NEW YORK (September 4, 2013)- Why does gender matter in REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)? The question was debated at a brown bag meeting and webinar organized by WEDO and the REDD+ Social & Environmental Standards (SES) Initiative in Washington DC on August 28th. Participants were brought together to discuss the recent publication Getting gender right in the REDD+SES, which highlights action research on gender equality, women’s rights and REDD+ SES and includes a practical checklist tool to address gender considerations in REDD+.
Attending the event and presenting lessons from the action research, were representatives from the REDD+ Secretariat, WEDO, CARE, WOCAN, Conservation International and IUCN. Lorena Aguilar from IUCN said talking about gender in the REDD+ had not always been easy. “Some years ago, when we first tried to address gender [in this context], the answer from everyone was that gender is too complicated for REDD. People said it might be important, but we don’t know how to do it. That’s why it’s incredible to see this publication now. The value of this document is the how – this is what people are in need of – a clear roadmap on how to do it”, she said.
The speakers highlighted their experiences from different countries, in particular Nepal, Ecuador, Tanzania and the State of Acre in Brazil, where case studies were done for the report. As part of the country research, consultations and workshops were conducted with a variety of stakeholders including government officials and local representatives from women’s organizations. Andrea Quesada from WEDO said the outcome of the study was bigger than expected, as the consultations themselves functioned as capacity building for national policymakers and the women’s organizations, and created new spaces for gender equality and women rights to be discussed.
“We need to recognize that inequalities might prevent the success of REDD+ programmes”, Quesada continued.”At the same time, not involving all stakeholders in REDD+ will exacerbate gender inequalities”. She said REDD+ programmes had the potential to deal with land rights and participation inequality, and that they should do so; “REDD+ should not only be preventing inequalities but also contribute to new opportunities for women and for improvement of their livelihood”.
CARE’s Dorcas Robinson added to the discussion that gender is absolutely necessary but not sufficient for successful REDD+ programmes. She said other important factor conditions are appropriate finance, effective safeguards and addressing the real drivers of deforestation. “However, without gender integrated, REDD+ cannot be effective or sustainable. For this we need practical tools [such as this one]”.