V. Conclusion

73. The present Gender Plan of Action is the first attempt to mainstream gender comprehensively throughout the organization. The Convention on Biological Diversity is at a considerable advantage in this respect, because the methodology outlined in the Plan of Action draws on recommendations resulting from other experiences in gender mainstreaming both inside and outside of the United Nations system. Thus, in implementing the Gender Plan of Action, the Convention on Biological Diversity will learn from and build on previous successes and challenges.

74. The present Gender Plan of Action recommends a number of actions be taken by the Convention on Biological Diversity in the realm of gender equality and biodiversity. There are some specific conditions that may prevent the comprehensive mainstreaming of gender equality in the Convention on Biological Diversity, and other conditions that would facilitate the success of gender mainstreaming. Both sets of conditions are outlined below to inform the implementation of the present Plan of Action.

A. Conditions that prevent gender mainstreaming 2/

75. The following conditions may obstruct efforts to mainstream gender equality in activities of the Convention on Biological Diversity:

  1. A hostile or indifferent institutional culture;

  2. “Ghettoization” of gender;

  3. A failure to highlight the construction of male as well as female gender identities, and the impact of changing gender roles and relations on men and masculinity, in any gender mainstreaming initiative;

  4. A failure to connect organisational (internal) gender mainstreaming efforts to broader political, social, economic and environmental realities;

  5. Framing of gender mainstreaming as a single and finite target, rather than a long-term undertaking, requiring extensive capacity-building and organizational change; and

  6. Unavailability of sex-disaggregated data, and inadequacies in indicators, data and analyses that would otherwise reveal the gendered dimensions of issues.

B. Conditions that facilitate successful gender mainstreaming

76. The following conditions may facilitate efforts to mainstream gender equality in activities of the Convention on Biological Diversity:

  1. An institutional culture that is open to gender perspective and willing to undertake the self assessment necessary to overcome obstacles to the mainstreaming of a gender perspective;

  2. The presence of external and internal pressures to undertake gender mainstreaming and responsiveness to those pressures;

  3. Identification of gender-mainstreaming as a cross-cutting responsibility;

  4. An understanding that gender mainstreaming is a continuous and evolving undertaking;

  5. Careful and consistent use of available sex-differentiated data, indicators and analysis and deployment of adequate resources to support their collection.

  6. Accountability (including real consequences) for failures to implement agreed gender mainstreaming policies and practices routinely; and

  7. Political commitment to the goal of securing gender equality on the part of the Executive Secretary and the leadership at the highest levels.

77. The present Plan of Action is not a static document and will continue to evolve according to changing institutional, political, and global and regional realities. It is most likely that the United Nations reform process will, once completed, require the Plan to be revisited and updated. The Plan will serve as a direct input into annual work plans developed by the various divisions and units of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and these work plans are expected to integrate elements of the Plan gradually.


2/ Adapted from Seager & Hartmann, 2005.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme