Gender Equality and Equity Strategy: Ensuring Inclusiveness in Model Forest Landscapes

April 19, 2018 | Written BY : IMFN

The Ibero-American Model Forest Network (IAMFN) adopted a Gender Equity and Equality Strategy, in June 2017. The policy was developed using a participatory approach involving the IAMFN management team, the International Model Forest Network (IMFN) Secretariat and representatives from Model Forests.

Pictured left: Laura B. Arroyo Lugo, former Executive Director of the Puerto Rico National Model Forest, and former Vice-President of the IAMFN.

As sustainable development commitments and programs the world over, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, become increasingly focused on gender in development, the IAMFN saw an opportunity to shine a direct light on gender issues in Model Forests, and encourage equal power relations around the Model Forest table.

“While Model Forests are based on principles of inclusiveness, they are not prescriptive as to how traditionally marginalized stakeholders should be involved,” explains Christa Mooney, Program Specialist at the International Model Forest Network Secretariat. “This new Strategy aims to institutionalize and mainstream a gender approach across the regional network as a whole to deliberately and meaningfully empower women and girls.”

The strategy is focused on five action areas:

  • Education and Awareness;
  • Strengthening of Social Capital;
  • Development of local capacities and access to political capital;
  • Continuous improvement and knowledge dissemination;
  • Crosscutting analysis of the gender approach.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 5
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

The strategy underlines the need to better understand and analyze the links between gender equity and emerging issues that have a direct impact on development and conservation processes (poverty, climate change, restoration, mining, food security and sovereignty, peace processes, gender violence, and human trafficking). It also advocates for the use of inclusive language, promoting the women’s empowerment, equal representation between men and women in decision making processes, and engaging local and international partners by putting the issue of gender equity and equality directly on the agenda.

The strategy also advocates for measures to ensure that a more diverse representation  of voices are heard in developing local capacities, and by targeting traditionally disadvantaged groups including children and youth, indigenous and ethnic communities, lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender populations, the elderly, the disabled and immigrants as participants in processes.

Yerill Giomar Torrez Ruiz, a Master student at The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) in Costa Rica, was tasked with the mission to draft the strategy. To secure the inclusion of a diversity of voices in the process, Torrez Ruiz surveyed and interviewed a vast number of stakeholders across the Network. She validated her results by holding workshops in Pichanaki Model Forest, Peru.

To monitor the progresses, a number of indicators were developed, such as the number of women in decision-making positions in the IAMFN and individual Model Forests with parity as the ideal; number of disadvantaged groups joining regional and local governance platforms; and financing allocated for training and awareness activities.

As a next step, each Model Forest will develop its own gender strategy, adapted to their local context. The strategy is also being shared with other regions of the IMFN with a view to broader adoption and adaption across the International Model Forest Network.

In adopting this strategy, the Regional network takes up the call to action issued by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Canadian government’s Feminist International Assistance Policy, Sweden’s foreign assistance policy, and other increasingly vocal supporters of women’s empowerment.

The IAMFN in Numbers
32 Model Forests
15 Countries
31M Hectares

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