Blog

Mexico as a Shining Example of Gender and Forest Policy

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 in Featured, General | 0 comments

Mexico as a Shining Example of Gender and Forest Policy

On November 19, I was the keynote speaker at a gender conference for staff of Mexico’s National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), presenting the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective in the forest sector. Part of the reason I was so excited to be doing this in Mexico is because Mexico has become a leading force in mainstreaming gender. They recently published a National Development Plan (2013-2018), which established the inclusion of a gender perspective as a cross-cutting principle that must permeate Mexico’s legal framework, policies, and programs, in all areas and at every level. This is great news!ir-leasing.ru Research shows there is a strong correlation between climate change mitigation, forests and women’s participation. Forests are the greatest carbon sinks for land ecosystems; however, one of the largest sources of carbon emissions comes from human-induced deforestation, which is rapidly diminishing these sinks. The use and management of forests by people depends on their economic, social, cultural, age and gender contexts; women and men use and depend on forests differently given their gender roles and responsibilities. Environmental challenges are too huge for just part of the population to participate — these challenges need to be tackled by both men and women so that the whole community has the tools and knowledge to protect and develop their forests. Mexico is a frontrunner in integrating gender considerations into policy and planning — most recently turning an international commitment into policies and laws. This commitment has permeated communities that live in forests, many members of which are women. It is important to recognize that both women and men who live in forests are important actors in conservation initiatives, which is why it is crucial to promote actions that reduce inequality and gender gaps. Without formal land titles, women cannot access programs for equipment, infrastructure, credits, or economic benefits, such as payments for environmental services (PES). In Mexico, 19.8 percent of the 4.2 million ejidatarios (land owners) are women. At the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) in Peru, gender will be the focus of an entire day — December 9 — evidence that gender considerations and the importance of women in combating climate change is gaining greater and greater recognition. There is still room for improvement, but we are excited to see the progress that has already been achieved. We’re so excited in fact, that we’ve decided to celebrate Gender Day by hosting a cocktail reception, along with the Government of Peru and other key partners, to both recognise the advancements of gender equality in the UNFCCC so far, and inspire continued concrete action toward a gender-responsive post-2015 agreement. There will be much to discuss! I always like to say: “One cannot walk far with just one leg.” What I mean by this is that we, both women and men, need to know, equally, in what way and how to protect our forests. Mexico is a shining example of the progress being made in mainstreaming gender, and, while there are other nations that have also made important advances, it is crucial to share Mexico’s experience and best practices with other countries so that they can learn from and emanate these best practices....

read more

Two new incredible jobs

Posted by on Nov 20, 2014 in Featured, Incredible Jobs | 1 comment

Two new incredible jobs

“Ficheros” (chip dancers)PolVam I was introduced to this “sort of job” in Mexico.  The “ficheros” are an old tradition associated with dancing salons.  There is a “client” which buys chips of different value (one to two dollars). Inside the salon there are the professional or the best dancers, this could be woman or man.  The better the dancer ”fichero” the more expensive it is to pay “for a dance”. So as a client you go into the salon, choose a “fichero” and fly away in their magic dancing feet.  There is no other pleasure than a good dance. Swimming horses In my last visit to Barbados, I woke up very early one morning and saw some horses deep in the ocean.  I could not believe it, what were they doing? I run all the way down to the beach, to find out that they were at least six pure blood racing horses.  As part of their daily training, they make them swim around 1 to 2 Km. Their trainers accompany them.  It is magical to see them against the sunrise and the boats behind them. I had the pleasure of meeting one of them Kei.  Kei was so fun of the sea that she made a little dance once she got into the water.  Of course, she refused to get out, so if her trainer was not paying attention, as soon as she was asked to get of the water, she would roll in the sand, so that her poor human friend will had to take her back to the warm embracing ocean.  If I had ever been a swinging horse, I would have done the same thing.          ...

read more

IS THE POWER OF ENERGY EMPOWERING WOMEN?

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Featured, General | 1 comment

IS THE POWER OF ENERGY EMPOWERING WOMEN?

September and October have been a couple of months full of “energy”. For more than two years in the Global Gender Office of IUCN, we have been looking at the need to build new knowledge and guidance at the intersection of gender and large-scale renewable energy. Let me share some facts that led us to this new adventure: A gender review undertaken by the Global Gender Office and commissioned by the Administrative Unit of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) found that in certain investment sectors, particularly within the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), limited knowledge exists on the linkages between gender and renewable energy generation, such as wind energy, geothermal, hydro and solar.[1] The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is a financing mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to help developed countries meet emission reduction targets by investing in projects in developing countries. The CDM facilitates the greatest investment to date in large-scale clean energy under the Convention. By 2012, CDM projects had generated 120 gigawatts of installed renewable energy capacity and involved over 4500 organizations in 161 countries.[2] The indicator related to gender equality used in the CDM is “empowerment of women, care of children and the frail,” which is noted as women’s access to education and training and enhancement of their societal position. As of 2012, only 5 out of 3,864 projects employ this indicator.[3] As of 2013, investment in new renewable energy capacity has surpassed investment in fossil fuel and nuclear power combined. Renewable energy investments reached $260 billion globally in 2011, up from $40 billion in 2004, and the majority of the world’s countries have now adopted policies to support renewable energy.[4] The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that 6.5 million people are now employed worldwide in renewable energy. These renewable energy jobs are largely in developing countries. [5] However, these jobs are not reaching women at the same rate as men. The energy industry remains one of the most gender imbalanced sectors. In the non-renewable energy arenas such as oil and gas, women’s employment makes up 10-20% of the sector. However, women’s employment rates in wind, solar, wave, and other renewable energies are higher—at over 25%.[6] Aware of this knowledge gap and the importance of including gender considerations in renewable energy planning and implementation, we conducted various efforts in this arena in the past months. In early September, thanks to  support from USAID, the Global Gender Office of IUCN organized a Gender and Renewable Energy Workshop. The event convened 45 experts on diverse topics under the umbrella of gender, large-scale renewable energy, and climate change mitigation. The workshop was geared toward building new knowledge and guidance on gender considerations in low emissions development planning and the renewable energy sector beyond the household level. The impetus for the workshop was the Gender Equality for Climate Change Opportunities (GECCO) initiative, a new 5-year partnership (2013-2017) between USAID’s E3 Bureau and IUCN’s Global Gender Office. The workshop produced action-oriented strategies in the areas of policy, private sector investment, infrastructure for generation, transmission, and distribution, end users, and women’s advancement in employment, leadership, and entrepreneurship. These strategies will be implemented to build momentum at the intersection of gender and clean energy as part of the GECCO initiative in the coming years. We launched a...

read more

From Peru to the World: Ensuring a New Climate Change Framework that is Gender Responsive

Posted by on Sep 20, 2014 in Featured, General | 0 comments

From Peru to the World: Ensuring a New Climate Change Framework that is Gender Responsive

I find myself in Peru, one of the oldest civilizations of Latin America. Peru will be the host country, in December of this year, of the twentieth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 20).Dekor okno   From these shores and mountains , that keep and embrace one of the most megabiodiverse countries in the world, we are examining the links between gender and climate change.   In the context of ancient knowledge we are discussing with youth, negotiators, scientists, policy makers and women’s groups how to develop an advocacy strategy that will allow COP20 to constitute a milestone to mobilize and strengthen the issue of gender equality.   The importance of gender considerations in climate change policy-making, programming and finance has gained significant recognition in recent years—and subsequently, 32 decisions of the UNFCCC have included substantive text on gender that primes Parties for gender-responsive action at national level.   The upcoming COP 20, will be an important opportunity to continue to build enabling elements of an effective, efficient, and equitable gender-responsive climate change framework. The Government of Peru, particularly as host of this vital COP, is in a position to take leadership on propelling progress in several areas.   Delegates to Peru will thus have the important opportunity to provide a mandate for developing a comprehensive framework including a two-year work program, for implementation of gender provisions.   A COP 20 decision can strengthen and substantiate progress on gender-responsive climate policy and implementation.  A time-bound framework for action can ensure that concrete steps are in place to turn words into action, with impact across all key issues and programs of the UNFCCC.   Peru the world will be watching you, you have in your hands the possibility of having an impact in the life of million of women around the world....

read more

SNAPSHOTS FROM CONGO: A PRIEST, THE WOMEN, AND AN ORPHAN

Posted by on Jun 21, 2014 in Featured, General, Untold Stories | 2 comments

SNAPSHOTS FROM CONGO: A PRIEST, THE WOMEN, AND AN ORPHAN

I write this blog while I am still in Congo, before my memory loses the smallest of the details.Focuz These are not only words; I wish you could be able to smell and feel what I have experienced and witnessed.  But these lines, I am afraid, are all I can share with you as a reader. Read them slowly, since they tell the stories of real people. These are their lives.  Treasure them, as they portray the voices of those that struggle every day to just survive. Congo, I write this for those I have met, and for those who will be in my mind for the rest of my life. I promise not to forget. These are a few of the snapshots: While I finish this blog I can hear the voice of a woman who told me:  Where are the schools? The hospitals? Why does a woman have to see her children die of starvation? Is life only about work and...

read more

Climate change: when “expect the unexpected” becomes the norm

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Featured, Untold Stories | 1 comment

Climate change: when “expect the unexpected” becomes the norm

In the past days, three different events/situations have kept me wondering about how climate change is impacting our lives in ways we cannot even imagine.Как штукатурить углы The first positive surprise came about during a meeting we had just convened from the 13-15 May 2014, in Washington, DC, where USAID joined with the Global Gender Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to organize a technical workshop on gender and REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). A learning exchange for fifty-two participants from more than twenty countries, the workshop discussions addressed the impact that REDD+ processes are triggering at the national level in relation to land and forest tenure reforms, among other crucial topics. As you might well know, women’s ownership of land worldwide is only up to 5%, despite the fact that they produce, in some parts, of the world up to 70% of the staple food. Therefore, land tenure has become indeed one of the areas in which many women and gender organisations have been working.  The reality is that trying to impact and reform policies related to land tenure is extremely complicated, and seldom are efforts realised by changes at the national level. In our recent Environment and Gender Index (EGI; http://environmentgenderindex.org), one of the indicators we use is the access to land by women in the agricultural sector. Coming out of the workshop, I compared the REDD+ countries against the list of countries were women have no/few legal rights to access or own land or access is severely restricted by discriminatory practices. To my surprise, of the seven lowest ranked countries  (Sri Lanka, Ghana, Benin, Gambia, Uganda, Cameroon and Burundi), four are “REDD+” countries – and, in three of them, Ghana, Uganda and Cameroon, we have developed gender-responsive REDD+ road maps, which are having influence in the land and forest  tenure policies.  As one of the workshop participants pointed out, we now see in REDD+ a means to introduce reforms in a much-needed area in our country.  Incredible indeed; if environmental initiatives fully embrace the principles of gender equality and women’s empowerment, they can have an unprecedented impact. The second surprise came from of a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University, in which they found that female-named hurricanes kill more than male-named hurricanes because people neither consider them as risky nor take the same precautions and therefore do not respect them.  The team examined 60 years (1950-2012) of hurricane death rates according to gender.  Of the 47 most damaging hurricanes, the female-named hurricanes produced an average of 45 deaths compared to 23 deaths in male-named storms, or almost double the number of fatalities.  My first reaction was to laugh out load, is this true? Then I just came to realize how embedded and ridiculous the patriarchal system is. The third surprise was the linkage between landmines and climate change. Yes, you read that right; it is not a typo.  The story comes from the floods that Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina have been suffering. According to a U.S. Department Of State Media Note, heavy rains in the Balkans have caused widespread flooding that has led to the possible shifting and uncovering of some...

read more

A MESSAGE TO A MEMORY

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Featured, General, Short But Sweet | 1 comment

A MESSAGE TO A MEMORY

In our lives, we all have someone who I call “the could have been….”ReTeks Last week, one of those “could have been” in my life died.  I received a call from a nurse at the hospital letting me know that he had left me a message.  What follows is an extract:  A message to a memory I was too young and pretentious when I met you. Only time showed me the mistake I made. If I would have only stayed with you, I would have laughed more, eaten more gallo pinto (a Costa Rican food made of rice and beans) and dove in further places. But far more important, I would not have been in this bed today.  You were faithful and loyal; I was not.  So many times I had the phone in my hands, but I did not have the power nor the humility to call you.  Eleven simple digits would have changed my life.  In these past days, I would have given my fortune to have you by my side, supporting me, helping me go through this last bit of my life….  You could have been “the person of my life…” I chose to make you just a memory.  I know you have this ceremony you do, when you need support: you ask for comfort and support from your lost friends and ancestors. Please add my name to your list. I will look after you in spirit… Good-bye, my “could have been”… Rest in peace....

read more

Besides the trees growing, so too do women and men as champions of gender equality in the Amazon

Posted by on Mar 11, 2014 in Featured, Untold Stories | 2 comments

Besides the trees growing, so too do women and men as champions of gender equality in the Amazon

We are in the Andean Amazon (Peru, Ecuador and Colombia,) working in the framework of the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon (ICAA) funded by USAID. This initiative is implementing a visionary process – supporting almost a full year of capacity building on gender in 31 institutions that are implementing the ICAA.Техническая информация о теплоизоляционных материалах производства компании L’Isolante K-Flex. A select group of men and women are designing strategies to ensure that their work is more inclusive. These include gender indicators in the context of adaptation, community mediators, development of gender-responsive regional climate change strategies, instruments to mainstream gender in the management of protected areas, development of gender policies at the level of environmental institutions, among others. At the end of this year, the Andean region will have a group of people who will ensure that “besides the trees growing, women and men will grow, as well, in the Amazon.” An amazing experience, and we’ll tell you more of our stories on this path throughout the...

read more

How much do you charge for life?

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Featured, Untold Stories | 0 comments

How much do you charge for life?

There is a small peasant community in Cuba call La Jocuma, in the Province Pinar del Rio.This community cherishes a very well kept secret: the invaluable and unique treasure of biodiversity.покраска металлических поверхностей Three incredible women: Bestina Mederos, Placida and Basilia Aldaz Cruz, have developed one of the biggest and richest community seed banks in the world. They have more than 286 varieties of beans, 54 of cassava, no less than 100 seeds of rice, and 15 different kinds of tomatoes, amongst many others. When they talk about their bank, you can only stand in awe of their transformative powers – these women are true agents of change. We know each seed as if they were our own children; we know their strengths and weakness, their tastes, their gifts.  Like walking out into another world, you grow along with the seed bank, every new species brings – literally – a new life.  We are ready to face climate change the best way we can, and this legacy is our gift to the current and future generations. We women are the guardians of biodiversity. But keeping a bank is usually more hard work than it is romanticism.  Every year, these women have to plant each one of the seeds, harvest them and conserve them. And their farm is 4km away from their homes. If you were to wonder how much they charge to people who want to have access to their rich biodiversity, their answer might take you by surprise: Nothing, we give them for free. How can you put value to life?  This is what our seeds are; they offer life to people through their gifts.  Especially when people have lost all their crops due to unpredictable weather patterns.  This exceptional seed bank has been supported thanks to the gender-responsive efforts of the project “Programa de Innovación agropecuaria Local (PIAL)” and great visionary women such as Dagmara Plana and Graciela Morales.  This initiative has been possible thanks to the financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).  ...

read more

How to be a woman from the south and survive to it….

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Featured, Untold Stories | 0 comments

How to be a woman from the south and survive to it….

When you are a woman from the South, you grow up surrounded by inequalities.  You see them, you smell them, you suffer them and, once in a while, you have no other option than to embrace them as your last resource to cope with them.Крокодил Sometimes, it does not matter if you are rich or poor, as a woman from the South, you share the burdens of pre-defined norms and behaviours that a patriarchal society assigns to you. In the generation of my grandmother, there was very little room to maneuver, to fight, to introduce change. There were some few women that were able to break through, but the majority had no other choice than to accept destiny, to be second-class citizens, often considered less valuable than a dog. I still remember the face of my grandmother when she was listening to one of my daughters talking about her options for a profession. –       I do not know if I want to be a doctor, an architect, or an art historian. –        My grannies eyes watered. You, little girl, are so lucky, you can be whatever you want. I could never become a doctor.  Fly Laura, fly, she said… Be the someone you want to be. My generation was a generation of transition. Some of us were the “rebels” breaking rules, making new ones, getting beat up for doing it. The scars on my legs are a permanent reminder of the severe physical punishments.  But today they are a sign of pride; they remind me that I made it against all odds, that I was able to grow and survive in adversity. So this history of breaking through is the origin of my passion for my work, it is what frames it, it is the “salt and pepper” in my stories. I do not work on gender issues “for a living”, to make money or as a career.  I work for gender equality because I grew up fighting for it, because it is a life commitment.  You can train people to become gender specialists, however you can never teach anyone to feel what it is to be free from...

read more