GEF News: A new Policy on Gender Equality for the GEF
A new Global Environment Facility (GEF) Policy on Gender Equality was approved today at the 53rd meeting of the GEF Council taking place in Washington, DC. The policy marks GEF’s increased ambition to address gender equality and promote women’s empowerment across its operations, and, in particular, in its projects and programs. It is a logical step stemming from the increased attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment by the conferences of the parties to the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) that the GEF serves, and the Sustainable Development Goals that call for gender-responsive approaches and actions.
“The GEF partnership has seen progress in the area of gender equality in environmental work, but it’s not enough”, said Ms. Francoise Clottes, GEF Director of the Policy, Partnership, and Operations Unit. “By explicitly recognizing that efforts to combat environmental degradation and those to address gender inequality can be mutually supportive, this new Policy will help the GEF to more actively catalyze projects and actions that have the potential to materialize greater environmental impact through gender-responsive approaches and results.”
The new Policy underscores the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment for the GEF’s work. Men and women use natural resources differently and, as a result, environmental conditions have different impacts on men and women. Despite promising reforms, women still have less access to land, water and other productive natural resources due to gender-discriminatory social and cultural norms. These inequalities do not only increase the negative effects of environmental degradation on women and girls, but also limit the equal participation, voice, and decision-making of women in environmental negotiations, policies, and projects. Targeting gender gaps in areas such as control over natural resources, access to benefits and services, and participation and decision-making will not only contribute to greater gender equality, but also help unleash women’s potential as key agents of change in support of GEF’s mandate to achieve global environmental ben