Canada to support lesbian, bisexual and trans women’s economic empowerment in the Philippines in partnership with UNDP/Being LGBTI in Asia and the Pacific

March 21, 2019

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is proud to welcome Global Affairs Canada as a new partner to the Being LGBTI in Asia and the Pacific programme, with the signing of an agreement to support work on economic empowerment of lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LBT) women in the Philippines.

Canada’s contribution strengthens community engagement in the research efforts and will be implemented jointly with Galang, a community-based human rights organization that works with lesbian and bisexual women, and trans men in poor urban communities in the Philippines, and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

“The Government of Canada is working with its partners toward a world where the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all are respected and where no one is left behind, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics,” said John T. Holmes, Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines. “We recognize that LGBTI persons must be meaningfully engaged in inclusive development efforts and must benefit from these efforts in a non-discriminatory manner. This partnership with UNDP is a welcome means to increase the inclusiveness of our women’s economic empowerment assistance.”

The vast majority of literature on women’s economic empowerment ignores the dimension of sexual orientation, and trans women’s voices have been effectively absent from the conversation, while official statistics are virtually never disaggregated by sexual orientation or gender identity. This invisibility of LBT women pushes them to the margins of the conversation and excludes them from effective programming and policy-making.

The research being undertaken through the Being LGBTI in Asia and the Pacific programme aims to start filling this gap by conducting a needs and resources assessment by and for LBT women in the Philippines on economic empowerment that will inform future advocacy, programming and policymaking.

“We are very excited that Canada has joined the Being LGBTI in Asia and the Pacific partnership. Both Canada and UNDP have a firm and longstanding commitment towards social inclusion of LGBTI people and promoting their human rights,” said Håkan Björkman, UNDP Regional Health Advisor for Asia and the Pacific. “In partnership with Canada, we will be able to better engage local communities in these applied research efforts, paving the way for policy changes that will have real positive impacts on the lives of LBT women in the Philippines.”

For more information, contact:

Ian Mungall, Programme Analyst, HIV, Health and Development, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Global Affairs Canada manages Canada’s diplomatic relations, provides consular services to Canadians, promotes the country’s international trade, and leads Canada’s international development and humanitarian assistance.

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

Being LGBTI in Asia and the Pacific is a regional programme supported by UNDP, the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs of Trade, the Faith in Love Foundation, the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality (Malta), and now, the Government of Canada. We work to address inequality, violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics, and promote universal access to health and social services.