Taking Action on Gender Gaps in Forest Landscapes

Finance & Investment


Investments in forest landscapes and agroforestry will be critical in efforts to address climate change and rural poverty challenges in many countries. While it is the people living in and around forests that are best placed to make the efforts needed to transform them into more sustainable systems from both environmental and livelihoods perspectives, women and men in local communities typically receive very little technical or financial support to do so. This is particularly the case for women. In the context of forest landscape initiatives, two overarching arguments exist for why it is critical to address the challenges to integrating gender equality actions and investments and to take specific steps to address these challenges and enable successful implementation. First and foremost is a rights-based argument. These investments and efforts should not maintain gender inequalities, but rather work toward advancing gender equality, as all people have the right to fair and equal treatment. Secondly, a strong case can be made that many opportunities are missed and investments simply are not as effective and efficient as they potentially could be by being gender-responsive rather than ignoring gender considerations or being gender-blind. Thus, issues arising due to gender inequalities should not just be seen as problems, but as potential opportunities to take actions that enhance both gender equality and forest landscape management, resulting in transformational change on both fronts. Yet project designers, policy makers, and others making decisions affecting forest landscapes are not receivingmuch guidance on exactly what gender-responsive project activities and policy actions should be considered, which will vary according to different contexts. This paper explores these opportunities to enhance gender equality and forest landscape management with the goal of starting to provide such guidance. It reviews key gender gaps identified in forest landscape projects and programs in the literature. It examines what gender-focused activities and actions are being taken to address these gaps in many countries through a review of some of the projects and forest-sector investments supported by the World Bank Group and partners that are now incorporating such actions. The findings show that there is a wide range of gender-responsive forest landscape investments that can be considered by those wishing to contribute to and catalyze results on multiple sustainable development goals. By synthesizing and categorizing these actions, this paper aims to offer both inspiration as well as practical, concrete ideas on how to link knowledge with action in the context of this complex challenge. Much remains to be done, however.
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