Access, Forest Tenure and Gender: Latin America Workshop
(Cali, 2013) Gender need to be understood more than just a number balance between men and women. Gender equity is about empowering marginalized groups such as men and women belonging to indigenous communities, Afro-communities, different ethnic groups, race and caste from the vulnerable regions of developing countries in global south. Access to forestland and land tenure for small-scale farms is most often gender biased. Women and men have different access and tenure rights which in turn impact their ability to participate in sustainable management of natural resources.
The two-day learning workshop was convened by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) under the CGIAR Gender in Forests, Trees and Agroforestry Research Program on August 21 and 22, 2013, Cali, Colombia. Main aim of this learning workshop was to share experiences and document gender disparities in access to forests, trees, and farmland for marginalized groups in Latin America.
The opening welcome speech was delivered by Ruben Echeverria (Director General, CIAT) emphasizing on CIAT’s interest to integrate its works with socio-economic activities with focus on gender dimensions. The aim of the workshop and background was introduced by Purabi Bose (Workshop Coordinator, CIAT). The workshop began with thought provoking keynote by David Kaimowitz (Director of Sustainable Development, Ford Foundation) entitled “Rural Women in Latin America: What Surprised, and What did not”. The second keynote and workshop facilitator, Anne Larson (Principal Scientist, CIFOR, Peru), presented her work on “Challenges in Overcoming Obstracles to Women’s Participation: Experience from Nicaragua and Uganda. The day two keynote speaker was Han van Dijk (Professor at Rural Development Sociology Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands) and shared his extensive research experience in Africa and sharing “Mixed Methods Research: How to Mainstream Gender in Natural Resource Governance”.
KEY POINTS ON GENDERED ACCESS TO FORESTS AND LAND IN LATIN AMERICA
We had a number of research presentations and followed by discussion and debate. From all the paper presentations by the participants, we can summarize that in Latin America
- The history of forests and land reforms influences the way legal frameworks is designed moving towards traditional ‘rights-based approach’ for indigenous and marginalized women.
- There is large variety in gender relations within the context of management of forest resources and land across countries and ethnic groups but also in relation to different stages of forest conversion.This diversity also depends on the status of ethnic minorities and the way in which the relations to land and forest have been organized by law and been maintained by governments.
- There is often mistrust between state authorities and local populations with respect to forest management.
- Women often express little interest in rights to forest resources and seem to be inclined to have their interests represented by their men. This does not necessarily reflect a lack of interest or a lack of economic importance of forest resources for women, but is also a reflection of intra-group gender relations.
- Therefore, there is a general lack of knowledge about the role of women in forest exploitation (Non Timber Forest Products and wood products). Since they are not politically represented nor empowered to make discretionary decisions (even if they are represented) at the relevant local community and at the national (for e.g. in policy-making) forums.
- Gender issues in terms of access to education, health, and leadership position (managerial position and legislative seats across Latin America region) are lower for indigenous and Afro-descendent women than other groups.
- In the region there may be chances of increased female labor force participation, but little information is available on access to financial resources for women (indigenous and Afro-descendent) micro entrepreneurs.
- Interventions meant to promote women’s empowerment such as marketing of products that is managed and processed by women are often taken over by men when the economic demand for the product increases.
PROPOSITIONS FOR FUTURE COLLABORATION
Info brief on gaps identified and what we found. This will be prepared by the organizers together with the workshop participants expected to be ready by mid-October 2013.
Publication at International Peer-Reviewed Journal as Special Issue: Call for expression of interest has already been circulated (and is open till mid-October 2013). We are receving positive response from the workshop participants and from many external partners working in Latin America on topic gender and resource access (forests and small farms). The special issue at international peer-reviewed journal (in English and/or may be bilingual- English and Spanish) will be planned for next year. If you (or your colleagues) are interested, please express your interest to Purabi Bose (email below)
Audience for networking on gender and natural resources. This requires further development and strategy to co-ordinate knowledge and information dissemination on related topic.
Developing research ideas (priorities for investigation) in small groups: each priority need coordinator. There is a need to streamline each priority with a specific volunteer to coordinate each priority and explore funding options.
Write-shop for the above mentioned special journal issue. The plan is to develop a common methodological framework on gender and resource access to forests and small-farms with all the contributors, and facilitated by the workshop keynotes (Prof. Han van Dijk, Wageningen University and Dr. Anne Larson, CIFOR, Peru) and few other experts from the region.
For detailed workshop report, and for your expression of interest to collaborate in any of the above-mentioned activities, kindly contact:
Dr. Purabi Bose, Social Scientist at CIAT ,and Gender Focal Person of the CGIAR Reserach Program Forests, Trees and Agro-forestry in Latin America.
E-mail: email@example.com OR purabib2 (at) gmail (dot) com.