Governance

CoP 14: Only 25% nations include gender discussions in land degradation targets

Of around 80, 20 countries do not have role of gender and women into targets and measures to halt land degradation by 2030

 
By Shagun Kapil
Last Updated: Thursday 05 September 2019
There is currently no global or consistent national data on the true scope of women’s land and natural resources rights. Photo: Getty Images
There is currently no global or consistent national data on the true scope of women’s land and natural resources rights. Photo: Getty Images There is currently no global or consistent national data on the true scope of women’s land and natural resources rights. Photo: Getty Images

Only around 20 of more than 80 countries have included discussions on the role of gender and women in their targets to halt land degradation by 2030, according to a briefing note released at the 14th Conference of Parties (CoP) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in New Delhi on September 5, 2019.

The UNCCD had, for the first time, come up with a Gender Action Plan (GAP) in China in 2017. It mandates gender mainstreaming in advancing the efforts of countries to achieve their Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets and the need to foster gender equality.

While most countries did not mainstream gender into targets and measures, they did refer to women’s roles in the ongoing LDN Transformative Projects and Programmes, according to the briefing note.

Countries that paid heed to gender mainstreaming include Bosnia, Guyana, Senegal, Peru, Ethiopia, Indonesia, etc. Many of the targets provide additional benefits to advance gender equality, increase women’s access to and control over land and natural resources, improve health and nutrition, reduce poverty, restore ecosystems, and minimise the negative effects of climate change.

While land rights, especially for women engaged in agriculture, are critical for LDN, there is currently no global or consistent national data on the true scope of women’s land and natural resources rights, according to the note.

“Several goals and indicators of the internationally endorsed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can be leveraged to provide missing sex and social status disaggregated data relevant to land issues,” the note read.

Better sex disaggregated data can revolutionise and improve government-led processes to craft evidence-based LDN interventions and to empower communities and women to monitor and enforce their land and natural resources rights, it added.

The UNCCD recognised that in most developing countries, land degradation impacts men and women differently, mainly due to unequal access to land, water, credit, extension services and technology.

Women, especially rural and indigenous ones, often serve as environmental stewards and are keepers of traditional conservation knowledge. Unlike men, they tend to be excluded from the conservation and management of land and forests and encounter barriers to participate in the processes of development, planning and policymaking.

The GAP outlines four priority areas to incorporate into LDN implementation:

  1. Ensure women’s participation in decisions taken during the design, planning, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives to implement the UNCCD
  2. Integrate women’s economic empowerment in UNCCD implementation activities to eradicate their extreme poverty
  3. Strengthen women’s land rights and access to resources
  4. Enhance women’s access to improved knowledge and technologies.

A manual on mainstreaming gender considerations in the LDN project cycle for project design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation was also released at CoP 14. It included issues like integrating gender into UNCCD reporting, online training and supporting regional workshops, an online course on gender and environment, reviewing national research reports and studies to best tailor project interventions, conducting gender and social mapping, among other things.

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