III. Gender Plan of Action

26. The present Gender Plan of Action defines the role that the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity will play in stimulating and facilitating efforts, both in-house and with partners and parties at the national, regional and global levels, to overcome constraints and take advantage of opportunities to promote gender equality within its biodiversity work.

27. The Plan forms part of the continuing response of the Convention on Biological Diversity to the global commitments of recent decades and the recommendations of the Parties of the Convention and international , in compliance with major mandates within the United Nations system. It is also a reflection of the increasing awareness that gender equality is an important prerequisites for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

28. It is expected that under the process of harmonization of the Rio Conventions, the CBD Gender Plan of Action will inspire similar processes in the other Conventions.

29. This Plan pursues four strategic objectives:

  • To mainstream a gender perspective into the implementation of the Convention and the associated work of the Secretariat;
  • To promote gender equality in achieving the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the 2010 Biodiversity Target;
  • To demonstrate the benefits of gender mainstreaming in biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and benefit sharing from the use of genetic resources; and
  • To increase the effectiveness of the work of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

30. The Plan outlines a framework for integrating a gender perspective within all Secretariat divisions and units during the period 2008–2012. It establishes strategies with reachable targets and proposes instruments to address gender concerns in the areas of the Convention on Biological Diversity. CBD Secretariat’s substantive activities under the present Plan of Action are concentrated in four spheres: policy, organizational, delivery and constituency.

A. Policy sphere

31. The Plan outlines a framework for integrating a gender perspective within all Secretariat divisions and units during the period 2008–2012. It establishes strategies with reachable targets and proposes instruments to address gender concerns in the areas of the Convention on Biological Diversity. CBD Secretariat’s substantive activities under the present Plan of Action are concentrated in four spheres: policy, organizational, delivery and constituency.

1. Make gender and biodiversity a strategic priority of the Convention

32. The effective mainstreaming of gender within the Convention will require its integration within the Strategic Plans of the Convention and the Protocol such that gender mainstreaming will be fully considered at all levels and stages of planning and implementation.

33. Reports on progress on the Strategic Plans should, therefore, include information and updates on the activities contained within the Gender Plan of Action. Likewise, when the Strategic Plans are revised, the gender perspective must be fully incorporated.

34. The Secretariat should, additionally, provide updates to Parties and partners on progress towards achieving gender equality including, when possible, through the annual audit of the Secretariat.

2. Secure ongoing commitments from funders to support gender and biodiversity

35. It is critical to ensure that the resource mobilization strategy of the Secretariat fully takes into account the implementation of the CBD Gender Plan of Action including through the identification of a specific budget line.

36. In collaboration with the resource mobilization task force, the gender focal point should further develop a project proposal and target donor Governments to encourage funding of the CBD Gender Plan of Action.

37. Furthermore, the resource mobilization task force should explore how funding for gender mainstreaming can contribute to implementation of the activities of the Secretariat for which voluntary contributions are required.

38. With regard to supporting gender mainstreaming in implementation at the international, regional, national and local level, it is critical that awareness of gender and biodiversity links is built among donors to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It will also be important to harmonize gender planning with the GEF Secretariat and the GEF Agencies through the provision of COP guidance to the GEF.

3. Secure high-level commitment for gender and biodiversity within the Secretariat

39. High-level commitments and prioritization by senior management within the Secretariat is essential for the success of the Gender Plan of Action. It is important therefore to present gender biodiversity issues to senior management to build awareness and secure their support for mainstreaming.

40. Efforts should be conducted to mainstream gender within the four-year rolling work plan of the Secretariat. For this purpose, the management committee should further contribute to the mainstreaming of gender within all relevant activities of the Secretariat by providing strategic direction on the implementation of the work plan.

B. Organizational sphere

41. The organizational sphere addresses gender equality in staffing of the Convention on Biological Diversity, institutional capacity, staff development, accountability and related equal opportunity policies. There are five recommended actions under this sphere.

1. Establish a body within the SCBD to support gender mainstreaming

42. In order to strengthen CBD’s gender-biodiversity expertise, there is an urgent need to appoint a full-time gender focal point (GFP) at the programme officer level. The GFP will have substantial background in both gender and biodiversity. This person will not have other responsibilities within the institution. Resources must be assigned for the establishment and operation of this position.

Responsibilities of the GFP will include:

  • Liaising with UNEP Sr. Gender Adviser
  • Leading gender task force (GTF)
  • Conducting gender analysis of CBD’s work
  • Guiding management and staff on how to best integrate gender in its work
  • Awareness-raising and training
  • Monitoring the implementation of gender mainstreaming within the CBD
  • Revising and supporting documents of the programmes of work, thematic areas and cross-cutting issues
  • Collecting and disseminating gender-biodiversity information and data
  • Guiding and supporting NFPs and other CBD stakeholders on gender-biodiversity
  • Reporting to the Executive Secretary on progress in the advancement of gender mainstreaming
  • Establishing alliances with structures addressing gender both within the One UN Pilot Programme

The gender task force (GTF) will support the work of the GFP.

2. Strengthen gender-specific capacities of all Secretariat staff

43. Aside from implementing the UNEP gender training plan, the GFP will, in collaboration with the GTF, assess existing gender training materials of United Nations sister organizations (e.g. UNDP’s Gender Journey and manual). Gender workshops and trainings cannot be stigmatized as specialized courses reserved for “gender specialists” or for women alone. The Secretariat will increase staff understanding of gender mainstreaming and its implications for their work. Targeted training must be conducted – for example on gender and forests – as well as general. The impact of these trainings on the work of staff will regularly be monitored.

44. Through analysing the experience of similar processes it has been emerged that one of the most effective ways to develop the capacity of the personnel is through a coaching system of learning by doing, this process will result in the creation of an internal and external gender peer review mechanism.

3. Ensure gender equality is reflected in human resource management

45. Human resources should follow UNEP’s HR policy regarding gender, as this is in compliance with the requirements of the United Nations in relation to equal opportunities for all staff. The GFP will ensure that SCBD HR is informed of UNEP’s gender policy.

4. Increase awareness of responsibility of all staff for gender mainstreaming

46. The execution of this plan of action, as well as mainstreaming gender with divisions and units of the Convention on Biological Diversity, is not the sole responsibility of the GFP and GTF. This commitment to mainstream gender within the processes of the Convention on Biological Diversity will be reflected in the SCBD strategic plan. Gender mainstreaming will be the responsibility of everyone within Convention on Biological Diversity and will require commitment from all staff. In order to define staff roles in relation to this plan of action, the Convention on Biological Diversity will adapt UNEP’s manual for staff responsibilities for gender mainstreaming in close cooperation with the relevant divisions and units. This will provide a platform to measure responsibility and accountability of gender mainstreaming. Successful accountability should be accompanied by rewards and incentives.

5. Develop indicators to measure the extent of gender mainstreaming within the Secretariat

47. In relation to the development indicators to measure the extent of gender mainstreaming within the Secretariat there will be a need to hold a workshop with the GTF and partner gender specialists to develop indicators to complement the CBD Gender Plan of Action. The performance of senior managers will include progress towards the relevant indicators when assessing the performance of senior managers.

C. Delivery sphere

48. The delivery sphere deals with mainstreaming a gender perspective in the formulation and implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is also concerned with the ways in which gender is addressed in the underlying theory, methodology and applied research upon which interventions are based. Four recommendations emerged as relevant to this sphere.

1. Collect and disseminate gender-biodiversity related information

49. The conceptual and practical bases for enriching biodiversity conservation efforts with a gender related perspective will require knowing who is doing what at all levels including in the field and making the latest information available. The Secretariat is well positioned to collect and disseminate information on gender and biodiversity with a view to establishing a knowledge base to inform action by the Conference of the Parties, individual Contracting Parties and partners to support implementation of the Convention. The sources of information are widespread. Partners such as United Nations sister organizations, international organizations, regional networks and national level NGOs can assist the process by providing information on their activities. Case studies and other information (e.g. indigenous women experiences) establishing the linkages between gender and biodiversity conservation can be prepared by the Secretariat for internal and external use through the Knowledge Management Platform of the Convention on Biological Diversity and made available through, for example, the CBD Clearing House Mechanism. The website of the Convention on Biological Diversity needs to be expanded to include content on gender and biodiversity. It can provide links to other resources, events and partners working on the ground.

2. Link gender, biodiversity and poverty eradication

50. Within the Convention on Biological Diversity, there is a need to develop or enhance guidelines on integrating gender equality into poverty eradication with particular attention to the root causes of inequality between women and men. This guideline should be developed with support from external partners.

51. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the ecosystem approach provide the conceptual basis to link biodiversity conservation to the Millennium Development Goals because of the centrality of ecosystem goods and services to human well-being and the increasing evidence that gender sensitive approaches can make significant contributions to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. As these linkages are not necessarily apparent to the wide variety of actors working on biodiversity conservation at international, regional and national levels, overcoming conceptual barriers and reinforcing linkages between gender, biodiversity and poverty eradication will be critically important. Pilot CBD level project work on gender and biodiversity needs to be linked to the implementation at country level of the One United Nations approach.

3. Identify, develop/improve and promote gender-biodiversity implementation tools and methodologies

52. Moving from concepts and policy to action in the enhanced implementation phase of the Convention will require implementation tools to mainstream gender into biodiversity-related activities. The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has already developed and adopted a number of work programmes, principles and guidelines to guide the work of Parties and others as they organize their approaches to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. A threshold activity is to review these existing tools for any linkages to gender. From these entry points required work on gender and biodiversity can be determined. A key consideration will be to develop additional tools to show Parties and others “how-to” integrate a gender perspective into their biodiversity conservation activities.

4. Establish the basis for Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to integrate a gender perspective into the national biodiversity planning processes

53. The implementation of both the Convention and the Protocol are primarily actuated at the country-level through national biodiversity planning processes and the development and implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and National Biosafety Frameworks. While national biodiversity planning processes provide a logical and readily available entry point for mainstreaming gender considerations, the usefulness of linking gender to biodiversity conservation may not be readily apparent to National CBD and Biosafety Focal Points. Therefore a key consideration will be to support awareness-raising amongst Focal Points, including assisting them to learn about and draw from national level processes – including stakeholders that are already active on gender and gender-environment issues. Progress to integrate gender considerations into national level biodiversity activities should be measured in an outcome oriented way with indicators. Opportunities should be provided for Parties to report on their approaches, progress and obstacles encountered to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties (COP MOP) to the Protocol.

54. In order to promote the development of appropriate national level indicators on gender-biodiversity within the framework of the 2010 biodiversity target there is a need to closely collaborate with the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership.

D. Constituency sphere

55. In order to enhance effectiveness and efficiency towards the mainstreaming of gender issues, it is important that the Convention on Biological Diversity mobilizes partners and builds on existing efforts, best practices and lessons learned. Potential partners include inter alia, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, intergovernmental organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities, United Nations agencies, and civil society.

1. Build partnerships and establish networks to promote the mainstreaming of gender within the Convention on Biological Diversity

56. As a first step, a stocktaking and review of relevant partners should be carried out so as to identify opportunities for collaboration and to avoid overlap. This identification can be carried out in collaboration with known partners including inter alia, UNEP, the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network, the Interagency Task Force on Gender, etc.

57. Outputs could include a database of partners, their objectives and mandates, principle activities and an evaluation of their relevance to the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

58. Based on the review of partners, the Secretariat should seek to support such efforts through, for example, (i) the provision of technical advice and scientific information, (ii) support for resource mobilization for the implementation of COP- and COP-MOP-mandated activities, and (iii) knowledge sharing.

59. At the same time, the potential contributions of partners to the implementation of the Gender Plan of Action should be mobilized especially with regards to how their activities, tools, methodologies, etc. are relevant to the implementation of the Plan. In mobilizing these contributions it is important to define roles, responsibilities, timelines and conditions for collaboration through joint activities. Partnership agreements should take full account of cultural considerations (e.g. inter-cultural agreements).

60. In relation to partnership agreements between the Secretariat and other partners, there is a need to gender proof existing and new agreements before they are revised or signed.

61. It may also be useful to explore opportunities for the consolidation of partners at the regional and/or thematic levels in order to enhance information sharing and strengthen the capacities of relevant organizations. This could include facilitating the exchange of information through, for example, information technology and communication tools.

62. Building partnerships between relevant organizations and national focal points will also be important for the effective mainstreaming of gender. As such, details on regional and national gender organizations should be compiled and made available as an online database within the CBD website. This could be a first step in bringing together national focal points and potential partners, e.g. through regional workshops, CEPA activities, side events, etc. to identify how gender can be mainstreamed into the implementation of the Convention.

2. Link the CBD Gender Plan of Action with the UN System’s activities

63. There are a number of existing mandates on the mainstreaming of gender issues, which should be considered by the Convention on Biological Diversity to ensure consistency. Means to accomplish this include partnerships with gender focal points firstly in MEA’s but also in other United Nations agencies, so as to strengthen cooperation and support the gender focal point under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

64. The effectiveness of gender mainstreaming in the Convention on Biological Diversity could benefit from experiences. Best practices, and lessons learned can be garnered through linking ongoing gender mainstreaming efforts through the One United Nations process.

65. Further benefits will be achieved by connecting with the Interagency Task Force on Gender and by including gender in the agenda of the Joint Liaison Group and Biodiversity Liaison Group.

3. Build awareness of biodiversity issues among gender and women’s organizations

66. In order to increase the understanding of biodiversity issues among women and gender organizations, it is necessary to implement an awareness-raising campaign - this for example could be done through the CEPA Global Initiative. This will allow participating organizations to identify opportunities for their full participation in the processes and implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

67. As such, the Secretariat should ensure, to the extent possible, that outreach material and technical publications are translated into the six United Nations languages and encourage the translation of such material into local and indigenous languages.

68. Additional material should also be developed including material on (i) the relevance of biodiversity to livelihoods, culture, traditional knowledge, health and food security, (ii) the link between biodiversity and the provision of basic human rights, such as access to water, and (iii) training modules on the relevance of biodiversity to the consideration of gender issues.

69. To enhance dissemination to relevant organizations it would be useful to identify regional or national organizations, who can act as the repository for relevant material and include such organizations on the mailing list.

4. Build capacity of women, particularly indigenous women, to participate in CBD processes and decision-making

70. Convention processes will benefit from building women’s capacity, and ensuring the equitable involvement of women, particularly indigenous women at all levels of decision making relevant to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

71. To facilitate such capacity building and equitable involvement in decision making processes, a needs assessment in collaboration with gender experts and women, particularly indigenous women should be conducted to analyze and plan for capacity building needs of these groups.

72. Based on these needs, preparatory meetings and trainings for women, particularly indigenous women leaders, should be supported prior to each Conference of the Parties. Support should also be enhanced for capacity building on biodiversity and gender implemented by indigenous women’s alliances and other relevant gender organizations including through the establishment of a pool of experts/facilitators to support capacity building.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme