2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action

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The 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action is available in a summary version, with examples.
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COP 12 Decision XII/7. Mainstreaming gender considerations


The Conference of the Parties

  1. Recognizes the importance of gender considerations to the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets;
  2. Encourages Parties to give gender due consideration in their national biodiversity strategies and action plans and to integrate gender into the development of national indicators;
  3. Recognizes that important steps in gender monitoring, evaluation and indicators relevant to the Convention have already been taken by Parties and relevant organizations but that additional work is required, including with regard to collecting and using gender disaggregated data, and therefore, encourages Parties and relevant organizations to undertake further work in this respect;
  4. Encourages Parties to build capacity to integrate biodiversity considerations into national gender policies and action plans;
  5. Requests that the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership, together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature with respect to its work on the Environment and Gender Index, continue to consider how gender-disaggregated data can be mainstreamed into the development of indicators for the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and take the necessary steps to finalize a set of preliminary indicators identified for biodiversity and gender;
  6. Takes note of the document1on guidance on mainstreaming gender into work under the Convention, and requests the Executive Secretary to finalize and report on its implementation to the Subsidiary Body on Implementation at its first meeting;
  7. Requests the Executive Secretary, in collaboration with relevant partners, and subject to the availability of resources, to collect case studies and best practices, including those provided by Parties and by indigenous and local communities, on monitoring, evaluation and indicators on gender mainstreaming regarding biodiversity, to disseminate this information through the clearing-house mechanism and to explore ways to encourage replication of such practices. Such case studies and best practices will include information on biodiversity tailored for girls and women and models that promote the participation of girls and women in a meaningful, timely and effective manner;
  8. Also requests the Executive Secretary to provide input to the ongoing discussion on the post-2015 United Nations development agenda and the sustainable development goals on links between gender and biodiversity and to keep Parties informed in this regard;
  9. Welcomes the 2015–2020 Gender Plan of Action under the Convention on Biological Diversity, contained in the annex to this decision;
  10. Emphasizes the need to build awareness of the Gender Plan of Action and capacity for its implementation;
  11. Requests the Executive Secretary, subject to availability of resources, to support the implementation of the Gender Plan of Action, including at the national level and including for the purpose of better integrating biodiversity in national gender policies and action plans;
  12. Requests Parties to report on actions undertaken to implement the Gender Plan of Action;
  13. Invites the United Nations Environment Programme and other international organizations to provide or facilitate the provision of training on gender mainstreaming, including in the context of the UNEP Gender Plan of Action, to the staff of the Secretariat and, as appropriate, the national focal points of the Convention;
  14. Encourages the further development of synergies and a common knowledge base between the different environmental conventions in order to establish a common and comprehensive monitoring framework and indicator system for gender mainstreaming, as appropriate, and taking into account the IUCN Environment and Gender Index.

Annex

2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action under the Convention on Biological Diversity


  1. The 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action under the Convention on Biological Diversity 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 work. It also sets out actions that may be undertaken by Parties to mainstream gender in work under the Convention on Biological Diversity. It builds on the earlier Gender Plan of Action contained in UNEP/CBD/COP/9/INF/12/Rev.1, which was welcomed by the Conference of the Parties in decision IX/24.
  2. The Plan forms part of the continuing response under the Convention to the global commitments of recent decades and to the recommendations of the Parties to the Convention, 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 prerequisite for sustainable development and for the achievement of the objectives of the Convention.


    Strategic objectives
  3. This Plan pursues four strategic objectives:
    1. To mainstream a gender perspective into the implementation of the Convention and the associated work of Parties and the Secretariat;
    2. To promote gender equality in achieving the objectives of the Convention, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets;
    3. To demonstrate the benefits of gender mainstreaming in measures towards the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources; and
    4. To increase the effectiveness of the work under the Convention on Biological Diversity.


    Components of the Plan
  4. In support of these strategic objectives, this Plan presents a number of objectives and actions to address gender considerations in the areas addressed under the Convention. It comprises two parts:
    1. Proposals for actions by Parties to promote gender mainstreaming under the Convention on Biological Diversity in the context of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020; and
    2. A framework for integrating a gender perspective within the work of the Secretariat during the period 2015–2020.
  5. Substantive activities for both Parties and the Secretariat are grouped under four spheres: policy, organizational, delivery and constituency.

I. Possible actions by Parties


A. Policy sphere

  1. Proposed objective: Mainstream gender into national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

    Possible actions for Parties

    1.1. Request that gender experts review draft national biodiversity strategies and action plans in order to assess gender sensitivity and provide guidance on improvements;

    1.2. Ensure that stocktaking exercises associated with national biodiversity strategy and action plan development adequately account for the differences in uses of biodiversity between women and men;

    1.3. Ensure that women are effectively engaged as members of all stakeholder groups consulted during national biodiversity strategy and action plan development;

    1.4. Consider including gender-disaggregated data collection and/or gender-specific indicators in the development of national biodiversity targets, building on relevant work undertaken by Parties and relevant organizations on gender monitoring, evaluation and indicators, including the IUCN Environment and Gender Index;

    1.5. Consider how national gender policies can be incorporated into national biodiversity strategies and action plans and can contribute to their effective implementation;

    1.6. Identify indigenous and local communities experts on diversity and gender mainstreaming to support the integration of gender considerations into national biodiversity strategies and action plans;

    1.7. Identify the importance of traditional knowledge and customary practice held by men and women in the protection of biodiversity and make use of them in supporting implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

  2. Proposed objective: Identify potential policy obstacles to gender mainstreaming in the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

    Possible actions for Parties

    2.1. Review relevant policies to identify gender differences, including in policies related to tenure and use rights, literacy, employment, education, health, local governance and decision-making and access to financial resources, and consider steps to address these;

    2.2. Assess how biodiversity considerations, including national biodiversity strategies and action plans, can be mainstreamed into national gender policies and action plans;

    2.3. Consider how national gender policies and implementation plans relate to and can contribute to work related to biodiversity at all levels.

  3. Proposed objective: Ensure that there is political will for mainstreaming gender in the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Possible actions for Parties

    3.1. Gather and disseminate local and national case studies on the benefits of gender mainstreaming in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use;

    3.2. Draft and disseminate case studies highlighting the unique knowledge of biodiversity held by women;

    3.3. Ensure that those responsible for high-level decision-making and international negotiations under the Convention are aware of gender commitments under other national and international processes.


    B. Organizational sphere

  4. Proposed objective: Provide adequate support on gender issues to staff engaged in implementation of the Convention.

    Possible actions for Parties

    4.1. Provide training and awareness raising on the links between gender and biodiversity to interested staff, indigenous and local communities and policymakers;

    4.2. Establish a list of gender experts that staff can access to support their work, including experts from indigenous and local communities;

    4.3. Consider establishing a gender review body or agreement, including indigenous and local communities, that can provide input on the gender sensitivity of documents and plans prepared to support implementation of the Convention.

  5. Proposed objective: Make available adequate financial resources for mainstreaming gender in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

    Possible actions for Parties

    5.1. Ensure that actions for Parties in the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action are adequately funded;

    5.2. Consider adopting gender-responsive budgeting when assigning resources for implementation of the Convention and measures towards achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.


    C. Delivery sphere

  6. Proposed objective: Gain the full and effective participation of both men and women in the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

    Possible actions for Parties

    6.1. Ensure gender balance in capacity-building to enable effective participation in implementation processes and consider providing dedicated capacity-building for women’s groups, as appropriate;

    6.2. Develop and disseminate information material on the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 in languages and forms that are accessible to both men and women;

    6.3. Monitor and report on the participation of men and women in implementation processes.

  7. Proposed objective: Consider the different needs of men and women when designing and implementing specific actions in support of the implementation of the Convention and Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

    Possible actions for Parties

    7.1. Consider the different risks faced by men and women as a result of actions under the Convention on Biological Diversity;

    7.2. Ensure that the valuation of biodiversity resources includes their use by both men and women;

    7.3. Include gender-disaggregated data in reporting on the benefits from the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

    7.4. Collect case studies and best practices, including those by indigenous and local communities, on monitoring, evaluation and indicators on gender mainstreaming regarding biodiversity, for dissemination through the clearing-house mechanism, and explore ways to encourage the replication of such practices. Such case studies and best practices will include information on biodiversity tailored for girls and women and models that promote the participation of girls and women in a meaningful, timely and effective manner.


    D. Constituency sphere

  8. Proposed objective: Build partnerships; ensure consistency with relevant conventions.

    Possible actions for Parties

    8.1. Take stock of gender-related commitments at the national and international level;2

    8.2. Engage ministries responsible for gender and/or women in planning and implementation of the Convention and measures towards the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

  9. Proposed objective: Benefit from lessons learned and good practice examples from related sectors.

    Possible actions for Parties

    9.1.Identify which relevant sectors are already gathering and using gender-disaggregated data;

    9.2.Engage women’s groups already active in related sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, and forestry.

II. Framework for actions by the Secretariat


A. Policy sphere

  1. The policy sphere is concerned with building an appropriate policy framework so as to provide the mandate, political support and resources to ensure the mainstreaming of gender within the implementation of the Convention. The objectives, actions and activities foreseen for the Secretariat under this sphere are as follows.

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

  2. The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets provide the guiding framework for action and strategic direction for implementation of the Convention up to 2020. Ensuring that the links between these processes and gender are understood and elaborated will be a key prerequisite for the successful mainstreaming of gender under the Convention.
  3. Reports on progress on implementation of the programmes of work and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 should, therefore, include information and updates on progress with regard to the activities contained within the Gender Plan of Action.
  4. The Secretariat should 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

  5. It is critical to ensure that the resource mobilization strategy of the Secretariat fully takes into account the implementation of the Gender Plan of Action including through the identification of a specific budget line.
  6. Furthermore, the Secretariat should explore how funding for gender mainstreaming can contribute to implementation of the activities of the Secretariat for which voluntary contributions are required.
  7. With regard to supporting gender mainstreaming in implementation at the international, regional, national and local levels, it is critical that awareness of links between gender and biodiversity be built among donors to the Convention. It will also be important to consider and promote the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Policy on Gender Mainstreaming as well as the gender policies and safeguards of GEF agencies.
  8. Efforts should be made to identify priority areas under the Convention for investment in gender mainstreaming.

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

  9. Commitment 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.
  10. It is important that the value of gender mainstreaming be evident to all Secretariat staff members. As such, the rationale for gender mainstreaming in the Convention should be elaborated, including through the collection and dissemination of case studies and good practice examples.
  11. Efforts should be conducted to mainstream gender within the time-frame of the Gender Plan of Action (2015-2020). For this purpose, the Secretariat’s management committee should further contribute to the mainstreaming of gender within all relevant activities of the Secretariat.


    B. Organizational sphere

  12. The organizational sphere addresses gender equality in the Secretariat’s staffing, institutional capacity, staff development, accountability and related equal opportunity policies. There are five recommended areas of action for the Secretariat under this sphere.

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

  13. In order to strengthen the Secretariat’s expertise related to gender-biodiversity links, there is an ongoing need to fund a full-time gender programme officer at the Secretariat. This person will not have other responsibilities within the institution.
  14. Responsibilities of the gender programme officer will include:
    1. Liaising with the Senior Gender Advisor of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
    2. Leading a gender task force;
    3. Conducting gender analyses of work under the Convention;
    4. Guiding management and staff of the Secretariat on how to best integrate gender considerations in its work;
    5. Awareness-raising and training;
    6. Monitoring the implementation of gender mainstreaming under the Convention and supporting the Executive Secretary in the identification of suitable monitoring and reporting modalities to be integrated in the national reporting system in order to track progress against the objectives of the Convention, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets with respect to gender;
    7. Revising and supporting documents of the programmes of work, thematic areas and cross-cutting issues;
    8. Collecting and disseminating gender-biodiversity information and data;
    9. Collaborating with the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership to finalize a set of indicators on gender and biodiversity preliminarily identified by the Partnership;
    10. Guiding and supporting national focal points and stakeholders on gender-biodiversity linkages and issues;
    11. Reporting to the Executive Secretary on progress in the advancement of gender mainstreaming;
    12. Establishing alliances with other relevant organizations.
  15. A gender task force will support the work of the gender programme officer.

    2. Strengthen gender-specific capacities of all Secretariat staff

  16. The gender programme officer and gender task force will provide practical training for Secretariat staff on gender-sensitive approaches to the work of the Secretariat. Such training will be targeted to address the key work areas of the Secretariat and the programmes of work under the Convention.
  17. The gender programme officer, in collaboration with the Senior Gender Advisor of UNEP, will ensure that Secretariat staff have access to gender training and support provided by UNEP.
  18. Analysing the experiences of similar processes reveals that one of the most effective ways to develop the capacity of personnel is through a coaching system of learning by doing; such a process will result in the creation of an internal and external gender peer-review mechanism.

    3. Ensure gender equality is reflected in human resources management

  19. The Secretariat should continue to follow UNEP’s human resources policy regarding gender, and should report on compliance.

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

  20. The execution of the Gender Plan of Action, including mainstreaming gender within the Secretariat, is not the sole responsibility of the gender programme officer and gender task force. Gender mainstreaming will be a responsibility of all Secretariat staff and will require their commitment. In order to define staff roles in relation to this plan of action, the Secretariat will adapt UNEP’s manual for staff responsibilities for gender mainstreaming to provide a platform to measure responsibility and accountability regarding gender mainstreaming. Successful accountability should be accompanied by rewards and incentives.

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

  21. In relation to the development of indicators to measure the extent of gender mainstreaming within the Secretariat there are lessons that can be learned from other related agencies, including UNEP and the United Nations Development Programme. The gender task force should examine the approaches adopted by such organizations and adapt them for the Secretariat.


    C. Delivery sphere

  22. The delivery sphere deals with mainstreaming a gender perspective in the implementation of the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It also relates to the ways in which gender is addressed in the underlying theory, methodology and applied research upon which interventions are based. Four recommendations are identified below as being relevant to this sphere.

    1. Collect and disseminate information on gender and biodiversity

  23. 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 Parties and partners to support implementation of the Convention. The sources of information are widespread. Partners such as United Nations entities, other international organizations, regional networks, national sources, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can assist the process by providing information on their activities. Case studies and other information (e.g., indigenous women’s experiences) establishing the linkages between gender and biodiversity can be prepared by the Secretariat for internal and external use through the knowledge management platform of the Convention and made available through its clearing-house mechanism and other means. The website of the Convention needs to provide content on gender and biodiversity. It can provide links to other resources, events and partners working on the ground.
  24. There is an opportunity to enhance the contribution of the Secretariat to gender monitoring and evaluation including through recording the gender of meeting participants through existing meeting databases.

    2. Link gender, biodiversity and poverty eradication

  25. There is a need to develop or enhance guidelines on integrating gender equality into work under the Convention related to poverty eradication, with particular attention to the causes of inequality between women and men. These guidelines should be developed with support from external partners.
  26. The Secretariat should keep Parties informed of ongoing discussions on gender in the context of the sustainable development goals and provide input to the process for their development and eventual implementation, when relevant.

    3. Identify, develop/improve and promote implementation tools and methodologies to mainstream gender into biodiversity-related activities

  27. 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 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. These existing tools should be reviewed for any linkages to gender. Required work on gender and biodiversity can then be determined. A key action will be to develop additional tools to show Parties and others how to integrate a gender perspective into their biodiversity conservation activities.
  28. Building a clear understanding of the links between gender and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets will be important. The Secretariat, in collaboration with the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and other relevant partners should develop and disseminate outreach material on gender and each target.

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

  29. The implementation of the Convention and its Protocols is 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. As such, dissemination of the guidelines for mainstreaming gender into national biodiversity strategies and action plans, published as CBD Technical Series No. 49,3should be expanded. Furthermore, opportunities should be provided for Parties to report on their approaches, progress and obstacles encountered to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention and the Conferences of the Parties serving as the meetings of the Parties to the Convention’s Protocols.
  30. In order to promote the development of appropriate national-level indicators on gender and biodiversity within the framework of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets there is a need to closely collaborate with the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership in order to include gender in the agenda of workshops, reports and other relevant activities.


    D. Constituency sphere

  31. In order to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in the mainstreaming of gender, it is important that the Convention mobilize partners and build on existing efforts, best practices and lessons learned. Potential partners include, inter alia, United Nations agencies, academic institutions, indigenous and local communities, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and other civil society organizations.

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

  32. 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, and interagency task forces on gender.
  33. Outputs could include a database of partners, their objectives and mandates, principal activities and an evaluation of their relevance to implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
  34. 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 activities mandated by the Conference of the Parties and the meetings of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocols, and (iii) knowledge sharing.
  35. At the same time, the additional contributions of partners to the implementation of the Gender Plan of Action should be mobilized, especially with regard 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. intercultural agreements).
  36. It may also be useful to explore opportunities for the consolidation of partnerships 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.
  37. Building partnerships between relevant organizations and national focal points will also be important for the effective mainstreaming of gender considerations. As such, details on regional and national gender-related organizations should be compiled and made available as an online database within the website of the Convention. Furthermore, information on other relevant international agreements concerning gender, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), should be made available to national focal points and others, in order to support the identification of national-level synergies.

    2. Link the Gender Plan of Action under the Convention on Biodiversity with related activities under the United Nations system

  38. There are a number of existing mandates on the mainstreaming of gender issues, which should be considered. Means to accomplish this include partnerships with gender focal points in other multilateral environmental agreements and in United Nations agencies, so as to strengthen cooperation and support the work of the gender programme officer under the Convention.
  39. The effectiveness of gender mainstreaming in work under the Convention could benefit from experiences, best practices, and lessons learned garnered through linking with ongoing gender mainstreaming efforts.
  40. Further benefits will be achieved by connecting with interagency task forces on gender and by including gender in the agendas of the Joint Liaison Group of the Rio conventions and the Liaison Group of Biodiversity-related Conventions.

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

  41. In order to increase the understanding of biodiversity issues among gender-related and women’s organizations, it is necessary to implement an awareness-raising campaign. This could be done, for example, through the Global Initiative on Communication, Education and Public Awareness. This would allow participating organizations to identify opportunities for their full participation in the processes and implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  42. Additional material to raise awareness of biodiversity issues among gender-related and women’s organizations 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.
  43. To enhance dissemination to relevant organizations, it would be useful to identify regional or national organizations that could 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 processes and decision-making under the Convention

  44. 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.
  45. 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 analyse and plan for capacity-building needs of these groups.
  46. Based on these needs, preparatory meetings and training for women, particularly indigenous women leaders, should be supported prior to each meeting of the 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-related organizations, including through the establishment of a pool of experts/facilitators to support capacity-building.


1Updated from document UNEP/CBD/WGRI/5/INF/17/Add.1.

2For example, at the international level, building on the legal framework in relation to gender and biodiversity presented in UNEP/CBD/COP/9/INF/12/Rev.1, annex II.

3CBD Technical Series No. 49: Guidelines for Mainstreaming Gender into National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, http://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-49-en.pdf.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme