23 July 2013

Gender Integration in REDD+

In recent months, there have been some significant achievements in introducing practical tools and standards to measure the integration of gender into REDD+ at both the national and subnational levels. The emergence of these tools marks a transition from broad commitments in UNFCCC negotiations to an effort to support and measure concrete actions and progress in gender mainstreaming. These tools can help project developers and national policy makers develop strategies to include women in the management and implementation of project activities and increase the sustainability and equity of their projects.

In March 2013, the Climate Community Biodiversity Alliance released the Draft Third Edition of the CCB standards.  Though the earlier second edition of the CCB standards had mentioned gender in the context of inclusive consultations and access to employment opportunities, the new edition proposes additional language to encourage measures to promote effective participation of women.  It also more clearly defines gender as a criteria for identifying “marginalized groups” which receive special attention throughout the document. Perhaps most critically, the new draft calls for project developers to “demonstrate that the project generates net positive impacts on the well-being of women and that women participate in or influence decision-making.”

In April, the launch of the Women’s Carbon Standard (WCS)  by the Bangkok-based organization WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management) marked another milestone.  This new comprehensive standard establishes a means by which to integrate and measure women’s empowerment and participation and to reward efforts to address women’s concerns in project development.  The criteria have been developed by gender experts and have undergone broad consultation in an effort to find the right balance between broadly applicable standards and flexibility in local contexts.  The criteria focus on a set of six general domains, including 1) income and assets, 2) time, 3) education and knowledge, 4) leadership, 5) food security, and 6) health.

Lastly, at the Bonn Climate Change Conference in June, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) and REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards released a booklet to guide national integration of gender within the system of international REDD+ safeguards.  Entitled “From research to action, leaf by leaf: getting gender right in the REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards”, this booklet provides a set of three “action checklists” which allow self evaluation along a spectrum from “not yet gender sensitive” to “gender transformative”.  The checklists include 1) Essential actions to develop a gender sensitive program, 2) Actions to address the gender components of the REDD+ SES Principles, Criteria, and Indicators, and 3) Actions to develop gender responsive country-level interpretation of indicators. 

In the last six months there has been significant progress in providing REDD+ project developers and national program managers with standards and tools to guide actions to mainstream gender in REDD+.  In order to maintain the momentum that has been created this year, it is important that additional resources from both public and private sources, are committed to address gender mainstreaming in REDD+.  These resources should test the implementation of the tools and standards through practical initiatives and project activities that deliver benefits down to the local men and women managing forests.
TerraCarbon strongly supports efforts to mainstream gender and empower women to participate in and benefit from forest carbon initiatives.  Under its Social and Community Advisory service offering, TerraCarbon is able to provide expertise in gender assessment, to conduct training, and to support project design to comply with CCB and WCS standards. Please contact us to discuss your particular needs in this area. 

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