” said Minister of Gender, Family and Social Services Aishath Mohamed Didi who was also present at the grant signing ceremony.

The $7.51 million grant is from the Asian Development Fund, which provides grants to ADB’s lower-income developing member countries. Technical assistance will also be provided to strengthen the social service system for aged care, early childcare, and services responding to domestic violence and gender-based violence. The technical assistance will be financed on a grant basis, with $500,000 from the ADB Technical Assistance Special Fund and $2.0 million from the Japan Special Fund.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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