New Delhi, India – “How can a country and its economy progress when close to half of it work-force is constantly pulled down? This is the fundamental issue of development”, said Mr. Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD, Executive Secretary, at the opening of the Gender Caucus, which took place on the sidelines of the ongoing 14th session of the Conference of Parties (COP14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Greater Noida Area of New Delhi, India.
The UNCCD secretariat inaugurated its first Gender Caucus, by stressing the urgency of mainstreaming gender in addressing desertification.
« In most parts of the world, women do not have land rights. Without owning land, they have no access to finance and are thus left behind, » said Mr Thiaw.
The first Gender Action Plan was adopted in September 2017, at the COP13 in China, to accompany implementation of the UNCCD 2018- 2030 Strategic Framework.
Today, 113 of the 169 countries affected by land degradation and/or drought have joined the movement to restore degrading land. They include the world’s poorest countries, where a substantial percentage of the extremely land-dependent poor are women.
The Convention recognizes the importance of women in the implementation of the Convention, and identifies critical areas for their engagement:
- Awareness-raising, and participation in the design and implementation of programmes
- Decision-making processes that men and women adopt at the local level in the governance of development, implementation and review of regional and national action programmes (RAPs and NAPs)
- Capacity-building, education and public awareness, particularly at local level through the support of local organizations.
“It might sound easy to talk about gender mainstreaming but the process of implementation is highly complex. However, it is a work in progress,” added Mr Thiaw.