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IUCN Congress: Lead On Gender Equality!

The 2016 IUCN International World Conservation Congress kicked off a few days ago here in Honolulu, Hawaii. The conference theme is ‘Planet at the Crossroads’, and a series of journeys, from ‘Business’ to ‘Biosecurity’ have been highlighted as key issue areas to frame dialogues and conversations during the Congress.

 
As an estimated 8,000 advocates, scientists and conservationists convene to advance the protection of our world’s natural resources, we also see that people and cultures are inextricably linked to these efforts, as stewards of their lands.
Our planet is at a crossroads, and people are also at a crossroads. We must be willing to take urgent and bold action to challenge unsustainable systems in our societies, and recognize how power and privilege underpin environmental degradation and resource extraction.
People are really at the heart, or should be at the heart, of our sharing and learning here at the IUCN Congress. And further, an understanding that people’s interactions with nature, in communities and households, is very much framed by intersections such as race, class, culture and, in particular, gender.

Why Gender & Conservation?
Gender is a social construct. While not immutable nor universal, gender shapes expectations, attributes, roles, capacities and rights of women and men around the world- and in turn, experiences and interactions with the natural environment. Women, compared to men, often have limited access to resources, more restricted rights, limited mobility, and a muted voice in shaping decisions and influencing policy. At the same time, gender roles generally ascribed to women such as informal, reproductive work often relate to caregiving for households and communities, caretaking of seeds and soils, maintaining traditional agricultural knowledge, and responsibility for natural resource management such as firewood and water, and thus these roles create opportunity for engagement as women bring diverse and critical solutions to conservation.
IUCN as a Gender Champion
As one of the leading environmental organizations in the world, IUCN has been at the forefront of recognizing women’s rights and gender equality as a critical element of conservation and sustainable development. Since its founding in 1948, over 40 Congress resolutions have recognized women’s role in resource management and at least 16 have emphasized the need for gender analysis and planning in conservation work.
Following a resolution in 1996 to develop a gender policy, the approved policy was passed in 1998 and included the creation of a Global Senior Gender Adviser Office (GGO), which almost 20 years later, now includes a global staff of over 15 people, conducting technical work with IUCN members around the world. This work has included support to mainstreaming gender into international environmental policy frameworks, and support to members at national level, creating action plans on gender in climate change and biodiversity planning. In addition to the Global Gender Office, IUCN has also established regional Gender Focal Points to monitor implementation of the IUCN Gender Policy at all levels.

 SOURCE:HUFFINGTON  POST

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