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Archive for May, 2016

SOURCE: Asian Development Blog

By: Dagmar Zwebe

Two years into an ADB technical assistance project funded by the Nordic Development Fund for women to benefit from climate change mitigation efforts in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam, the importance of gender sensitization becomes clearer by the day. Below are three reasons why.

1. There’s a big knowledge gap

While climate change specialists are experts at quantifying impacts, identifying adaptation and mitigation opportunities, and championing strategies to address mitigation challenges, they are not fully aware of how to reach men and women equally with those strategies. Their exposure to the importance of gender equality has unfortunately been limited, so it is often not a matter of unwillingness, but of not fully understanding the opportunity of including half of the population so economic growth and poverty reduction can move ahead as fast as it can.

In some cases there is fear of change. During a recent high-level climate change meeting, the chairman expressed his fear that if women were “too empowered” family life would go out of balance and local culture would be disrupted, a situation he did not wish upon his country. On the other hand, women’s agencies can tell you all about the current situation of women in their country, women’s livelihoods and their roles in households and society. These agencies can detail gender imbalances, the impacts on communities, and how they have developed gender strategies and action plans to make a difference and try to lift women out of poverty. However when analyzing these strategies, it’s clear that climate change is not yet high on the agenda for women’s agencies, even if women possess extraordinary potential to contribute to climate change mitigation and natural resources management.

We are aiming to not only bring climate and gender specialists together, but also facilitate real interaction to close the gap. Just sitting at each other’s tables talking about our own interests is not going to make a difference; the goal is to understand each other’s language and goals, and create a common vision. Without showing both sides we fail to notice the difference gender-responsive mitigation initiatives can make for each of their causes. An example of this is the value chain for improved cook stoves that involves women and men as suppliers, producers, sellers and end-users so policy-makers can clearly see the social and economic benefits of gender inclusiveness.

2. Timing is everything

When working with governments on a policy/strategy/planning level, it’s important to understand the review and renewal cycles that determine the schedule for decision-making and possible intervention. Since these cycles are typically quite long (5-10 years) we must identify possible entry points that fit with project timeframes to get traction and have real opportunities to propose the integration of new approaches. Examples of this are Cambodia’s 2016-2020 Gender Mainstreaming Policy and Strategic Framework, which did not initially address climate change but now includes a range of climate-related issues and indicators.

3. Money talks

Partners countries continue to be strapped for cash and need to make difficult choices on how to spend available funds, so raising gender equality coupled with climate change higher on the agenda remains challenging. During the project, policy-makers confirmed that having available funds would make a difference. This is a task not only for national governments, but also for the whole development community. Gender inclusion should be a prerequisite to obtain climate financing in all forms and shapes, and the organizations such as the Green Climate Fund, the Climate Investment Funds or the Global Environment Facility have all taken this step. If not, half of the world’s population will benefit less—or not at all—from climate change mitigation initiatives that inadvertently widen the inequality gap.

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SOURCE: RRI

Support team helping with Komnas HAM National Inquiry
Support team helping with Komnas HAM National Inquiry 

The release of a new series of reports in March by the Indonesian National Commission On Human Rights (Komnas HAM), the government’s human rights agency, marks the first official process to examine the human rights impacts of land rights conflicts on Indigenous Peoples throughout Indonesia’s forest areas. The state-led “Inquiry,” which looks at 40 case studies of land conflicts across the country, is the result of a yearlong process which included public hearings, ethnographic studies, and discussions on the non-recognition of local communities’ customary land rights. According to RRI Collaborator AMAN (Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago), resolution of some of these 40 conflicts is just a matter of law enforcement. Following the National Inquiry, the situation has improved for Indigenous Peoples in some cases; however, violence has increased in others.

Forest zone determination started during the colonial reign of the Dutch East Indies, but 70% of Indonesia’s land was declared as “forests” during the Suharto Regime — without recognizing the rights of the thousands of indigenous communities who live in them. Vast areas of these forests have also been handed over to private companies as logging, plantation, and mining concessions, or declared as protected areas. The dispossession and exclusion of Indigenous Peoples from their own customary territories has led to an increasing number of conflicts; Komnas HAM estimates that as much as 20 percent of all complaints received by the agency relate to land disputes.

The Inquiry found that communities involved in these land disputes experience numerous abuses — including displacement, intimidation, violence, and takeover of traditional indigenous forests. Report findings also show that conflicts result from an array of factors: lack of legal certainty in recognition of indigenous territories; lack of standard police guidelines in handling natural resource conflict; and a state development agenda that is strongly biased toward protecting corporations over community rights.

The report was officially launched in mid-March in Jakarta, in the presence of state representatives from the Office of the President, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the Anti-Corruption Commission. Teten Masduki, Chief of Staff of the Office of the President, welcomed the publication of the report results and reaffirmed President Joko Widodo’s commitment to respecting, protecting, and recognizing the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Despite this commitment, contradicting legal interpretations of a Constitutional Court decision that says adat forests are to be excluded from State forests has proved to be a major blockage to increasing protection for Indigenous Peoples’ territories.

The report’s concrete policy recommendations—including passage of the Law on Recognition and Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, and the establishment of an independent Task Force on Indigenous Peoples—have prompted calls for the government to enact needed reforms. RRI Partners and Collaborators continue to advocate for effective implementation of Komnas HAM recommendations across Indonesia and encourage prompt government action to recognize community rights.

The Komnas HAM report is composed of five books on the “National Inquiry on the Rights of Customary Law-Abiding Communities Over Their Land in Forest Areas”:

  • Book One: Provides an overview about the National Inquiry process, main findings and recommendations
  • Book Two: Addresses specifically the situation of Adat Women
  • Book Three: Goes deeper into each of the conflict cases, providing ethnographic information and testimonies
  • Book Four: Describes main lessons learnt from this National Inquiry approach
  • Booklet: A policy brief summarizing key findings and recommendations of this inquiry to improve laws and policies

The full reports are available in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

– See more at: http://rightsandresources.org/en/news/landmark-report-investigates-human-rights-abuses-suffered-indigenous-communities-affected-land-conflicts-indonesia/#.VylH54RcSkr

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