Gender equality is integrated across all work of UN-Habitat. The primary aim of mainstreaming is to provide support and technical guidance to project managers. Gender experts are consulted during the project design phase, whereby they will provide input and guidance into project proposals. This is made mandatory at the project approval stage, where feedback is provided at the Project Advisory Group (PAG) based on the Gender Equality Marker.

The Gender Equality Marker is based upon the Marker system introduced by the UN system, as part of the UN System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality (UN-SWAP). This system serves as both a capacity building tool and a quality assurance measure. It requires that every proposal must meet minimum requirements for mainstreaming each issue, before it can be approved by the Project Advisory Group (PAG).

The Marker is one of the key accountability tools UN-Habitat uses to ensure inclusive and sustainable cities. The Marker requires a rating to be given to all projects, indicating how much of UN-Habitat’s work and financial resources are spent on projects and programmes that address gender equality. They are also used to track resources and report internally and externally, in particular to donors.

Since the introduction of the Marker, there has been a steady improvement in the percentage UN-Habitat projects to which the Marker system is applied – now 100% - and that are meeting the requirements of the Marker. In 2015, only 30% of projects met all requirements at first attempt. This has risen to 62% in 2016, and 77% in 2017, with a goal of 85% by the end of 2019.