FTA’s new Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Agenda and Action Plan 2020-2021

At a food fair in Luwingu, Zambia, in April 2017, women display items they regularly forage and cultivate.
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A Revised Research Agenda and Action Plan 2020-2021 for FTA on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion has just been released

Since its very beginning in 2011, gender and social inclusion have been a core area of research and action for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

Gender equality is a human right and a necessary condition for reaching sustainable development worldwide. Significant inequalities based on gender and other types of discrimination affect who has voice and can influence, and who benefits or suffers losses in rapidly transforming forest, tree and agroforestry landscapes. While being fundamentally unjust, these inequalities also have the undesirable side effect to hamper the achievement of fundamental development and environmental outcomes, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.

The first phase of FTA (2011-2015) had a robust institutional architecture in place for gender mainstreaming. The FTA Gender Strategy produced in 2013 was one of the first to be approved by the Independent Science and Partnership Council and the Consortium office. As FTA’s research agenda has evolved over time, so too has the program’s portfolio of gender and social inclusion research, to address emerging global challenges and reflect the latest thinking and innovations in the field.

The new FTA Gender Research and Action Plan 2020-2021 [pdf]
The revised version of this strategy, called Gender Equality and Social Inclusion – A Revised Agenda and Action Plan for the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry 2020-2021 draws on the program’s tradition of quality gender research and its experience strengthening gender integration across program activities and processes. Building on and complementing its original efforts and strategy, FTA continues to view gender integration in research as a fundamental part of doing good science (European Commission 2011), and approaches gender as a theme that cuts across every aspect of the FTA research portfolio.

FTA’s revised agenda and action plan lays out a transformative approach that actively addresses structural barriers and schemes that (re)produce gender inequalities. The aim is a deep, lasting and pervasive transition that moves beyond individual women’s self-improvement toward more equal power dynamics and structures that affect men’s and women’s capacities to:

  1. control assets and resources;
  2. value and distribute unremunerated labor; and
  3. meaningfully participate in decision making at the household and community levels and beyond.

From a normative perspective, FTA recognizes gender equality as an inherent human right. This means that FTA advances gender equality throughout its portfolio for its intrinsic rather than merely instrumental value: equality is not seen primarily as a mechanism to deliver greater impact, but as an essential and indivisible condition for all human beings.

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In the new research agenda and action plan, there is also an explicit commitment to adopting an intersectionality lens to analyze how gender intersects with other factors of social differentiation, such as age or generation, socioeconomic status or ethnicity. This allows FTA to shine a light on and work more comprehensively on other forms of marginalization that all together shape livelihood and resource management decisions, governance and dramatically determine the inequitable distribution of benefits from tree-based systems. In this regard, the research program gives renewed attention to the aspirations and livelihoods of youth in forest, tree and agroforestry systems.

The Revised Research Agenda and Action Plan is characterized by two main, mutually supportive strands of work. The first strand focuses on knowledge generation and delivering quality gender, social inclusion and youth research, and the second on strengthening gender integration along FTA’s impact pathways, including how the program engages with a wide range of stakeholders.

Theory of change of gender integration in FTA

Broken down in main points, this Revised Research Agenda and Action Plan will enable FTA to:

  • Lay out the pathways through which FTA contributes to the CGIAR’s efforts to achieve the Intermediate Development Outcome (IDO) ‘Equity and inclusion achieved (gender and youth)’;
  • Generate an empirical evidence base on the structural barriers that (re)produce gender inequalities in forest and agroforestry landscapes and develop innovations to transform discriminatory structures and norms;
  • Strengthen capacities for delivering a high volume of quality, impactful research that will foster gender equality as well as other sought FTA outcomes;
  • Build partnerships to mainstream gender in processes (e.g. around restoration, climate change or inclusive business models) and multilateral environmental agreements and agendas (e.g. Rio Conventions) of concern to FTA.

This refocused Revised Research Agenda and Action Plan offers new opportunities for framing transformative and impactful research to enable change toward more equitable and sustainable forest, tree and agroforestry systems.

FTA hopes that it will inspire other research programs in constructing their social and gender inclusiveness strategy.

 

References

European Commission. 2011. Toolkit: Gender in EU-funded research. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.

 


Written by Marène Elias and Ana Maria Paez Valencia from the FTA Gender cross-cutting theme. 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.


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