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IUCN launches toolkit to boost gender integration in coastal resource management

Update: March, 12/2019 - 16:03
Women harvest oysters in the northern coastal province of Nam Định. — Photo courtesy of Xuân Thủy National Park
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in collaboration with its environmental protection partners has launched a Gender Analysis Toolkit (GAT) to improve gender integration and mainstreaming in coastal resource management programmes in South and Southeast Asia.

The toolkit initiated by the IUCN through its Mangroves for the Future (MFF) programme, in collaboration with the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), aims to help coastal and fisheries management practitioners, such as programme officers and technical advisors from development and environmental agencies, develop baseline knowledge around gender dimensions related to coastal and natural resources use, livelihood development and ecosystem management.

This knowledge could help identify gender gaps and advance gender-integrated and gender responsive planning for improved resilience of coastal ecosystems and the communities that depend on them, said a report from the IUCN.

The toolkit also provided direction around key instruments, and concepts and themes for qualitative gender analysis in coastal ecosystem-dependent communities, the organisation said.

The toolkit is an iterative development process meant to be revisited and revised to reflect new circumstances and emergent learning at different stages, and from sites where the analysis is conducted.

“As gender norms, roles and dynamics are not static and do not exist in discrete terms, the tools we use should be able to capture and reflect social changes as they happen,” said Maeve Nightingale, Senior Programme Officer, Coastal and Marine Programme, IUCN Asia.

The GAT is one of the main outputs of a MFF-SEAFDEC-SEI regional gender study, funded by the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA).

The study explored gender patterns in coastal and marine resources management, with the aim of improving overall understanding about the state of women and men in environmental decision-making. The study also identified the main challenges preventing equitable opportunities for men and women in the coastal fisheries and coastal resource management sectors.

In her statement for International Women’s Day (March 8), IUCN Director General Inger Andersen said: “At IUCN, we insist that women represent 3.5 billion solutions to our most pressing global challenges. Data tells us that women matter – and gender equality matters – when it comes to conserving and protecting our environment.

For instance, studies of the forestry and fisheries sectors demonstrate that the empowerment of women in local resource decision-making can lead to better governance and conservation.”
The study, along with a resulting synthesis report contributes to strengthening the collective understanding and commitment towards achieving gender equality as a core part of coastal and marine resource management and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 5 and SDG 14.

The GAT was tested and improved throughout the study.

“Sustainable development in South and Southeast Asia cannot be achieved without the talent, knowledge and experience of half the population caring for marine and coastal resources at all levels of decision-making: at regional, national and community scales. However, biases and social-gender norms have constrained humanity from being more inclusive,” said Bernadette P. Resurrección, Head of the Gender Team, SEI Asia. 

IUCN is a membership union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It harnesses the experience, resources and reach of its more than 1,300 member organisations and the input of more than 13,000 experts.

IUCN is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.

MFF is a partnership-based regional initiative which promotes investment in coastal ecosystem conservation for sustainable development. MFF focuses on the role that healthy, well-managed coastal ecosystems play in building the resilience of ecosystem-dependent coastal communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Việt Nam.

SEI is an international non-profit research and policy organisation that tackles environment and development challenges.

The SEAFDEC is an autonomous intergovernmental body established in 1967. Its mission is “To promote and facilitate concerted actions among the member countries to ensure the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in Southeast Asia.”  — VNS

Women at work in a coastal area in Nam Định Province. The gender analysis toolkit launched by the IUCN has explored gender patterns in coastal and marine resources management, with the aim of improving overall understanding about the state of women and men in environmental decision-making. — Photo courtesy of Xuân Thủy National Park

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