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FTA gender scientists to launch ‘The Earthscan Reader on Gender and Forests’ during IUFRO congress

A Nepali woman prepares rice for cooking. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR
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Clouds cover the hills in Nalma village, Nepal. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

During the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) 125th Anniversary Congress, CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) scientists Bimbika Sijapati Basnett of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Marlène Elias of Bioversity International will officially launch The Earthscan Reader on Gender and Forests. This reader has been edited by Carol J. Pierce Colfer, Elias, Sijapati Basnett and Susan Stevens Hummel.

“The reader gives an overview of a collection of key articles on gender and forests published over the last 30 years. This way, the collection makes it possible to easily access excellent forestry-relevant social science within an overarching gender analytical framework and demonstrates the leading debates in the field,” said Elias.

The IUFRO congress, which will be held from Sept. 18-22, is fully booked. With a total of 2,100 researchers, practitioners and policymakers present, launching the book – on Sept. 21 from 12:30pm to 1:15pm CEST – during the conference will attract many people interested in the topic of gender and forests.

Read more: FTA Focus on Gender newsletter

Why a book about gender and forests?

“As we have seen over the past years, there is currently much interest in, and an expressed need for, mainstreaming gender in natural resource management, including forestry,” said Sijapati Basnett.

The focus of the book is on the role of gender relations in people and forest interactions, as told through the collection of various studies from both developed and developing countries. It includes theoretical analyses, methodological pieces, case studies and cross-country comparisons, and forms a companion volume to Gender and Forests: Climate Change, Tenure, Value Chains and Emerging Issues (2016), also edited by Colfer, Sijapati Basnett and Elias.

Published earlier this year, the Earthscan Reader on Gender and Forests has already been well received and is of great value to biophysical science and social science students, both seasoned professionals and professionals in training.

Read more: Material galore: FTA scientists working on a second book on gender and forests

Presentation during gender and climate policy session

A Nepali woman prepares rice for cooking. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

During the IUFRO conference, on Sept. 20, Sijapati Basnett will also give a presentation on the topic of “Gender norms and gendered impacts of oil palm conversion in Indonesia: Challenging private sector commitments to climate change mitigation.”

According to the abstract for the session, the ‘zero deforestation’ movement has received recognition across a wide spectrum of actors for bringing together private sector corporations to commit to climate change mitigation. This is particularly the case in Indonesia where lowland tropical forests continue to be converted to make way for oil palm production, and some state-led measures are considered to have failed in reducing and halting deforestation.

The abstract adds that although women in oil palm-dominated landscapes play integral roles as oil palm producers and workers, alongside their responsibility for household food security, critical questions about gender equality have thus far been absent from the zero deforestation policy agenda.

Sijapati Basnett will participate in the session to present on case studies that illustrate the role of gender norms in enabling particular kinds of oil palm investment on the one hand, and in shaping pathways to inclusion, exclusion and dispossession on the other.

Both the book launch and the lecture will be filmed and posted online, will details to be announced. FTA will also present a subplenary session at the same event, in cooperation with IUFRO, titled “Research for sustainable development: Forests, trees and agroforestry” to debate the key priorities for trees and forests in sustainable development, which will also be livestreamed.

By Manon Koningstein, FTA Gender Integration Team. 

This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors

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  • How are FTA and CIFOR addressing gender and rights in forest and land use?

How are FTA and CIFOR addressing gender and rights in forest and land use?

The forestry sector has much to contribute to addressing persistent gender inequalities in rights, resources and representation across developing countries. Photo by CIFOR
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CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) gender scientist Bimbika Sijapati Basnett from the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) recently gave a speech during the Swedish royal visit to Indonesia.

“The forestry sector has much to contribute towards combatting gender inequalities and enhancing the full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls. By aligning CIFOR and FTA’s work with the global framework on sustainable development, we hope to contribute knowledge and evidence to advance a global vision rather than strive for results in a piecemeal and isolated manner.”

It was with these words that FTA gender specialist Sijapati Basnett concluded her speech during the visit of their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden and distinguished guests from the governments of Sweden and Indonesia at CIFOR’s headquarters in Bogor, Indonesia, on May 22.

During her well-received speech, Sijapati Basnett gave a brief overview of how CIFOR and FTA are addressing gender and rights in their research globally, including in Indonesia. In the process, she drew on her own views as well as FTA and CIFOR’s research on gender and forestry.

The forestry sector has much to contribute to addressing persistent gender inequalities in rights, resources and representation across developing countries. Photo by CIFOR

Gender equality and development goals

The forestry sector has a long history of engaging with gender issues, but for gender issues to be considered seriously in forestry policy, practice and research, they have to be framed in terms of how gender equality and women’s empowerment can contribute to sustainable forest management, reduced deforestation, poverty reduction and other environmental and development goals.

In her presentation, Sijapati Basnett explained that though these concerns are relevant, they are not adequate for three important reasons.

First, why can gender equality and women’s rights not be goals in and of themselves? Why must they be viewed principally as instruments for reaching other objectives? After all, glaring and persistent gender inequalities in rights, resources and representation are a pressing challenge across developing countries. The forestry sector has much to contribute to addressing them.

Second, women, like men, are not conservation-friendly if there are no adequate incentives in place.

Sijapati Basnett interviews a female farmer in a paddy field in Indonesia. Photo by Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR

And finally, when women are added into existing forestry and conservation programs without thought about how these policies and programs could also be beneficial to them, women’s presence is tokenistic. Worse, existing gender inequalities can be heightened because women then need to add participation in forestry projects and programs to everything else they do every day.

Gender equality and women’s rights are goals in themselves

Sijapati Basnett mentioned that she had witnessed a considerable change under the global framework on development since the mid-2000s.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) recognized gender equality and women’s rights as goals in and of themselves and also integrated them into other development goals. But the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have gone further and included many of the underlying causes of gender inequalities (such as access to land and resources or distribution of care) that women’s movements have advocated for generations.

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Sijapati Basnett continued by mentioning that the Swedish government’s Feminist Foreign Policy 2015-2018 and efforts to channel support and funding in ways that strengthen women’s rights, representation and access to resources adds further weight and legitimacy to these global agreements.

Women are pictured in the La Roya indigenous community in Peru. The impact of male out-migration has significant  consequences for women in forested landscapes. Photo by Juan Carlos Huayllapuma/CIFOR

CIFOR and FTA’s gender work within the global gender framework

Sijapati Basnett explained that CIFOR and FTA have embraced these broader changes and aligned their work within this global framework in terms of the research they undertake, how they communicate their work, and the range of actors they work with to ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment objectives are at the heart of sustainable development debates and solutions.

She gave examples of CIFOR and FTA´s work on:

  • Forest and land rights, where she mentioned the glaring disparities in rights, although responsibilities for forest management are shared between the genders. Research findings from Uganda and Nicaragua suggest that when women feel their rights are secure and not dependent on men’s, they are more likely to make investment decisions that are good for them and good for forests.
  • Climate change, where gender is a critical and cross-cutting component of CIFOR’s research on REDD+ and work on developing principles and guidelines for integrating gender in REDD+ design and implementation.
  • Corporate commitments, where work is being done toward expanding the global debate on corporate commitments to eliminate deforestation from supply chains by monitoring whether women have a meaningful voice in decisions related to land conversion; whether corporate practices uphold global standards of ‘decent employment’; and whether services that are extended to smallholders and local communities target both women and men.
  • Migration and mobility, where the impact of male out-migration for women who are left behind can be dramatically different depending on what forest management institutions and social structures they have in their communities. Thus CIFOR and FTA are working alongside research and development partners to understand the kinds of policy reforms, institutional changes and cultural shifts needed to support women who are left behind to be at the forefront of forest management efforts.

Sijapati Basnett’s speech provided an overview of how FTA and CIFOR are integrating gender in new and emerging areas but also reminded the audience of the challenges that lie ahead.

Read also:

By Manon Koningstein, FTA Gender Integration Team.  

For more information, consult the press release.

This work forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry. We would like to thank all donors who supported this work through their contributions to the CGIAR Fund.

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