UNITED NATIONS NATIONS UNIES COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT EU PLAN OF ACTION ON GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT IN DEVELOPMENT (2010-2015) PROVIDED BY: THE UNITED NATIONS TEAM IN BRUSSELS DECEMBER 11, 2009 BRUSSELS, BELGIUM United Nations Brussels Team Comments on the Draft EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development I. Introduction UNIFEM and the UN Brussels Team1 welcome the draft Action Plan and commend the European Union (EU) for its leadership in developing an Action Plan inspired by those same values that inspired its own creation, and which seeks to advance democracy, rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights as guiding principles of EU international development Cooperation. We also recognize the EU Consensus on Development (2005) which identified gender equality as a goal on its own right and one of five pillar principles of development cooperation, subsequent Council Conclusions on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Development Cooperation, and broader EU policy on gender equality. Based on these instruments, the draft EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development was conceived and proposes a series of activities for increased efficiency and larger impact of EU gender equality interventions in partner countries. In the following sections we begin with general observations on the Action Plan and then offer more specific comments on its various sections and elements, followed by suggestions and proposed actions drawing on our field experience and knowledge. We hope that these suggestions would contribute to strengthening the Action Plan approach, focusing the proposed specific actions and indicators, enhancing coordination and coherence of EU external and internal gender policies, and capturing the momentum of important structural and institutional changes, brought forward by the Lisbon Treaty, to introduce “system-wide” gender mainstreaming and integration of gender equality in all EU policies, decisions, procedures and processes. II. General Observations and Recommendations While the Action Plan aims to strengthen coordination and coherence of EU and Member States’ (MS) gender equality initiatives and enhance the impact of gender equality programs and effectiveness, we highlighted six main areas that we believe require attention: 1. The Action Plan makes no reference to potential structural and institutional changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty that may have direct impact on gender mainstreaming and integration in various EU units, bodies, Working Groups and EU Delegations. 1 The comments presented in this paper reflects inputs from the UN Brussels Team (UNIFEM, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and UNCHR) Recommendation: we view these changes as presenting the EU with potential opportunities for EU “system-wide” gender mainstreaming and integration of gender equality policies at various levels, and in external and internal procedures and processes. We support this action as compatible to the UN Gender system-wide coherence and the UNGA Resolution (A/RES/63/311) to support the establishment of a new Gender Architecture aiming at enhancing coherence, coordination and accountability. 2. While the Action Plan acknowledges scarcity of human and financial resources allocated to implementing gender mainstreaming, it does not however, provide any information or details on what kind of measures the EU will put in place and what funding instruments would be designated or re- designed to ensure adequate funding is secured to implement this plan. But rather it adds ‘This Action Plan focuses on a better prioritization and coordination based on existing resources, instruments or mechanisms”. This means no additional resources are being put forward in support of the Action plan. This discussion is particularly important in light of the structural changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty which President Barroso indicated “should offer the platform for a powerful vision for horizontal development policy delivered through the ACP and through the European Development Fund”. This discussion is also important in light of the three crises facing the world today: the food crisis, the financial/economic crisis and the climate change crises. Available data shows severe and particular impact on women as a result of these crises. Recommendation: taking into account that EU’s financial instruments will change during the period covered by the Action Plan, we suggest the inclusion of action points or commitments on using the occasion of the preparation of the new financial instruments to review the outcome of gender actions to date, to provide input from the European gender and development experts' group on the gender dimension of the new financial instruments for development, or to change the allocation in the financial instruments to further support gender equality. 3. The objectives and approach are written in general terms. The objectives would be much focused if they are linked to EU Council Conclusions on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, specifying substantive/thematic areas for “integrating” gender equality policies, (other than general and sector budget support) and clearly defining geographic focus or priorities. Recommendation: we recommend the Action Plan is linked to EC commitments and Council decisions and build on the results achieved in the UN/EC partnership on Aid Effectiveness, Gender Responsive Budgeting and implementation of UNSCR’s 1325 and 1820. We recommend that the objectives include a special focus on assessing the differential impact of crises such as food security, climate change, economic/financial crisis, HIV/AIDs epidemics and sexual violence and conflict. 4. The Action Plan does not mention mainstreaming gender into key external policies, such as trade, agriculture, energy and climate change. (See Council Conclusions on Policy Coherence for Development paragraph 42). Recommendation: We recommend developing a procedure for ensuring not only “policy coherence for development” but “policy coherence for gender equality” as a guiding principle, and establishing the policy framework for a whole- of-the Union approach. Without specific attention to the gender dimension of these policies that can have a significant impact on development, there is a clear risk that gender equality gains achieved through specific development actions are diminished by negative impacts from other external policies and global crises. For example, adding a gender lens to the EU Food Facility, given the figures for women’s participation in the agricultural sector. 5. The emphasis the Action Plan places on measuring and monitoring progress by the EU and partner countries, particularly by ensuring the use of gender disaggregated indicators in sector support programmes, and the tracking of gender-specific and gender-mainstreaming in EC/EU interventions, is very welcome. However this needs to be accompanied by direct support to partner governments. The Action Plan requires more elaboration on EU support to partner governments. For any efforts in support of gender equality to be effective and sustainable, it needs to be owned and led by national actors. Reponses supported by the international community should build on existing capacities rather than replacing them. Further gender violence is multi-faceted and cross-cutting, and cannot be addressed by one actor alone. At the national level, this calls for a whole-of-government approach in which line ministries dealing with internal security, justice, health and education, to name a few, operate jointly and as part of one strategy. 2 “The Council welcomes the increased emphasis on PCD in the European Commission, the better use of the inter- service consultation mechanism and the strengthening of the development dimension of the impact assessment tool as important instruments to improve PCD and the regular screening of the Commission Legislative and Work Programme from a PCD perspective.” External Relations Council Conclusions on Policy Coherence for Development , 19 November 2009: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/gena/111278.pdf Recommendation: The Action Plan could include specific recommendations on how the EC/EU will support partner governments and address gender mainstreaming in more holistic way. How can funding provide incentive to ensure gender mainstreaming integrated in cross-ministerial coordination and planning and how the EU will help address the fundamental issue of capacity development of national actors to ensure long term prevention efforts takes in account women’s human rights and equality? In other words, how the leadership of the EU, on the ground, will help governments think and address gender equality and gender violence issues comprehensively. We suggest including in the text an explicit reference to the role of gender equality mechanisms, such as gender mainstreaming, women’s empowerment, and fighting violence against women, as a measure of good/improved governance in partner countries. 6. The Action Plan could be more explicit in recognizing the changing nature of conflict, with sexual violence against women and girls being increasingly used as a weapon of conflict. Conflict affects women not only as victims of war and violence, but also as important actors in peace negotiations, peace building, development and post-conflict reconstruction. Recommendation: While the EU policy framework to respond to women’s needs and rights in conflict is in place, additional efforts are needed to close the gap between commitments and implementation to ensure policy coherence, consistence and effectiveness. Clear links should be made between UNSCR 1820, which established violence against women in conflict as a security issue; and implementation of 1325 through the integration of tools for implementing SCR 1820 and 1325 into the CFSP and CSDP. One final comment: the Plan makes no reference to the opportunities that the EEAS may offer in strengthening the EU’s work in gender equality in partner countries, and only touches upon the need to strengthen the partnership with some parts of the UN. For example, there is significant work and developments taking place in the UN in the context of 1325, 1880, 1888 and 1889, both at the agency-specific and inter-agency levels. It would seem a real lost opportunity if the EU and the GAP delinks from that discussion, expertise and partnership. I. Observations on the EU Common Agenda on Gender Policies The European Commission (EC) and the MS have implemented policies and strategies on gender equality for a number of years and have gained experience on how to make these measures more effective. To that effect, we offer few observations on this section: i) Move from “promoting” to “integrating” gender equality and women’s empowerment in external and internal policies and procedures; ii) Implement commitments on gender equality within an accountability Framework. If the EU is to transform its commitment to implementation, it must look urgently at its own institutional capacity and enhance its accountability, both external and internal, and strengthen its transparency on how the EU is “integrating” and mainstreaming gender throughout its institutions and delegations. iii) Gender mainstreaming is one of many strategies implemented to achieve gender equality. Effective gender mainstreaming requires clear political will, adequate resources, an enabling environment, accountability mechanisms and technical capacity. The EU needs to systematically integrate gender perspectives through qualitative gender analysis, sex and age-disaggregated data and, where available, quantitative data, in particular through concrete conclusions and recommendations for further action on gender equality and the empowerment of women, in order to facilitate gender-sensitive policy development across the EU thematic and geographic units. iv) In order to maximize the existing resources to achieve greater impact, the Plan needs to take into account or build on EU work already undertaken on gender mainstreaming. No reference is made to earlier developments, such as the “Toolkit on Mainstreaming Gender Equality in European Development Cooperation”3, or the existing Gender Helpdesk, nor a reporting on whether the outstanding recommendations from the 2003 evaluation of gender in development have all been acted upon. We believe it would be useful to see this work referenced, with an intention to review and build on or improve the existing materials, and to evaluate the usefulness and impact of the Gender Help Desk if appropriate. v) There is a need to explain the similar EU approach regarding in-house gender equality policies and institutional capacity building. vi) The Plan identifies limited, overburdened gender-specialized staff in both the EC and EU Member States as a key constraint. Yet, it adds to the burden of existing 3 http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sp/gender-toolkit/index.htm staff by establishing new obligations and accountabilities. We would strongly recommend that the Plan proposes concrete measures on how this constraint will be addressed, in order to ensure its success. vii) At a global level, the Action Plan should address the very likely scenario where gender will be pushed back and would not receive primary attention as EC and MS struggle to stabilize their budgets. Gender Action Plans are only as good as the resources allocated and available, hence, the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Development should include specific information on how the Plan will be financed and implemented in such difficult times of serious economic and financial constraints. II. The Objective and Approach In addition to the general comment made earlier on the objective and approach, we provide here several comments and suggestions on the stated objectives and the three- pronged approach: We propose that the EU integrates gender equality as a guiding principle in all its development, humanitarian, governance and security policies, processes and programs. Political and Policy Dialogue on Gender Equality Political Dialogue is identified in the Action Plan as one of the main instruments of EU external action. Drawing on the arguments presented in this section, we would like to offer the following comments and proposed actions: To render political and policy dialogues effective instruments of EU external action, the cultural, historical, political and economic contexts within which these dialogues take place should be carefully examined and analyzed. In particular, the responsiveness of society to gender equality and how conducive the existing structures and systems are in terms of integrating gender equality policies and measures must be assessed. It is also important that regional, national and local specificities inform policy and political dialogues. Below are some insights and suggestions compiled from regional/national experiences and perspectives: The EU’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific and Arab States is in need for substantive strengthening and this Action Plan provides the way forward. EU policy/political dialogue in these regions should focus on the impact of the global economic and financial crisis on women’s empowerment and the extent to which the crisis will impact resource allocation for gender mainstreaming in EU interventions as well as recipient countries. Dialogue should also focus on violence against women, and implementation of 1325 and 1820 and monitor women’s human rights violations. In Africa, policy dialogues are deemed more effective if the convergence or divergence of African States and EU MS on major cooperation policy issues is recognized, in particular in the context of the impact they usually have on including gender equality issues and women’s Human Rights in negotiated agreements (for example, the negotiations on the Agricultural Policy, and the negotiations in the framework of the Cotonou Agreement for ACP). In such instances, it would be useful to institutionalize some mechanisms to enable the ownership of these discussions by gender equality and women’s human rights advocates. This is important so that a gender perspective informs these negotiations. For example it will be helpful for civil society of the EU and in Africa to have pre- negotiation meetings that enable them to formulate their position. This should be in line with the Accra Civil Society consultation established in the framework of negotiations of the new aid modality. Further, the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), adopted in December 2007, clearly states its goals as enhancing political dialogue on peace and security issues and the realization of a professional, African-led military infrastructure by June 2010. This dialogue must concentrate on ensuring that gender perspectives inform these negotiations as well as the implementation of relevant resolutions in all countries. Central to this is the establishment of mechanisms that will ensure the delivery of justice to women in conflict countries. Effective EU political/policy dialogue in CEE region requires serious attention to integration of gender equality issues into demands for political reforms and criterion required for EU accession. The Stabilization and Association Agreements (SAA) signed, have little or no mention of gender equality or human rights. Requirements for EC Delegations to set gender-sensitive targets or ensure allocation of funds seem to be loose. On the other hand, countries that qualify for the “neighbourhood policies” and those categorized as “developing” receive more incentives to deal with gender equality issues than those countries under consideration for EU accession. Political/policy dialogue on violence against women is urgently required to engage with the EU on the new legal instrument on mutual recognition of protection orders. The new instrument focuses on protection of victims of crime in general, but is expected to serve, in particular, victims of gender-based violence. The new law will ensure that a woman’s protection order in one EU country is automatically recognized in another EU country. UNIFEM, as well as other UN agencies, is well positioned to support this important dialogue and work on both internal and external work of the EU on VAW. At a global level, we would suggest that when the EU engages in political and policy dialogue on gender equality, involving the European Parliament, the National Parliaments of Member States, and the Parliaments of partners countries, to make specific requirement for a minimum number of women parliamentarians should be amongst parliamentary delegations from partner countries. System-Wide Gender Mainstreaming and Integration of Gender Equality Gender mainstreaming is seen as the backbone for progressing on gender equality. We have provided specific comments and suggestions on effective gender mainstreaming above. However, we recommend that the EU seizes the momentum of the Lisbon Treaty and the changes introduced to adopt a “system-wide” gender mainstreaming and integration of Gender Equality. The draft is debated at the time the Lisbon Treaty has just come into effect, introducing important and major institutional and structural changes aimed at increasing the consistency and coherence of the EU’s external actions. We view this as an opportune momentum to adopt Gender Equality as a driving principle defining and shaping external and internal work of the EU in a systemic and coherent manner. The Lisbon Treaty modifies the way the EU relates to its international partners through two new leading figures in external relations: the HR/VP and the President of the European Council. The Lisbon Treaty Confers powers to the HR/VP to organize the coordination of Member States’ actions in international organizations. As Such, and amongst her duties, the new High Representative of the European Union, Lady Ashton, would have to ensure the coherence of the external policy of the EU. We would like to propose an effective and concrete action to ensure coherence and harmonization of implementing the EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality by creating in the HR/VP cabinet a unit that would oversee, monitor and integrate gender equality in all the different functions of the EU, and demanding gender equality is placed consistently on the EU political agenda. Moreover, as Vice President of the European Commission, Lady Ashton could play a key role in mainstreaming gender equality on external and internal work of the EU. As HR/VP, Lady Ashton’s powers will include decision-making over Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP). Considering the Comprehensive Approach to the EU Implementation of the UNSCRs 1325 and 1820, recognizes the close links between peace, security, development and gender equality, we would propose that gender equality and women’s empowerment are integrated into the broader range of CFSP and CSDP actions and decisions. Further, subsequent Security Council Resolutions 1888 and 1889 (September and October 2009) call for tools for implementing SCR 1820 and 1325 such as agreed global indicators, a Security Council accountability mechanism, and a monitoring and reporting mechanism on conflict- related sexual violence. These create an unprecedented opening for member states and the EU to fast track the implementation of SCR 1325 and ensure effective prevention of sexual violence as well as proactive measures to engage women in all facets of peace making, peace keeping, and peace building. We would encourage the new HR/VP to lead a process of integration of such tools for implementing SCR 1820 and 1325 into the CFSP and CSDP and we would welcome a discussion or exchange on adding these tools and mechanisms into the CFSP/CSDP. III. The Operational Framework Generally, we believe that the operational framework should be more ambitious. If we aim at making a difference on gender equality, we should ensure that all annual reviews include a gender analysis, and activities and indicators are all gender sensitive. Aiming at 30% of EU technical staff at HQ and at country level having undertaken gender training by 2013 seems a not sufficiently ambitious figure. We commend the call for cooperation with regional and/or international organizations and suggest you strengthen this point by, for instance, developing Joint strategies and programming with Regional and International organizations. Also, we recommend to align the local strategies developed with the strategies of other actors (UN and others) already working on these issues. The success of the implementation of this Action Plan is very much related to the political commitment and follow-up at HQ level. A Gender Adviser in the office of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is crucial to achieve this commitment. In addition, the inclusion of a Gender Adviser in all EU peace operations, and the inclusion of mandatory gender training to both military and civil personnel in missions is critical for a greater impact of the Plan in conflict contexts. Recognizing that gender discrimination in all its manifestations (including violent manifestations) does not start only when females reach the age of 18 but starts from the moment of their birth (and even before in the case of female infanticide), it is important to see a reference to girls as a focus of the Action Plan as well. We strongly recommend that the Plan of Action includes involvement of men as key allies when it comes to looking for partnerships and ensures that policy dialogues incorporate a culturally sensitive approach to align policy benefits so they are relevant and sustainable. We welcome the Plan’s collaborative approach between the EC and the Member States, and would encourage the EC to further develop it through concrete measures for improved coordination and exchange of information, in order to ensure greater impact. A last but not least important point is the importance of including the notion of Transparency and Accountability to appropriately follow the implementation of the proposed objectives of the Action Plan. For that, it is important to specify in detail the expected results and the person/organization accountable for them. Please refer to Annex I for detailed feedback on the Operational Framework. Annex I Specific Comments on the operational framework: Comments on Specific objectives: Concerning the Specific objectives: Objective 3 – Perhaps rather than focusing on the EU taking a lead in coordinating donor/development assistance on gender, it would be more strategic to stipulate that in the instances where the EC Missions/Delegations lead key sectors (on donor coordination), as part of this leadership role, they are obligated to advocate for and report back on how gender and human rights are fairing in the sector lead by the EU (i.e. Governance; Environment; Rule of Law). Objective 6: “Strengthen EU support to partner countries in combating gender-based violence and discriminations against women”, neither of the specified actions specifically addresses the objective. This requires a long-term, multi-pronged approach that includes much more than what is reflected here. Objective 8 – EC Reports (called progress reports in the pre-accession countries) are increasingly valued as a means of verifying progress in countries where their Missions/Delegations have significant representation. Missions should be obligated to ensure that any formal reporting to EU Parliament or EC bodies in Brussels has a focus on gender and human rights. Further, one task listed could be that the EC Missions/Delegations take a greater role in harmonizing the type of feedback/recommendations the HOMS provide their capitals when the respective host countries are coming before the UPR – this would almost certainly provide a greater opportunity to coordinate any gender equality advocacy messages among MS during the UPR process. Comments on the Actions : Increase EU support for CSO’s that combat VAW and promote women’s rights: A dedicated comprehensive approach to address GBV should be promoted within MS (so far, only Sweden has one. It is important to introduce a European Year against VAW in conflict to raise public awareness Mainstream gender issues throughout EU peace operations: The Member States of the European Union should provide training on gender approach on women, peace, and security to both military and civil personnel in missions. Ensure high-level political commitment and follow-up of the Action Plan at HQ: The indicator proposed is “Progress of Gender Action Plan and update on most relevant issues will be discussed at least once a year in GAERC”. We think that it will be also important to create a gender adviser in the office of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Strengthen cooperation on the promotion of gender equality with partner regional organizations and relevant international organizations: It is needed to be more specific and go beyond establishing cooperation to specifically suggesting the development of joint strategies and programming with UN and regional organizations. Develop an online Toolkit with core know-how on gender and development; Develop gender training within Train for Development; Mainstream gender within the Train for DEV and Capacity for DEV initiatives: There is already a Gender Mainstreaming Toolkit on-line and gender training packages have been developed. It is important to clarify if theses tools are no longer in use and why. Also it is important to explain how the new tools will be developed, and to emphasize the updating of tools on mainstreaming gender into all areas of programming (starting with country profile, to macroeconomic analysis and budgeting, to mainstreaming in specific sectors). We also think that the Gender Helpdesk should be continued. Gradually develop a joint gender assessment in each partner country in collaboration with partner countries and stakeholders: It is important to be more specific on what gender assessment will cover (general gender situational analysis of the situation of women and girls in the country, an analysis of country policies, etc). Organize regular dialogue at country level with civil society organizations, particularly women's organizations, on gender issues: We think it is important to add another indicator to measure the activity: Civil society organizations, particularly women's organizations, participate in and are able to contribute to country strategy papers Offer an ad-hoc online course for EU HOMS and Delegations' staff on how to apply the EU guidelines on Violence Against Women (VAW), including in programming of aid and assistance: The think that the online course should also reflect SCR 1888. Comments on the Indicators: In 2011, a medium term strategy of cooperation with the African Union on gender equality and women's empowerment is established: Other regional entities/unions should also be included 1 EU MS is appointed as gender lead donor for the period 2010-2013 and 3 MS are associated to joint work on gender: Is it necessary to indicate what functions the lead donor takes – dialogue, promoting joint programming, etc. In 2011, a medium term strategy of cooperation with the African Union on gender equality and women's empowerment is established: Financing measures should also be included, so the strategy is established AND FINANCED By 2011 the gender sector guidelines for common reference to EU actors and partners is updated: We think that this indicator should be clearer. Does it cover guidance on assessment? From 2010 to 2015, every year the EU completes its gender assessment on www.wikigender.org for 5 countries: That means that by the end of 5 years there are 25 gender assessments. Currently there are 120 countries where the EU has delegations. We think is not sufficiently ambitious if we want to make a difference. Next generation CSPs and NIPs are gender mainstreamed and at least 50% identify gender-related specific actions: We propose that the CSP and NIPs should specifically reflect gender considerations and include a gender profile, and should be supported with external assistance. There is already a gender profile template for CSPs and we suggest this one to become mandatory. At least 80% of all EU peace operations include a gender training in the preparatory phase and gender-sensitive instructions: We propose to include also a gender adviser. As from 2010, detailed information on EC expenditure on gender equality is provided in the External Relations Annual Report: We propose to provide also the EC results on the Annual report. By 2013 gender training is an integrated part of the pre-posting training for COM and EEAS staff. Gender training is part of the training catalogue. At least 30% of EU technical staff at HQ and at country-level has received gender training: We think that it is a very low target – also this points to an inconsistency as some indicators have targets and some do not. By 2011 the gender sector guidelines for common reference to EU actors and partners is updated: we suggest including here some explanations on the way that the implementation/use of the guidelines will be monitored. In 2015 at least 80% of all performance evaluations of EU HOMS and staff in development will include gender issues: We suggest coordinating this indicator with the first indicator under point 2, in order to avoid confusion on referencing training for one group of staff and evaluating another. From 2010, A guidance note is sent twice a year to EU HOMS that informs on all relevant gender issues and challenges: We propose to include the notion of responsibility and accountability to follow guidance. By 2013 at least 80% of all annual reviews include a gender analysis: We think that the logical target would be that 100% should have gender analysis. It might not need to be addressed in some cases but the analysis should be done as a matter of course, if there is a commitment to mainstream. Next generation CSPs and NIPs are gender mainstreamed and at least 50% identify gender-related specific actions: We suggest increasing the percentage, if mainstreaming is the goal, 50%is very low, especially for next generation. Guidelines on selection and use of gender-equality indicators and gender- disaggregated indicators are updated and sent to all Delegations: We propose to focus on existing indicators that can just be made more gender responsive, and will be less burdensome. In 2013, at least 60% of CSPs/NIPs include in the logical frameworks gender-sensitive indicators: We propose to increase the percentage, 60% seems to be aiming very low. By 2013 Gender is on the agenda in at least one annual dialogue (gender policy forum) with civil society each country: We suggest that gender is incorporated into the analysis and planning for every meeting and added as relevant. Increasingly, this could happen as the need is identified to fill gaps. In 2011 at least 50% and 80% by 2015, of the EU Embassies and EC Delegations produced local strategies for the implementation of the guidelines on VAW: We recommend that these guidelines are aligned with the strategies of actors (UN and others) already working on VAW. By 2013 at least 80% of EU led and EU-funded peace operations (such as Africa peace facility) include gender training and instructions to implement the EU comprehensive approach: We propose to increase the target to 100% by an earlier date.
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