A report, just published, points to the closer relationship between gender issues and climate change. The report, which picks up on some issues from Peru, will provide an important input for discussions at COP 26 in Glasgow in November.
This substantial review (243 pages) of the links between gender and climate change was published at the end of January. The review was carried out by IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. This is a membership organisation based in Switzerland and created in 1948. The IUCN describes itself as “the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network”, with over 1,300 member organisations and 15,000 experts. The report is produced in partnership with USAID.
The findings are worldwide, but the report draws together much research on Peru, and is powerful by the extent of the convergence shown between different national situations. The IUCN called for case study material and received 85 case studies. Fourteen are explicitly cited in the report, of which one is on Peru, on “gender discrimination in the academic sector of environmental science.”
The main conclusions of the thoroughly documented report stress the connection between gender-based violence (GBV) and environmental and human rights damage, themes which echo topics familiar to our readers, principally concerning the gender dimensions of illegal gold mining and logging in Peru.
The Peruvian case is most frequently cited in the report in relation to modern slavery and sexual exploitation in these two sectors, topics extensively covered. Less commonly highlighted and therefore particularly useful is the evidence the report cites on the positive dimension of gender and the environment.
When women are incorporated as actors in policies to reduce damaging environmental practices, the results are significantly better. The chief case study quoted here may seem far from Peru’s case: the poaching of rhinos in the Krueger National Park in Zimbabwe, but the case is worthy of study.
Policy makers in Zimbabwe had to recognise that a male-dominated militarised approach was not working. Establishment of an all-women anti-poaching unit produced remarkable results. When 199 men were selected for anti-poaching training, only three remained at the end of the first day. After 72 hours of intense training, a mere three out of 37 women dropped out.
After 20 months of operation, there was no corruption among the women rangers, who have predominantly used their income to buy land, build houses and get their families back together (page 119). Another positive case mentioned in passing is Peru’s Profonanpe (Fondo de Promocion de las Areas Protegidas del Perú), praised for its gender equality policies and its environmental safeguards (page 197).
Another point worth highlighting is the emphasis from the actors surveyed as to the obstacles to inclusion of gender in environmental policies. The survey achieved 303 responses, mostly from Latin America, and 71% of these underlined staff’s lack of understanding of how GBV may relate to environmental projects. This was by far the biggest obstacle cited. Next at 58% came lack of access to data and information (figure 21, page 220). These are issues that can be resolved, even though with effort.
There are important themes here for COP 26 in Glasgow this autumn.