Today, preceding the official beginning of the 55th GEF council, a special session on gender was held at the traditional CSO Forum in line with GEF’s increased ambition to address gender equality. The session served as an opportunity for the GEF Council to consult with civil society organizations and women groups about concrete opportunities on how CSOs can best support gender-responsive projects and programs. The dialogue featured a discussion with civil society about challenges and good practices, as well as lessons learned and opportunities to connect global environmental impact and gender equality in projects and programs.
At the event, the GEF Small Grants Programme’s most recent publication, “Women as Environmental Stewards: The experience of the Small Grants Programme,” was launched. It demonstrates that when women are empowered and have equal opportunities to contribute to sustainable development, it leads to concrete benefits for people and planet. It contains 13 examples ranging from women’s groups engaged in sustainable oyster harvesting in the Gambia to the conservation of medicinal plants in Morocco and provides other concrete cases showing that investing in women is not only good for the environment, but also contributes to sustainable development of their communities.
The GEF’s Director of Policy, Francoises Clottes said at the launch: “This publication is very timely - just as the GEF is starting to implement its new Policy on Gender Equality. The good practices identified in this publication demonstrate ways in which efforts to advance gender equality and support women’s empowerment can contribute to GEF’s strategy moving forward. They show how investing in women and the process toward greater gender equality can achieve significant positive impacts on environmental goals and objectives.”
The publication aims to inspire further innovation from the local to the global level, support both the GEF Policy on Gender Equality and the UNDP Gender Strategy, and boost interest in additional resources for gender equality and women empowerment. It outlines key lessons learned such as a) identifying barriers to women’s participation and leadership is fundamental; b) enhancing understanding of gender mainstreaming co-benefits makes case for investment in women; and c) providing access to finance as well as supporting income-generating activities is key to successful sustainable development.
In addition, a new video “Investing in Women is Good for the Environment” was shown with examples of GEF projects, including SGP and other UNDP-supported projects that are promoting women's rights, participation and leadership in natural resource management, as well as the updated GEF Guidance on Gender publication and the new Gender e-learning course were featured at the event.