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Catalyzing change with gender-responsive, climate-forest finance

Blog | Fri, 03 Jun, 2022 · 6 min read
genderpic UNDP

(@ UNDP Panama)

Acknowledging the catalytic power that climate finance can have on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the forest sector, UNDP and the UN-REDD Programme collaborated on an event in March, 2022 to highlight good practice examples in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia and Ghana. (Video recording of the event can be found here.) Held during the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women and complementing the UN-REDD Programme’s October, 2021 knowledge exchange on Gender: The key to unlocking transformational change in climate-forest finance, this event showcased how these countries are effectively integrating established good practices on gender to achieve catalytic, gender-responsive, climate-forest actions.

The REDD+ initiatives from these five countries demonstrate how climate-forest finance, provided through the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Governor’s Climate and Forest Task Force (GCFTF) and the UN-REDD Programme, represent an opportunity to develop a new generation of gender-responsive, climate-forest finance. This supports innovative actions that: 

  • address ongoing deep-rooted gender barriers and inequalities; 
  • equitably increase access and control over resources for both women and men; 
  • recognize and engage all relevant actors fully and equitably across all genders in all actions; 
  • value unique and complementary knowledge and skills of women and men; 
  • improve women’s livelihoods and their economic empowerment; 
  • and, generate new, sustainable livelihoods and productive and economic opportunities for women in the forest sector. 

Charting this new path forward through climate-forest finance, REDD+ initiatives, such as the ones showcased at the event, are not only promoting gender-responsive approaches in project design, implementation and decision-making processes, but also tackling larger systematic gender inequalities within complex sectors, such as land tenure, fire management and control and sustainable forest and agriculture value chains. Through this work, they are promoting more transformational change and sustainable and gender-equitable results that benefit women.

With a keynote speech from Costa Rica’s Minister of the Environment, opening remarks from UNDP’s Global Gender Director, organizational perspectives from Mario Boccucci, Head of the UN-REDD Secretariat, as well as a prestigious panel made up of colleagues from five countries, the event provided numerous examples of how all actors can rethink how climate finance can work for women.

In addition, it also launched the new GCFTF publication, The End of Business as Usual: Mainstreaming Gender in Jurisdictional REDD+ Approaches.” This publication provides numerous concrete examples that illustrate how jurisdictions around the world are taking innovative actions to integrate gender with REDD+ design, implementation and monitoring.

This well-attended event, with 504 registered participants, 62 percent of which were women, put the spotlight on the reality that environmental and gender issues are not separate. Rather, forest conservation and its sustainable use and promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment is a symbiotic relationship that catalyzes long lasting social and environmental change.

Supporting gender-responsive, climate-forest finance and creating space to share good practices and knowledge is a one of the key components of the UN-REDD Programme’s support. Wide dissemination of these good practices is pivotal in efforts to ensure all actors, across genders and stakeholder groups, are fully and equitably engaged in and benefit from climate-forest action. The UN-REDD Programme is committed to building momentum on this important topic and will continue to encourage and support innovation on the intersection of gender and climate-forest finance among countries, financiers and development practitioners.