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Women thinking of tomorrow (Vol. 3, Issue 2)

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This year, International Women’s Day encourages us to think equal, build smart and innovate for change.

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) has a strong focus on advancing gender equality as a goal in its own right and as a means to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Through gender research and action, FTA scientists seek to understand and redress inequalities and social exclusions related to access to and control of natural resources, governance of trees and forests, and the distribution of benefits from resource use in forest and agroforestry landscapes. Through gender transformative research, FTA seeks to challenge gender norms that maintain such inequalities, to enable both women and men to innovate for the changes they wish to see in the landscapes they inhabit. Highlighting its successes, members of FTA’s gender team were recently granted two feminization of agriculture grants, with a study on the gendered evolution of labor force participation in agriculture and forestry in Indonesia, and work on gender and generational dynamics in land restoration amid male out-migration in Burkina Faso and Kenya. FTA is pleased to share these and other initiatives in this special IWD edition. Find out about gender research related to forest and land restoration, the nutritional importance of trees on farms and bamboo as a development solution, as well as other work on climate negotiations, and the new member of FTA’s Independent Steering Committee (ISC), Richard Stanislaus Muyungi. Vincent Gitz, FTA Director, and Marlène Elias, FTA Gender Research Coordinator

Special feature

Thinking of tomorrow: Women essential to successful forest and land restoration in Africa

imagethumb.jpgAfrican community leaders know that women play essential roles in restoring land and forests, even though it is not always easy for them to contribute. But do high-level decision makers grasp the unrealized potential of women’s leadership? Taking cues from grassroots experiences can help regional restoration initiatives improve their chances of success. Late last year, African community leaders put together a manifesto that underscores how important communities are for successful restoration. Its recommendations build on 12 success stories collected from women and men working to reverse degradation across the continent.


Challenging gender norms around trees and land restoration in West Africa

imagethumb.jpg Trees are important sources of income for many women in the drylands of West Africa, yet women often have little say in decisions about how land and trees are managed or how household income is used. A series of community workshops organized by the West Africa Forest-Farm Interface (WAFFI) project recently explored gender inequity and what could be done to change things for the better.

Land restoration to enhance gender equality in Burkina Faso

imagethumb.jpg Landscape restoration enhances soil fertility and facilitates the establishment of trees that can provide benefits for human wellbeing as well as the environment. However, not all farmers are able to equally adopt or benefit from landscape restoration practices. As part of a project led by Bioversity International, research has highlighted how inclusive initiatives have the potential to improve women’s lives and communities’ environments, while also considering the barriers women face in restoring their land.

Trees nurture nutrition

imagethumb.jpg Foods from farms with trees — also known as agroforestry — are dense with nutrients. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils complement and diversify diets based on staple foods like rice, wheat, maize and cassava. To fully harness the benefits of trees, World Agroforestry (ICRAF) has developed an approach that helps with the selection of socioecologically suitable and nutritionally important food-tree species along with complementary vegetable, pulse and staple crops.

Promoting nature-based solutions for gender equality

imagethumb.jpg As both a  means of income and a renewable energy source, bamboo is helping to bring income and social standing to women across the world. The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR) promotes more inclusive training and job creation related to bamboo, contributing toward SDG 5 on achieving gender equality. Using bamboo not only gives women access to a potentially lucrative economic resource, but can also help to create more sustainable development solutions.

Subnational decision-making needed for climate gains

imagethumb.jpg Global climate negotiations take place on the international stage, bolstered by countries’ national policies. But preventing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and other land-use changes requires work at the local level. For those efforts to be effective, it is important to understand who is involved at each level and in every sector, and how they interact, say scientists who have conducted research about such multi-level governance.

FTA welcomes new Independent Steering Committee member

imagethumb.jpg The Independent Steering Committee (ISC) is a key component of the governance of FTA. The program recently welcomed a new independent member of the ISC, Richard Stanislaus Muyungi, who brings to the table extensive experience in environment and climate change over the past 25 years, with a particular focus on international environmental and climate policy and governance processes under the UN.

Banner photo by O. Girard/CIFOR. Special feature and news photos, from top, by: O. Girard/CIFOR; World Agroforestry; S. Tiendrebeogo/Universite di Ouagadougou; World Agroforestry; INBAR; K. Evans/CIFOR; A. Gonzalez/CIFOR.

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Recent publications


Towards a gender-responsive implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity


Exploring park-people conflicts in Colombia through a social lens


Gender aspects in action- and outcome-based payments for ecosystem services — A tree planting field trial in Kenya


Addressing equity in community forestry: Lessons from 20 years of implementation in Cameroon


Gender and the formalization of native communities in the Peruvian Amazon


Formalización del derecho colectivo de las comunidades nativas en Perú: La perspectiva de los funcionarios que lo implementan


El impacto de la formalización de los derechos sobre la tierra y el bosque: Perspectivas de comunidades en Madre de Dios y Loreto


Historical trajectories and prospective scenarios for collective land tenure reforms in community forest areas in Colombia


Communities restoring landscapes: Stories of resilience and success


Forest biodiversity monitoring: Guide to community-based approaches



Ecosystem services and participatory analysis of agricultural practices in Nicaragua



Seeds of Change Conference April 2-4, 2019 Canberra, Australia

Fourth World Congress on Agroforestry FTA will hold “Social issues in agroforestry systems” and is involved in numerous other sessions. May 20-25, 2019 Montpellier, France

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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