Features & Commentary
Designing and Implementing Gender-Responsive REDD+ Strategies
Specific attention to women’s needs and contributions is key to efficient REDD+ strategies, writes Lucy Wanjiru, Programme Specialist at UNDP. The growing collaboration between UNDP’s gender team and the UN-REDD Programme is supporting this goal.
The UNFCCC ‘Cancun Agreements’ require developing country Parties to integrate gender considerations in the design and implementation of REDD+ national strategies and programmes. It also requires countries to engage stakeholders and local communities in the process of addressing the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, land tenure and forest governance.
|Young woman gathering leaves from a Baobab Adansonia digitata tree for use as a sauce ingredient.
Credit: Roberto Faidutti, FAO
Because women and men have different roles, rights, responsibilities, knowledge, use of and access to forests, specific attention to women’s needs and contributions is key to efficient REDD+ strategies and programmes. Women’s rights and resource needs must be recognized, and the roles they can play as leaders, participants and beneficiaries in REDD+ must be carefully considered and reflected at every stage.
Mainstreaming gender in UN-REDD’s support
The UNDP Gender Team has a cross-practice relationship with the UN-REDD Programme team. This collaboration is aimed at providing technical support and building capacities to facilitate the integration of gender equality considerations in the readiness support delivered by the UN-REDD Programme, and to enhance the capacities of governments to design and implement gender-responsive national REDD+ strategies and programmes.
The gender component of REDD+ may vary from country to country depending on local situations. The cross-practice initiative is engaged in strategic planning and implementation of a gender strategy that seeks to:
- link REDD+ mechanisms to existing national development strategies
- establish means for forest communities, indigenous peoples and women to participate in the design, monitoring and evaluation of national REDD programmes
- ensure that REDD+ funds and benefits are equally accessible to poor women and men who manage the forests
- involve civil society organizations, and women-led community based organizations
- ensure that REDD+ programmes do not restrict women’s access to the resources they depend on for their livelihoods.
Some of the milestones achieved to date through this collaboration include the formation of an interagency gender working group in the UN-REDD Programme; integration of gender considerations into the UN-REDD & FCPF Stakeholder Engagement Guidelines; and a comprehensive integration of gender considerations in the 2010-2015 UN-REDD Programme Strategy that makes gender equality one of the guiding principle of the UN-REDD Programme. An ongoing review of requests for support to REDD+ countries is underway; Tanzania, for example, has requested technical and financial support to mainstream gender in its national REDD+ strategy and projects.
The gender and UN-REDD Programme teams are currently guiding the development of a joint study, called “the Business Case for Mainstreaming gender in REDD+” that will illustrate how inclusive, equitable, and gender-sensitive design and implementation will result in more efficient and effective REDD+ projects and programmes. This “business case”, to be released next month, will be accompanied by recommendations for mainstreaming gender in the UN-REDD Programme.
If appropriately designed and implemented, REDD+ has the potential to serve as a vehicle for sustainable human development. The role of women in protecting and managing forests, and their right to equal access to resources, is an important component for an equitable, effective and efficient REDD+. A number of partners in the REDD+ arena, including those of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance, recognize this, and are undertaking research and advocacy to advance the issue. Gender mainstreaming requires explicit attention to gender across the entire decision chain, and at every stage and activity. The growing collaboration between the UN-REDD Programme and UNDP’s Gender Team is one way to achieve this goal.
|Gender: Refers to socially constructed roles, responsibilities and opportunities associated with men and women, as well as hidden power structures that govern the relationships between them.
|Gender Analysis: is a systematic effort to identify and understand the roles, needs, opportunities, capacities and life circumstances of women and men in a given – or more often a changing – socio-economic context.
|Gender equality: Equality exists when men and women are attributed equal social value, equal rights and equal responsibilities and have equal access to the means (resources, opportunities) to exercise them.
|Gender mainstreaming: Involves taking into account gender equality concerns in all policy, programme, administrative and financial activities, and in organizational procedures, thereby contributing to a profound organizational transformation. This includes both the core policy decisions of anorganization, and the small every-day decisions of implementation.
|Gender balance: The ratio of women to men in any given situation. Gender balance is achieved when there are approximately equal numbers of men and women present or participating. This is sometimes also referred to as gender parity.
|Lucy Wanjiru is a Programme Specialist on Gender and Climate Change in the Gender team of the Bureau for Development Policy at UNDP.