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Common Ground, Women's Access to Natural Resources and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals

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Due to traditional gender roles, many women and girls are denied access to and control over water, energy, land and biodiversity, despite their critical role in sustaining these natural resources. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can potentially address this concern. They provide an effective mechanism for simultaneously tackling multiple issues such as poverty (Goal 1), gender inequalities (Goal 3) and environmental degradation (Goal 7). This booklet highlights the linkages between goals 1, 3 and 7 and demonstrates the centrality of gender to their successful implementation. Case studies are provided on access to water (Kenya), energy (Malawi), land and food security (Tanzania and Nepal) and biodiversity (Kenya and Laos). Strategies, tools and actions are identified for holding governments accountable to adopting a gendered approach to achieving the MDGs. These include submitting country reports to a gender review process before they are finalised, compiling a list of national indicators on gender equality, and advocating more gender-responsive budget initiatives in sectors such as natural resources.