Gender and Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) at CRIC 17
By Ana Di Pangracio, Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN)
As part of the UNCCD training fair 2019, a module titled “Gender matters for Land Degradation Neutrality” took place on the 25th and 26th of January in Georgetown, Guyana.
It included presentations on the legal framework on gender and environment, gender issues and LDN linkages, gender mainstreaming in the project cycle, and it provided practical examples from frameworks such as the GEF and the Green Climate Fund to finalize with remarks on synergies in implementing the gender-related mandates in the three Rio Conventions. Group exercises and interactive discussions on the referred matters were also a useful part of the training.
Women have unique knowledge about natural resources and the environment. Women and men use and manage natural resources in different ways, and have differentiated knowledge about its conservation and utilization.
It became clear from this training session that securing rights to drylands improves the chances of women to get better protection and to be empowered. It provides them an opportunity to make decisions jointly with men in households so that they can have a better income and improved welfare. Improved joint decision making between men and women together help with increased solidarity, better collective action, and additional knowledge generation.
The integration, protection and advancement in gender equality is recognized in several international agreements. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) for instance, includes articles related to environment and its committee has provided relevant general recommendations (especially recommendations no. 34 on rural women and no. 37 on disaster reduction). Parties report to CEDAW every four years and civil society can submit shadow reports.
Sustainable Development Goal no. 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, with 15 indicators and targets.
All Rio Conventions have adopted a Gender Action Plan. UNFCCC did it in 2017 (its original text does not refer to women, but there are now over 70 UNFCCC´s decisions referring to gender); the CDB adopted its plan in 2008 and updated it in 2014; while the UNCCD did it in 2017, having substantially mentioned women and their roles in the original text of the convention.
But though this acknowledgement shows the extent countries consider gender a relevant issue, implementation has been very slow and quite weak. Further improvement and coordinated work is needed, as well as more financial resources.
One of the conclusions of the training in Georgetown was that given there are gender mandates in all Rio Conventions, synergies among them for gender-responsive approach to implementation is key to avoid duplication of efforts. Relevant strategies and implementation frameworks are also required for addressing gender issues and the creation of a supportive enabling environment at national level is essential at country level.
Land was shown as a central, cross-cutting solution among all three conventions. Therefore, LDN could be an issue of convergence on gender among them, and considering LDN is a priority topic for GEF, this could ensure the necessary financial resources to advance gender equality promptly.