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Milestone gender and environment report from UNEP shows gender should be at heart of sustainable development

26 May, 2016
Posted in Gender, Media releases, Sustainable Development

gender and environment

25 May 2016 – Nairobi, United Nations Environment Assembly 2 (UNEA-2)

gender and environmentUNEP, together with report partners including Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) (1) and Global Forest Coalition (GFC) (2) today launched a new and pivotal report, “GGEO – Global Gender Environment Outlook”. (3) The report calls for all enviro­nmental policies to be gender sensitive, and for a new understanding about the role of women as agents of change.

Speakers at the launch included Elliot Harris, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNEP New York Office; Victor Rønneberg, Ambassador of Norway to Kenya; Simone Ellis Olouch-Olunya, Deputy Regional Director of UN Women Eastern and Southern Africa; and Jaqueline McGlade, Chief Scientist and Director, Division of Early Warning & Assessment UNEP They emphasised that the conclusions of the report must be taken on board in full by governments negotiating a range of critical resolutions at the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), which is taking place in Nairobi this week.

“Shockingly these gender aspects are barely reflected in the draft resolutions that are on the table at the UNEA meeting at the moment” states Sascha Gabizon, executive director of WECF. “This report shows UNEA-2 needs to break the mould, fully recognising that there are gender aspects to every environmental issue, and seeking to involve women—at all levels—in seeking real solutions.”

WECF and GFC (4) applaud UNEP’s new emphasis on the vital importance of addressing gender concerns across the full range of environmental issues, including forest conservation and restoration, and climate change. Women’s traditional knowledge and responsibilities as stewards of nature mean they are well positioned to contribute to community conservation across the world, and to enhancing the resilience of their livelihoods in response to changing environmental realities, such as climate change.

“The UN’s Paris Agreement on climate change shows that fine words about women’s participation will help little if more profound gender inequities are not addressed. False solutions like carbon markets in forests and agriculture are marginalising women whose land tenure rights are seldom recognised” said Isis Alvarez, GFC’s Gender Advisor and Campaigner.

For further information contact:
Chantal Van den Bossche, WECF, +31 6 28129992, chantal.vandenbossche@wecf.eu
Ashlesha Khadse, media officer, GFC, +91-8600839193, ashlesha@globalforestcoalition.org
Sascha Gabizon, WECF (in Nairobi), +49  172 8637586, sascha.gabizon@wecf.eu
Isis Alvarez, GFC (in Nairobi), + 57 310 2565412, isis.alvarez@globalforestcoalition.org
Simone Lovera, GFC (in Nairobi) +31-6-47392511, simone@globalforestcoalition.org

Notes:

(1) WECF is an international network of 150 women and environmental organisations acting together with women to build a world, which is fair, healthy and sustainable. WECF elaborates and implements training and awareness raising programmes on the potential health effects of environmental contaminants on human health, especially the most vulnerable populations. WECF carries out policy and advocacy activities and is official partner of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme). http://www.wecf.eu
(2) Global Forest Coalition is a worldwide coalition of almost 80 NGOs and Indigenous peoples’ organisations from 53 different countries striving for rights-based, socially just forest conservation policies. http://globalforestcoalition.org/
(3) Access the full GGEO report here.
(4) WECF and GFC, together with partners Women Environmental Program, Gender and Water Alliance and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development will convene in Nairobi immediately after UNEA-2, to hold a start-up meeting for their new joint Women2030 project, The project aims to build the capacity of women’s and civil society organisations, enabling them to promote and advocate for gender-responsive sustainable development policies in relation to all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project will also provide monitoring input on the SDGs on a global policy level through the “Women’s Major Group”. The project is funded by the EU.