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A global vision of gender equality (Vol. 2, Issue 7)

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Today, on International Day of Rural Women, the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) celebrates the invaluable contribution of rural women to food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience.

International Day of Rural Women is also a time for all stakeholders to commit to renewed efforts to address the gender inequalities that shape women’s and men’s constraints and opportunities in tree-based systems, and that condition their ability to benefit from, and contribute to, positive development and environmental change.

In this edition, learn how FTA contributes to a global vision of gender equality and women’s empowerment and further aligns its activities with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a duo of articles, we offer an analysis of UN Women’s 2018 flagship report on gender and the SDGs and its implications for the CGIAR gender research community.

Furthermore, find out about the GENNOVATE comparative qualitative research initiative as well as work on restoration and migration, particularly how they relate to gender equality and social inclusion across research on forests, trees and agroforestry. In addition to showcasing these and other recent developments in FTA’s gender research, this edition also looks at other significant FTA work including a recent report on jurisdictional sustainability, the Trees for Seeds initiative and bioenergy development.

From a gender and social inclusion perspective, as a research for development program, FTA gives utmost importance to greater collaboration among researchers, governments and women’s organizations to help realize the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Vincent Gitz, FTA Director, and Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator

Thoughts on gender

What’s in it for gender researchers when it comes to UN Women’s gender in the SDGs report?

imagethumb.jpg In the first of a two-part series, Bimbika Sijapati Basnett analyzes UN Women’s 2018 flagship report on gender and SDGs, which offers a framework to monitor each of the 17 SDGs from a gender perspective, and takes stock of their performance to date. After recently publishing a brief evaluating this role, Sijapati Basnett looks at the report’s implications for the CGIAR gender research community.


Playing a bigger role in global monitoring of the SDGs

imagethumb.jpgIn a follow-up article prompted by UN Women’s report, Sijapati Basnett reflects upon entry points for CGIAR to respond to the call for greater collaboration among researchers, governments and women’s organizations to realize the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. The CGIAR community is uniquely situated to react to the request, with a possible first step of prioritizing CGIAR-wide deliberations on how to play a more meaningful role.

Women’s hidden harvest: the AmaXhosa women and traditional culture survival practices

imagethumb.jpgA new photobook, Women’s hidden harvest, offers a visual journey based on research on rural women’s struggles to protect their traditional knowledge and practices attached to imifino. These leafy green vegetables, which grow wild in forests, and in fallowed and cultivated fields, play an important nutritional role as a free and healthy food source in Hobeni village, South Africa, and are special to women, who guard traditional knowledge on plant identification, harvesting, and culinary traditions.

Restoration initiatives must consider how gender relations shape control over land

imagethumb.jpgMarking International Day of Rural Women, a framework developed by FTA researchers demonstrates how forest landscape restoration can promote food and nutrition security and gender equality. Restoration initiatives must consider how gender relations shape access to and control over land and its use, and how changes in land use that may result from restoration can disadvantage women if their priorities, labor, knowledge and rights to resources are overlooked.

Storytelling guide illustrates how local practices can contribute to landscape restoration

imagethumb.jpgEfforts to help spread knowledge of land restoration and food security techniques developed by researchers and farmers in Haharu District, Sumba, Indonesia, have resulted in the illustrated story book, Menanam pohon di bukit batu (Planting trees on a stony hill). Researchers expect that the book will assist farmers in the district to better understand research results, and thus to restore their land to a fertile and productive state.

Hedging bets in resilient landscape restoration

imagethumb.jpg Globally, degraded land costs about 10% of global GDP per year, while improved ecosystem services, climate mitigation and improved productivity of degraded land could provide billions of dollars of benefits per year. One of the critical barriers to restoration is having access to the seeds and seedlings of the right tree species, of the right quality. This topic was the focus of a recent discussion on the Bioversity International initiative Trees for Seeds at the recent Global Landscapes Forum.

What do gender norms, innovation and trees have to do with each other?

imagethumb.jpg An estimated 1.6 billion people live in and around forests and depend in part or in full on forests for their livelihoods and wellbeing. Yet, the benefits from forests, trees and agroforests are unequally distributed across communities based on the gender, socioeconomic status, generation or age of their members. A new report based on case studies from the GENNOVATE comparative qualitative research initiative presents findings from Indonesia and Kyrgyzstan that shed light on how gender norms shape, and are influenced by, forest and tree-based innovation processes.

Jurisdictional sustainability report assesses outcomes of initiatives for tropical forests and climate change

Conservation and reforestation work needs to take into account existing land uses and seek solutions that serve local communities as well as bigger-picture goals. Conserving and restoring tropical forests on which millions of people around the world rely on for their livelihoods could represent over a quarter of the near-term solution to addressing climate change. An increasingly popular option for managing landscapes that takes social, economic, political and ecological considerations into account is a jurisdictional approach.

Impact of migration on people and landscapes in Nepal

imagethumb.jpgAround half a million people, or 8 percent of Nepal’s total population, applied for a permit to work abroad in 2014 – and 94 percent of them were men. Despite this, Nepal’s recent Forest Sector Strategy (2012-2022) mentions migration just once. A series of four videos and associated articles looks at migration research in Nepal, including the importance of migration for rural livelihoods and the diversity of women’s experiences.

From seeds to sales: A comprehensive look at the potential of bioenergy crops

imagethumb.jpgIf the bioenergy sector plants its roots in sustainable agriculture methods, it can simultaneously help achieve other national targets like food security and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Rather than growing the sector through the conversion of healthy ecosystems and arable land, an FTA project is seeking to establish a new approach of using Indonesia’s degraded lands for bioenergy production, thereby transforming them back into profitable landscapes.

What’s holding back biodiesel industry growth in Indonesia?

imagethumb.jpgDespite Indonesia being the largest producer of palm oil in the world, its bioenergy production remains relatively low. A team including FTA researchers interviewed key informants from government and the business sector as part of research on the opportunities and challenges presented by policies relating to the development of palm oil-based biodiesel. They found that a range of policy and technical obstacles are preventing the sector’s growth, with the work leading to the release of a working paper.

Improving livelihoods, equity and forests through sustainable management of NTFPs

imagethumb.jpgCareful management and conservation of biodiversity are fundamental for sustaining ecosystems and livelihoods but are increasingly difficult to achieve in the contexts of persistent poverty, a growing international demand for timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs), and climate change. A new publication offers field-tested strategies and good practices on how to pursue the multiple goals of gender equality and social inclusion, environmental integrity, and livelihood improvement through the sustainable use and management of NTFPs.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Special feature and news photos, from top, by: C. Shekhar Karki/CIFOR; A. Fassio/CIFOR; R. Vernooy; M. Elias/Bioversity International; ICRAF; A. Camacho/Bioversity International; M. Elias/Bioversity International; I. Cooke Vieira/CIFOR; M. Edliadi/CIFOR; I. Cooke Vieira/CIFOR; I. Cooke Vieira/CIFOR; E. Hermanowicz/Bioversity International.

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Recent publications


Women’s hidden harvest: Indigenous vegetables and amaXhosa cultural survival in Hobeni Village, South Africa


Gender equality and forest landscape restoration infobriefs


Menanam Pohon di Bukit Batu (Planting trees on a stony hill)


Guidelines for equitable and sustainable non-timber forest product management


Gendered aspirations and occupations among rural youth, in agriculture and beyond: A cross-regional perspective


Landscape Restoration in Kenya: Addressing gender equality


Bioenergy development in Central Kalimantan: Current research findings and potential areas for future study


The State of Jurisdictional Sustainability: Synthesis for practitioners and policymakers


UN Women’s evaluation of gender in the SDGs: What’s the role for the CGIAR?


Fit for purpose? A review of guides for gender-equitable value chain development


Understanding gendered innovation processes in forest-based landscapes: Case studies from Indonesia and Kyrgyz Republic


Gender in the jungle: a critical assessment of women and gender in current (2014–2016) forestry research


Evidence-based options for advancing social equity in Indonesian palm oil: Implications for research, policy and advocacy


Gender lessons for climate initiatives: A comparative study of REDD+ impacts on subjective wellbeing


Making sense of ‘intersectionality’: A manual for lovers of people and forests


Informing gender-responsive climate policy and action


What is the impact of out-migration for employment purposes on peoples and land?


Social inclusion, equity and rights in the context of restoration – lessons from the ground


Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 45
Oct. 15-19, 2018
Rome, Italy

4th International Conference on Planted Forests
Oct. 23-27, 2018
Beijing, China

Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Bonn
Dec 1-2, 2018
Bonn, Germany

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is the world’s largest research for development program to enhance the role of forests, trees and agroforestry in sustainable development and food security and to address climate change. CIFOR leads FTA in partnership with Bioversity International, CATIE, CIRAD, ICRAF, INBAR and TBI.

FTA thanks all donors who supported this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund.

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