Safeguarding our environment for future generations requires a holistic, multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral approach. Women, who constitute half of the world’s population, are essential to every aspect of that approach. But too often, women’s needs, roles and capabilities are unrecognized or undervalued. What’s more, the legal, social and economic inequalities between men and women also hold back prospects for sustainable development and undermine sound environmental management. Read more+
Addressing gender equality and empowering women are important to generate global environmental benefits — from decreasing CO2 emissions and protecting soils to saving forest and preserving biodiversity. We are committed to make real change on the ground. When a woman’s access to financial resources, land, education or health is strengthened, she will be able to fully contribute or benefit from investments in the environment.
To come up with meaningful solutions to environmental challenges, we need to ensure the voice of both women and men is heard in our projects and programs — as participants and leaders. At the same time, we must overcome the barriers that limit women’s capacity to make decisions that could improve resource productivity, enhance ecosystem management and create more sustainable energy, water and food systems.
What We Do
The GEF believes that more systematic inclusion of gender aspects in our projects could create positive synergies between improved environmental management and greater gender equality. We have made much progress in integrating gender equality issues into our projects over the past few years. But more work is needed to achieve greater coherence and results.
In 2011, the GEF adopted a policy to mainstream gender. This means all new projects must conduct a gender analysis and develop gender-responsive results-based frameworks. These are considered key first steps to ensure that women’s needs, voice and participation are addressed in project design and implementation. This, in turn, can help ensure that women and men get more equal access to project resources, services and other benefits. Read more+
To implement the policy effectively, the GEF worked with its Agencies to develop the Gender Equality Action Plan in 2014. This plan outlines concrete actions to help GEF implement the policy and advance the GEF’s gender mainstreaming efforts.
Building on the Action Plan, the GEF created a platform in 2015 for partners to share knowledge and collaborate on gender issues. The GEF Gender Partnership now engages gender focal points from the GEF’s 18 Agencies, MEA Secretariats and other partners. Together, they work to help the GEF and partners to mainstream gender equality and empower women within the broader context of sustainable development. The GEF has also created a Gender and Social Workstream to support the gender mainstreaming process.
Looking ahead, we will continue to work in partnership, build capacity, strengthen our GEF partnership, invest in knowledge and learning, improve accountability and focus on results on the ground. Our projects and activities will respond to women’s needs and strategic interests, ensuring their participation and leadership for greater results on global environment.
Since adoption of the gender mainstreaming policy in 2011, there has been a notable shift and significant progress in the attention paid to gender and social concerns in GEF projects. Annual monitoring reviews have highlighted good practices across focal area projects in mainstreaming gender during project development and implementation, which helps to demonstrate trends with respect to relevance and impact. They have also provided important information on the progress and remaining challenges to further strengthen mainstreaming gender in GEF projects. Read more+
In the Sahel, land degradation and desertification is undermining biodiversity, including the sustainability of plants and animals, and their natural habitats. To decrease vulnerability and build resilience, the GEF funded an integrated ecosystem management project in Burkina Faso. The project’s participatory approach increased the involvement of local communities in conservation activities and decision-making, with particular attention to women as users of biological resources and as transfer agents of knowledge to youth. Women were also prominently represented in village associations and participated in decision-making at the community level.