Advancing Gender in the Environment: Cultivating a More Equitable and Inclusive TFA 2020
The actions of TFA 2020 Partners—both individually and collectively—take place in different contexts with unique social circumstances in which women, men, Indigenous peoples, and vulnerable groups have differentiated roles, uses, access, benefits, and control over environmental and social resources. As identified in a 2017 TFA 2020 paper, in South America, deforestation rates are between 6 and 350 times lower in forests legally recognized as belonging to Indigenous and local communities, yet they have legal rights to only 31% of forests in low and middle-income countries. Accepted norms for social interaction between groups result in differences regarding their status, class, and ethnicity—all influencing natural resource rights, control, and ownership, as well as who has power and voice in decision making. These factors impact the potential for successful and sustainable business outcomes.
The exclusion of women, Indigenous peoples or other often vulnerable groups from project, programs or policy processes, whether intentional or accidental, results in inefficient, ineffective, and inequitable initiatives and can reinforce or exacerbate existing inequalities. In recognition of this, the TFA 2020 Gender and Inclusion Strategy was agreed by the TFA 2020 Steering Committee. It promotes the design of activities that advance more equitable relationships between stakeholders, including by finding opportunities in which women, men, Indigenous peoples, and other vulnerable people benefit equally. Noting that an equity approach “promotes leadership and voice among the most vulnerable people,” gender equity considers the “fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs.”1 Concurrently, inclusion promotes the participation of women, Indigenous peoples, and other vulnerable groups in information sharing and generation, education and training, decision making, technology transfer, organizational development, economic development, and financial and policy influence to contribute to effective solutions and approaches to reduce tropical deforestation related to key global commodities.
Through its Gender and Inclusion Strategy, the TFA 2020 Steering Committee (SC), Secretariat and Partners recognize gender equity and inclusion as essential elements toward the reduction of tropical deforestation related to key global commodity supply chains, such as palm oil, beef, soy and paper and pulp.