Gender Equality Challenges to the Redd+ Initiative in Nepal (2014)

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Despite widespread gender issues in natural resource management and rural livelihoods strategies, there has been little study of how new development strategies, such as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), consider gender issues. Gender consideration in REDD+ is especially important in mountainous countries like Nepal, where the majority of the rural population, especially women and socioeconomically disadvantaged households, depend on forests for many of their subsistence needs. Any changes in forest access or use rights or rules as a result of REDD+ would impact marginalized people whose inclusion, voice, and access to and control over forest resources are influenced by deeply gendered power relations and socio-institutional practices in Nepali society. This article analyzes ways the REDD+ initiatives in Nepal have considered gender issues identified in earlier studies. The main finding is that the REDD+ policy process is inadequate to account for underlying power dynamics, and thus is unable to achieve equity goals. In the absence of accounting for power, the consideration of gender issues in forest management by explicit inclusion of women in the payment criteria and policy discussions within REDD+ programs, including the REDD+ payment pilot project, is insufficient to redress gender imbalances. Forest actors such as the government and other project implementers—including community institutions—lack strategies and responsibilities for applying REDD+ initiatives that are gender equitable and ensure REDD+ benefits and decision-making opportunities for women and other marginalized people. To tap the potential of REDD+ to contribute to both climate change mitigation and mountain development, efforts are needed to make REDD+ national strategy- and policy-making gender sensitive. The critical areas to be addressed in Nepal include framing the REDD+ strategy within the forest ministry's Gender and Social Inclusion Strategy 2008, and then by judicious implementation ensuring access of poor and disadvantaged women and men to forest resources, carbon funds, and decision-making roles in order to undermine entrenched unequal relations.
Year: 2014
Language: English
In: Mountain Research and Development, 34 : 197-207 p.

Note: Open access


 Record created 2015-01-29, last modified 2015-01-29