INCORPORATING GENDER INTO FOREST AND CLIMATE ACTION: LESSONS LEARNED FROM A DECADE OF REDD+
For more than ten years, the UN-REDD Programme has supported countries that integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment into REDD+ actions. The approach aims to ensure women, men and youth can equitably and meaningfully engage, participate in and benefit from more sustainable, national REDD+ processes and actions. However, given social, economic and cultural inequalities and legal impediments, women continue to experience exclusion, particularly those from marginalized groups, such as indigenous peoples. This limits their ability to fully participate in, contribute to and benefit from REDD+. In response, deliberate and meaningful efforts are being taken to ensure REDD+ actions are inclusive, fair and gender-responsive, both in policy and in practice.
Moving from commitments to credible action on the ground, the UN-REDD Programme has worked hand in hand with women’s groups, indigenous peoples, communities and other government and civil society organizations to develop practical solutions to support women in their active role in REDD+ as traditional guardians of the forest. In 2019, this support focused on identifying and breaking down gender barriers and changing perceptions to ensure the fair and active participation of women in REDD+.
To illustrate, efforts took place in Peru, to increase women’s participation in community-based forest surveillance committees. Data was collected to assess the catalytic factors that made women’s participation in the committees possible. This information provided an accurate picture of the realities on the ground and allowed for improvements and gender-responsive actions to be identified, as well as opportunities for good practices.
Similarly, in Chile, UN-REDD support helped to ensure women’s involvement in pilot projects for forest management. For example, as part of ecological restoration activities within the Ovalle commune, a group of women was included in the formulation and design of the project. They decided to offer scheduling flexibility during the implementation phase so their absence from home was not so radical. This, in turn, increased their capacity to completely engage. Before these efforts began, the area where they worked was known as the “Hill of Shame.” Today, the community now calls it the “Hill of Hope.”
These experiences have helped to inform and improve the gender approach of the UN-REDD Programme across the regions. In addition, the UN-REDD Programme documented key good practices and lessons learned from the Asia-Pacific region in 2019. This was done to inform other gender efforts being undertaken within REDD+ and to share the experiences that have resulted from the Programme’s gender work in the region. The following country case studies on gender and REDD+ are available online here.
- Cambodia – Changing Institutional Culture through a National REDD+ Gender Group
- Papua New Guinea – Ensuring Women Have a Say: Putting Gender at the Heart of Free, Prior and Informed Consent
- Sri Lanka – Making Civil Society Inclusion in REDD+ Count for Women
- Viet Nam – Unlocking the Entrepreneurial Power of Indigenous Women to Protect Forests
The UN-REDD Programme has integrated these experiences into its work in order to help ensure both women,men and youth have a seat at the table and an equitable voice in REDD+ design, implementation and decision-making. This has had a positive impact on both forests and forest-dependent communities, bolstering both environmental conservation, as well as rural economic development and livelihood enhancement for everyone.