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Gender in Forestry and REDD+ in Indonesia

Submitted by Julia Barrott 14th March 2016 18:13
Photo: A woman in Jambi, Sumatra, showing a man how she prepares forest fibers for weaving. Carol Colfer/CIFOR

Photo: A woman in Jambi, Sumatra, showing a man how she prepares forest fibers for weaving. Photo credit: Carol Colfer/CIFOR

Introduction

Indonesia is one of several countries in the world leading the way in the design and implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). It is currently in the second phase of implementing policy reforms and REDD+ pilots and transitioning towards the third phase of performance-based payments. During the third phase, REDD+ policies and activities will be fully implemented, carbon stocks will be measured and verified and payments will be distributed based on performance at different levels.

REDD+ implementation is closely observed by multiple stakeholders; and guidelines for REDD+ safeguards are now available. Yet there continues to be a growing concern globally that if REDD+ is not implemented in a socially sensitive manner, it may risk reinforcing the societal and institutional structures that are already marginalizing women. Indonesia, like many other countries, is prone to these gendered risks given the historically entrenched male-dominated nature of the forestry sector coupled with growing commercial pressures on forest land, embedded social and cultural norms and religious interpretations that may exacerbate gender inequalities in rural communities. The growing calls for “mainstreaming gender in REDD+” in Indonesia are for activities to “do no harm” to women, and to benefit both women and men in an equitable manner.

This fact sheet*, prepared jointly by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, provides considerations for mainstreaming gender concerns into REDD+ and the forestry sector in Indonesia.

*download available via the link provided under Further Resources.  

In addition to the challenges and recommendations detailed below, the full fact sheet describes the current status of gender mainstreaming in Indonesia, and outlines eight key reasons on why gender matters and how this can be relevant for the Indonesian context.

Challenges

The overall progress of integrating gender perspectives and awareness into some forest policies and strategies in Indonesia’s forestry sector could be considered “moderately progressive” (RECOFTC 2015). However, these efforts have not been translated into specific forestry regulations or laws. The main policy gaps to gender mainstreaming in the forestry sector are outlined below (Arwida et al. In press).

  • a lack of recognition of gender-based gaps in forest governance at the local level limits opportunities for improvement (Markelova and Mwangi 2012) 
  • inadequate understanding and lack of clarity on the concepts of gender and gender mainstreaming have generated confusion among government officials (both at national and subnational level) and hampered gender policy implementation.
  • limited attention by policy makers to the heterogeneity of communities, including gender, class, ethnicity and other socio-cultural aspects, so different subgroups are often overlooked despite their unique contributions and characteristics
  • different levels of capacities, skills, expertise and motivations for mainstreaming gender among members of gender working groups limits their ability to fulfill their assigned duties and responsibilities.
  • the absence of gender-disaggregated data and gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation systems in forestry inhibits better understanding of how women can contribute to sustainable forest management objectives.

Recommendations

  • Gender analyses need to be prioritized in REDD+ design and implementation to better understand gender and socially differentiated interests, behavior, involvement, constraints and opportunities. To support a gendermainstreaming program across sectors and at multiple levels, gender analyses need to be listed as one of key performance indicators of ministries and government institutions at national level. While at subnational level, gender analyses must be a mandatory requirement of the district regional development planning forum (musrenbang). Gender analyses need to feed into measures to: ensure that women and men have an equal voice and influence in decision-making and resource-allocation processes; identify and mitigate against gendered risks related to REDD+; and develop gender equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms.

  • Forestry policies are being determined without adequate gender disaggregated data (RECOFTC 2015). Therefore, the collection of gender disaggregated data should be a mandatory contribution to available national and local-level databases. For example, as the Indonesia Domestic Household Survey, gender disaggregated data should aim to capture women’s non-monetary contributions towards the household and family.

  • Gender concerns need to be adequately mainstreamed in order to ensure that gender perspectives and the goal of gender equity are central to all REDD+ related activities. However, political commitment to gender mainstreaming should not be measured against just the existence of gender budgets. Gender mainstreaming requires incentive/disincentive mechanisms to foster financial accountability and to ensure that policies are implemented effectively, efficiently and equitably. This requires a widespread and high level of political commitment toward gender mainstreaming and adequately training and resourcing of gender support units at multiple levels.

  • As Indonesia has a decentralized system of governance, it is imperative to work closely with relevant stakeholders at the subnational level to ensure that gender equitable policies are implemented at the local level and make a positive difference to the lives of women and men. This requires that we are cognizant of local-level realities and avoid simple assumptions that women are uniformly marginalized and/or face the same challenges across the country. It also requires the identification of local actors or champions who advocate gender equity and can enforce and monitor (individually and in combination with government and NGOs) the implementation of gender equitable policies. 

Further Resources