Forest foods in Zambia are diverse and nutrient rich. A food fair in Luwingu, Zambia – Photo by Joe Nkadaani/CIFOR
A wider lens for climate action brings women and others into focus
Green Climate Fund and UNFCCC take note of CIFOR’s gender recommendations
Climate change is making itself known in
different ways across the globe – and some groups feel its impact more than others.
In dry forest landscapes such as the Sahel, it packs a swift and powerful
punch. When the drenching rains finally come, farmers must be ready to plant.
But now shifting seasons and heavier rains are leading to failed crops and
erosion. Women and those living in rural communities often bear the brunt of
Planting timber stands can mitigate some of
the effects of climate change, while storing carbon. Problem solved – or is it?
CIFOR gender experts are highlighting the lost opportunities in gender-blind climate strategies. In the above example, shea parklands store slightly less carbon than timber monocultures, but they can offer significant adaptation co-benefits, such as boosting household food security and generating income for women through the sale of shea butter products. And since the trees are left standing, they attract birds, insects and wildlife that can restore ecosystems and sustain other livelihoods.
In 2017, CIFOR responded to a call for inputs to the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) revised Gender Equality and Social Inclusion policy, making an official submission to the GCF before publishing their recommendations in an infobrief. These include getting away from the notion of ‘women as vulnerable’, shifting from ‘gender sensitivity’ to ‘gender responsiveness’, and taking a rights-based approach and a more nuanced view of how gender intersects with poverty, race and social status. CIFOR’s submission highlighted the importance of free, prior and informed consent; using mixed research methods; and complementing process-oriented indicators with progress indicators, anchored in the Sustainable Development Goals framework. Scientists also made the case for aligning the GCF policy on indigenous peoples with the GCF gender policy.
Markus Ihalainen, CIFOR Research and Engagement Officer; Iliana Monterroso, Scientist
In 2018, GCF submitted a new draft gender and social inclusion policy for 2018–2020 to the GCF Board, with some key messages that align with CIFOR’s recommendations.
CIFOR also contributed to a submission by the gender team of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), leading to an invitation to present findings at the 2018 climate summit in Bonn, Germany in May 2018. CIFOR researcher Markus Ihalainen emphasized the need for timely, context-specific and nuanced sex-disaggregated data in the forestry and agriculture sectors. The workshop report was welcomed in the draft conclusion text by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation at the UNFCCC’s climate conference in Katowice, Poland.
A presentation on the sidelines of the Katowice conference and an analysis of the UN Women’s 2018 report on gender equality within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offered recommendations on how CGIAR can play a bigger role in the 2030 Agenda by leveraging its globally comparative, high-impact and innovative research to contribute to global and national efforts to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals.
their own perspective
To find out how REDD+ is affecting daily
life on the ground, CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+ held focus groups
where they asked about well-being – as people defined it themselves.
Researchers compared responses from
interviews they did starting in 2010, half in villages with REDD+ initiatives and
half in control villages, both before and after the initiatives began. Roughly
half the focus groups were all women, the rest were mixed gender.
They found that, compared with those in control sites over the same time period, more women in REDD+ sites showed a decline in perceived wellbeing. Only three years had passed – not a lot of time for benefits to start showing – and expectations may have been high. But overall, the analysis of women’s responses suggests that well-being is more likely to improve if interventions support women’s employment, economic conditions and empowerment; this means having a clear understanding of gender dynamics and inequalities from the beginning and addressing them throughout.