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The Norwegian Embassy supports New Suite of Research Reports on Critical Role of Women in Asia’s Forests

The suite of analyses called Securing Women’s Tenure and Leadership for Forest Management: A Summary of the Asian Experience was released in Beijing 21 July at the International Workshop on Gender and Forest Tenure in Asia and Collective Forest Tenure Reform in China. This new research provides the most comprehensive continent wide analysis on the status of forest tenure rights and gender rights.

The workshop, hosted by the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) and co-organized by Rights and Resources Initiative, Landesa-RDI, and the State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China, includes high-level participation from provincial and national government agencies in China, leading experts on gender and forest tenure from throughout Asia and voices from Chinese civil society.

The contributions in this volume demonstrate that exclusion and inequality on gender grounds are still rife and often due to cultural and social norms, economic pressures, and inadequate legal and institutional frameworks. Authors warn of continued discrimination against women, despite the benefits realized by their inclusion in the management and decision making processes regarding natural resources, and call for emerging programs and policies to combat climate change or encourage sustainable development to incorporate lessons learned. The authors use field cases from Indonesia, China, the Philippines and Nepal to illustrate their points and despite differences in legal framework, there are many similarities between the countries when it comes to forest tenure rights and gender.

 “When NGOs start to work with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, they often ignore gender-based problems, and the various forms of gender injustices that relate to forest tenure and forest governance,” said Avi Mahaningtyas, Chief of Cluster, Environment and Economic Governance for the Kemitraan-Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia and one of the contributors to the volume.  “For example, when NGOs began to engage community members in the ex-Mega Rice Project area to develop collective actions to challenge government policies and programs on forest tenure and forest governance, they hardly considered the involvement of indigenous women.”

The Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta supported the suit of analyses through a grant to Rights and Resources Imitative in relation to the Lombok conference on land tenure in July 2011 that RRI arranged with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). A session on women and land tenure rights at the Lombok conference served as a “kick-off” for the volume published this week.

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