Annex II. Legal Framework in Relation to Gender and Biodiversity

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)


Main inputs Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity is the international framework for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of its benefits.
Specific text Preamble, paragraph 13 “Recognizing also the vital role that women play in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and affirming the need for the full participation of women at all levels of policy-making and implementation for biological diversity conservation…”

COPs
Decision V/16: Article 8(j) and related provisions:

“Recognizing the vital role that women play in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and emphasizing that greater attention should be given to strengthening this role and the participation of women of indigenous and local communities in the programme of work”.

Programme of work Implementation 8(j) CBD General Principles:
“Full and effective participation of women of indigenous and local communities in all activities of the programme of work”.
Task 4 (e):
“Promote culturally appropriate and gender specific ways in which to document and preserve women's knowledge of biological diversity”.

WGR-2
The report of the second meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on the Review of Implementation on the Convention “Recalling the guidance provided by the Conference of the Parties concerning national biodiversity strategies and action plans, annexed to this recommendation, and taking note of the lessons learned from the in-depth review, urges Parties in developing, implementing and revising their national and, where appropriate, regional, biodiversity strategies and action plans, and equivalent instruments, in implementing the three objectives of the Convention, to (d) promote the mainstreaming of gender considerations.

Agenda 21


Main inputs Agenda 21, which establishes a blueprint for sustainable development, was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

It includes a complete chapter on gender related issues, which calls upon governments to make necessary constitutional, legal, administrative, cultural, social, and economic changes in order to eliminate all obstacles to women’s full involvement in sustainable development and in public life.
Specific text Agenda 21 recognizes the importance of the knowledge and traditional practices of women, and underscores the contribution women have made to biodiversity conservation (section 24.2 (c)). Agenda 21 calls for the adoption of measures to translate its objectives into clear strategies (section 24 (f)).

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action


Main inputs Two documents emanated from the IV World Conference on Women: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. These documents establish a strategy and responsibilities for State Parties. The Platform for Action warns that: “the human rights of women, as defined by international human rights instruments, will only be dead words unless they are fully recognized, protected, applied, and effectively enforced, at national legal and practical levels…” (Paragraph 218).

Strategic Objective K of the Beijing Platform for Action commits to securing the active involvement of women in environmental decision-making; integrating gender concerns and perspectives in policies and programmes for sustainable development; and strengthening or establishing mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to assess the impact of development and environmental policies on women.
Specific text Strategic objective K.1.

Involve women actively in environmental decision-making at all levels.

Point 253.Calls upon Governments, at all levels, including municipal authorities, as appropriate to take actions to be:

c) Encourage, subject to national legislation and consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the effective protection and use of the knowledge, innovations and practices of women of indigenous and local communities, including practices relating to traditional medicines, biodiversity and indigenous technologies, and endeavor to ensure that these are respected, maintained, promoted and preserved in an ecologically sustainable manner, and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge; in addition, safeguard the existing intellectual property rights of these women as protected under national and international law; work actively, where necessary, to find additional ways and means for the effective protection and use of such knowledge, innovations and practices, subject to national legislation and consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity and relevant international law, and encourage fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovation and practices;

Strategic objective K.2.

Integrate gender concerns and perspectives in policies and programmes for sustainable development.

Strategic objective K.3.

Strengthen or establish mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to assess the impact of development and environmental policies on women.

Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)


Main inputs The principal instrument for the protection of women’s rights is the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) adopted in 1979 by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN). 3/
Specific text CEDAW defines discrimination against women as: “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field” (Article 1).

In a provision of much relevance to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention obliges States Parties to take “all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in rural areas in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, that they participate in and benefit from rural development” and, “participate in the elaboration and implementation of development planning at all levels”, and “in all community activities”(Article 14.2).

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Main inputs On the 13th of September 2007, after more than 20 years of negotiation the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DECRIPS) was finally adopted.
Specific text DECRIPS specifically prohibits discrimination against women (Article 22.2), providing that all the rights and freedoms recognized in the declaration be guaranteed equally to male and female indigenous people (Article 44). This sets a standard, which should inform the implementation of the Declaration.

WSSD Plan of Implementation


Main inputs The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) Plan of Implementation 2002, adopted in Johannesburg, promotes women’s equal access to and full participation in decision-making at all levels, on the basis of equality with men. It calls for mainstreaming gender perspectives in all policies and strategies, the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and the improvement of the status, health and economic welfare of women and girls through full and equal access to economic opportunities, land, credit, education and health-care services.

Millennium Development Goals


Main inputs At the 8th plenary session of the UN General Assembly in September 2000, countries adopted the Millennium Declaration, committing themselves to respect the equal rights of all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. The UN also adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are referred as a blueprint for the realisation of the Millennium Declaration.
Specific text The Declaration identifies certain fundamental values to be essential to international relations in the twenty-first century. To secure their realisation signatories commit to:

  • Assure equal rights and opportunities for women and men (Article 6).
  • Promote equality between sexes and the empowerment of women as effective means to combat poverty, hunger and diseases, and promote a truly sustainable development.
  • Ensure that all may take advantage of the benefits of new technologies, particularly information and communication technologies, and
  • Secure the full implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Leipzig Declaration and the Global Action Plan for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Genetic Resources


Main inputs Draws the international community’s attention to the role women have played in the conservation and development of genetic resources. They express as a desirable objective, the equitable distribution of the benefits derived from the use of traditional knowledge, taking into account the contributions made by women, especially rural women.
Specific text The declaration points out the imbalance between women’s responsibilities for conserving nature, the disadvantages faced, and their under-representation in decision-making venues (Articles 248, 249 and 250).

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 2005/31


Main inputs In 2005, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a resolution with a view to ensuring the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in all the policies and programs of the United Nations system.
Specific text The ECOSOC resolution calls upon “all entities of the United Nations system, including United Nations agencies, funds and programs, to intensify efforts to address the challenges involving the integration of gender perspectives into policies and programs, including:

  • Developing action plans with clear guidelines on the practical implementation of gender mainstreaming;
  • Fully incorporating a gender perspective into programme budgets;
  • Ensuring continuous awareness raising and training on gender issues for all staff;
  • Requiring gender analysis for both policy formulation and programmatic work;
  • Ensuring commitment by senior management to gender mainstreaming;
  • Strengthening accountability systems for gender mainstreaming;
  • Incorporating a gender perspective into operational mechanisms, such as those relating to the implementation of Millennium Development Goals;
  • Continuing to support governments and to work with civil society in their efforts to implement the Beijing Platform for Action;
  • Development and institutionalization of monitoring and evaluation tools and gender impact analysis methodologies, promoting the collection, compilation and analysis of sex-disaggregated data;
  • Promoting mainstreaming of gender perspectives into key macroeconomic and social development policies and national development programmes.”




3/ As of April 2007 CEDAW had been ratified by 185 countries, http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/cedaw.htm

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme