From Policy into Practice: How Chile is Mainstreaming Gender into its REDD+ Actions
1 March 2022, Santiago: Acknowledging the crucial role women and men play in the success and effectiveness of REDD+, Chile has taken large strides over the years to ensure a gender perspective is fully integrated into REDD+ actions, both in policy and practice. The country’s multi-pronged approach and commitment to this work has generated good practices that can help guide other countries, as well as demonstrate how both women and men are key agents of change in climate action, including REDD+.
With support from the UN-REDD Programme and other international organizations, these gender efforts around REDD+ began with the development of the National Strategy on Climate Change and Vegetation Resources (ENCCRV). Led by the National Forestry Corporation’s (CONAF) Indigenous and Social Affairs Unit, a methodology was developed to ensure the ENCCRV complied not only with national and international requirements on gender, but also incorporated a gender perspective as a strategic axis.
In Chile, only 28 percent of native forest management plans are led by women, who in turn, manage 22 percent of the total area and 20 percent of native forest area in the country, according to CONAF. Given this gender disparity, and acknowledging the key role both women and men play in forest management, CONAF conducted participatory focus group discussions in the design of the ENCCRV that allowed women and men to submit proposals, ensuring their perspectives and priorities were equitably collected across various stakeholder groups. These contributions helped reduce the gaps between the traditional view on forests and the value and use they provide to society, with women, particularly from the Indigenous and rural sector, as key stakeholders who are dependent on forests.
Approved in 2016, the ENCCRV incorporates women’s perspectives and contributions, in addition to those of other key stakeholders. It also promotes a gender perspective as a cross-cutting approach. The participation of women in the consultation process was about 30 percent, which was, at that time, a remarkable milestone, considering that during that period (2015 - 2016), the inclusion of a gender perspective in public policies was not common and was often not viewed as important. (Please see “Mainstreaming of the Gender Approach in Chile’s National Strategy on Climate Change and Vegetation Resources (ENCCRV)” for more information.)
Building on this work and within the framework of the ENCCRV, a gender approach continued to be integrated into the UN-REDD National Programme in Chile which ran from September, 2017 to December, 2021. With the objective of supporting Chile’s Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) through CONAF, the National Programme focused on ENCCRV implementation and the subsequent payment for results phase of REDD+.
To illustrate the breadth of this work, a gender approach is incorporated as one of the priorities in the design of the Safeguards Information System (SIS). Similarly, within Chile’s Benefit Sharing Mechanism (SDB), projects that are led by a women’s organization or prioritize women’s participation is noted as a criterion for selection. In the evaluation of public tender and prioritized projects, additional points are also given to initiatives formulated by women and to initiatives with one or more women as owners of the property or project. A sectoral, territorial, inter-cultural and gender approach is also integrated into the decision-making process under the SDB.
Gender elements were also integrated into Chile’s Co-benefits System (SCB). This innovative system – the first of its kind associated with a REDD+ strategy - aims to estimate the impact of eight ENCCRV actions on six different social and environmental co-benefits throughout the country. It identifies the reduction of the employment gap between men and women as a socio-economic benefit, as well as defines an indicator on the variation of the gender wage gap in the forestry and agricultural sector.
Within five regions in Chile, the UN-REDD Programme also supported efforts to implement pilot projects focused on new forest management models for key measures of the ENCCRV. While these projects varied in their degree in terms of how they integrated a gender perspective, some good practices for replication including the following:
- establishing criteria on women’s participation and gender equality in project design and implementation;
- incorporating the strategic needs of women in project implementation;
- promoting women’s equitable involvement in decision-making areas and positions of leadership, including in the management of nurseries; and,
- identifying specific impacts to women (and men) through participatory workshops during the problem identification phase.
Efforts to integrate and strengthen the gender approach within public policy, particularly during the payment by results phase of the ENCCRV, continue today and range from highlighting gender actions in the development of operational guidelines to gender capacity building of local professionals in charge of project design, implementation and monitoring.
UN-REDD support of Chile’s REDD+ actions over the years has provided insights and lessons on integrating gender into REDD+ implementation. This can help guide other state and non-state actors in developing enabling conditions for gender mainstreaming. To illustrate, this support revealed it is critical to have gender baseline data to create a point of comparison and to understand existing conditions between REDD+ actors of all genders and across all relevant stakeholder groups. Additionally, it is crucial to have the active and equitable participation of women and youth in forest fire training and prevention efforts, a field often dominated by men. Lastly, ensuring a gender approach and promoting women’s empowerment and involvement in training, environmental education programs and decision-making structures is key to ensuring REDD+ implementation and sustainability.
These good practices and lessons learned from Chile’s REDD+ gender mainstreaming efforts show the range of entry points and opportunities for integrating gender and women’s empowerment concepts within REDD+ design and implementation. Key in Chile’s methodology is the use of a multi-pronged and cross-cutting approach to gender, which in turn helps to improve the impact of activities as well as to catalyze change on gender equality.