Biodiversity Policy, Planning & Programming

Integrating Gender Equality into Biodiversity Policy, Planning & Programming

For many women and men, boys and girls, biodiversity is the foundation of their livelihoods, their cultural beliefs and even their basic survival. In addition to the obvious ecological services that biodiversity provides, collection and use of natural resources is of critical importance. Women around the world predominate as wild plant gatherers, guardians of biodiversity, plant domesticators, herbalists and seed custodians. Often however, the indivisible link between women and biodiversity goes ignored or undervalued.

Convention on Biological Diversity

Recognizing women’s roles as primary land and resource managers is central to the success of biodiversity policies, and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has a relatively long and substantial history of recognizing the links between advancing gender equality and effectively meeting the Convention’s goals.

Notably, the CBD became the first multilateral environmental agreement to have a Gender Plan of Action, which was adopted by Parties in 2008 and laid out actions to support the promotion of gender equality in measures to implement the Convention. The four objectives of the Gender Plan of Action are:

  • 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 CBD 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 CBD.

In 2014, the CBD COP 12 adopted the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action, reaffirming its objectives and updating to align with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action is a significant decision and mandate for Parties on the integration of gender considerations and identifies possible actions for Parties, as well as a strengthened framework of actions for the Secretariat, to mainstream gender across policy, organizational, delivery and constituency spheres.