Introduction and background.
“Gender” refers to the roles, expectations, opportunities and social relations that exist between men and women within any given society. In a diverse country such as Tanzania, with widespread geographical social, ethnic and religious backgrounds, gender relations vary significantly across the country and from region to region. “Gender equality” refers to the availability of equal rights and opportunities for women and men, boys and girls within a society.
Although gender equality remains high on international and national agendas within environment, development and climate change sectors, its implementation on the ground remains limited – as a result of entrenched social values, lack of capacity within implementing organisations, low levels of political will and low levels of awareness and education among women and girls in affected areas.
Within the context of international negotiations on REDD+, gender remains a relatively minor aspect of the agreements concluded to date. This tendency is replicated in many national level REDD+ strategies and action plans, which often pay little attention to the different roles played by men and women in forest management and how gender relations impact their ability to access and benefit from sustainable forest management. A recent evaluation of Tanzanian REDD+ projects found relatively low consideration of gender aspects beyond encouraging and monitoring (by counting) the participation of women in project-supported activities at output rather than outcome level. This narrow interpretation of gender misses all considerations of empowerment and fails to challenge existing gender inequalities within the local society.
Key policy messages.
• With its high technical demands on forestry, land-use and measurements, reporting and verification, gender remains low on the list of priorities in REDD+ programming and women are benefiting less rather than more from REDD+.
• The low inclusion of gender across projects and government interventions is due to a range of reasons such as cultural and social values, heavy concentration of men at all levels in project implementation, low capacity and entrenched interests.
• Greater attention to REDD+ at policy level, institutional as well as project level, will reap important dividends, both in achieving greater levels of effectiveness but also in terms of ensuring women, as well as men are empowered to reach their own development goals.
Tanzanian REDD+ Pilot Projects: Policy Brief 7.