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Sustainable Development Policy & Practice
Land Policy & Practice

Seventh Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP)
“Shaping Our Future: Rio+20 Outcome Follow-Up and Moving Towards the Post-2015 Development Agenda”

17-26 September 2013 | Windhoek, Namibia

Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Highlights for Wednesday, 25 September 2013
Rio Conventions Pavilion at UNCCD COP11
The Rio Conventions Pavilion convened for Gender Day on Wednesday, 25 September. The Rio Conventions Pavilion is meeting in conjunction with the Eleventh Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), taking place from 16-27 September 2013, in Windhoek, Namibia. Gender Day included an opening ceremony and sessions on: advances in women’s empowerment over two decades; emerging challenges and opportunities for drylands women; empowerment that improves livelihoods at household and community levels - community-level perspective; empowerment that improves livelihoods at household and community levels - development partners’ perspective; marching towards gender equality and equity; and conclusion and closing. The day ended with a reception.
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Makgwanba Ngwao Culture Group performs.
Opening Ceremony
Opening the session on Wednesday morning, UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja said that gender equality is a necessity if we aspire to land degradation neutrality.

A panelist discussed the incorporation of gender issues in the constitution and university curricula of Namibia. Other speakers described constraints on women in drylands and called for repealing discriminatory law and practices.

Keynote speaker Margaret Mensah Williams, Deputy Chairperson, National Council of Namibia, called for land ownership and related rights for women, and explored gender aspects of Namibia’s policy frameworks, arguing that any serious policy must ensure participation in decision making, benefits from natural resources, and opportunities for knowledge-sharing for women.

Panelists invited the participants to work towards a practical, forward-looking initiative focusing on women’s empowerment.
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Panel (L-R): UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja; Margaret Mensah Williams, Deputy Chairperson, National Council, Namibia; Lazarus Hangula, Vice-Chancellor, University of Namibia (UNAM); Anne Saloranta, Chargé d’Affairs of Finland to Namibia; and Veerle Vandeweerd, UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Anne Saloranta, Chargé d’Affairs of Finland to Namibia
UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja
Margaret Mensah Williams, Deputy Chairperson, National Council, Namibia

Advances in Women’s Empowerment Over Two Decades
On Wednesday morning, this panel addressed progress in institutionalizing gender at local, national, regional and global levels. Ministers and representatives discussed gender mainstreaming at the national level in South Africa, Namibia and Argentina, as well as at the international level within the UNCCD.

Speakers noted the higher vulnerability of women to desertification, land degradation and drought (DLDD) due to existing gender inequality. At the national level, they highlighted specific initiatives that mainstream gender, inter alia, a Green Fund Project in South Africa, constitutional rights to land and access to credit initiatives in Namibia, and inclusion of gender in Argentina’s National Action Programmes (NAP) to address desertification under the UNCCD. They called for ensuring gender mainstreaming in all sectors and gender representation in institutions.
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L-R: Moderator Immaculate Mogotsi, UNAM; Niita Iipinge, Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Namibia; Sergio Zelaya, UNCCD Secretariat; María Teresa Kralikas, Minister, General Directorate of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Argentina; and Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister, Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa
María Teresa Kralikas, Minister, General Directorate of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Argentina
Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister, Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa
Niita Iipinge, Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Namibia

Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Drylands Women

On Wednesday afternoon, this panel presented research on the challenges of women and how Rio Conventions are mainstreaming gender in plans and action.

A researcher from Namibia called for identifying barriers and enablers for women’s participation in sustainable land management (SLM). She said that tools for empowerment include: addressing cultural norms and traditional practices; mainstreaming gender in SLM investments and community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) initiatives; improving access to information; encouraging participation in capacity building; and producing gender-disaggregated data.

Members of Secretariats discussed work on gender under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including a technical paper on gender-sensitive approaches and the Gender Plan of Action under the CBD, and highlighted the need for harmonization between the three conventions.

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Panel (L-R): Jonathan Davies, IUCN; Margaret Angula, UNAM; Rojina Manandhar, UNFCCC Secretariat; and David Ainsworth, CBD Secretariat.
Rojina Manandhar, UNFCCC
Margaret Angula, UNAM
Jonathan Davies, IUCN

Empowerment that Improves Livelihoods at Household and Community Levels:
Community Level Perspective
On Wednesday afternoon, this panel presented community-level perspectives with speakers describing the impacts of conservancies in Namibia, a women’s cooperative in Namibia, and integration of women into community land projects in Mexico.

Deborah Fraser, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, South Africa, highlighted the vision of her women’s empowerment foundation, saying it aims, in part, to increase representation of women in the sustainable use of land resources.

On benefits of conservancies, one panelist emphasized employment of women as community resource monitors and representation of women in conservancy management committees.

On the benefits of the cooperative, the speaker noted income generation and empowerment stemming from self-governance. By focusing on household-level interventions that integrate women, one speaker said projects are less likely to be abandoned if family members migrate elsewhere for work.
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Panel (L-R): Selma Lendelvo, UNAM; Martha Kangandjo, Eudafano Women’s Cooperative, Namibia; Janet Matota, IRDNC Namibia; Marcela Ortiz, Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible; Deborah Fraser, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, South Africa.
Deborah Fraser, UNCCD Drylands Ambassador, South Africa
Janet Matota, IRDNC Namibia
Marcela Ortiz, Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible

Empowerment that Improves Livelihoods at Household and Community Levels:
Development Partners’ Perspective
On Wednesday afternoon, this session heard presentations by development partners on programmes focusing on the household and community levels. A speaker from the UNDP described the achievements of the Integrated Drylands Development Programme, which works to expand women’s access to fundamental assets, basic services and infrastructure, among others. He presented examples of activities in Africa, including support to networks, capacity building of groups and microcredit.

Describing experiences of the World Bank in empowering women in sustainable land and water management (SLWM), a panelist said that making women agents of change requires: increased control over health and resources; more freedom of movement; and less domestic violence.

The third speaker shared highlights of Finland’s development policy, including mainstreaming of gender-related objectives in programmes, and noted the importance of food security and land rights.
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Panel (L-R): Zakiya Uzoma-Wadada, Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI); Elie Kodsi, UNDP; Paola Agostini, World Bank; and Vesa Kaarakka, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland.
Paola Agostini, World Bank
Zakiya Uzoma-Wadada, CANARI
Vesa Kaarakka, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland

Marching Towards Gender Equality and Equity
On Wednesday afternoon, this session reflected on the lessons learned from the previous sessions, in order to define the potential elements of a “Windhoek Initiative” to advance the gender agenda. Panelists highlighted key lessons, including: eliminating legal obstacles to gender equity; acknowledging customary and traditional knowledge of women; recognizing the advances of the last two decades; fostering women’s access to economic development; and integrating women’s rights into land policies.

Panelists called for capacity building, education of local communities, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of gender in projects, and national-level coordination on gender mainstreaming. Panelists acknowledged successes in mainstreaming gender and empowering women at the local and household level. Speakers highlighted a session that underscored ways in which development partners have integrated gender into projects and programmes.
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Panel L-R: Elie Kodsi, UNDP; Jasmin Metzler, UNCCD Secretariat; Johanna Nashandi, UNAM; and Sarah Anyoti, UNDP.
Elie Kodsi, UNDP
Johanna Nashandi, UNAM
Sarah Anyoti, UNDP

Conclusion and Closing
Wednesday closed with remarks from panelists. One speaker reflected on the progress made over the past 20 years, noting the increased understanding and acknowledgement of women in natural resources management. She called for holding a Gender Day at all COPs, and inclusion of gender in COP decisions and in the post-2015 development agenda outcomes. Another panelist highlighted the gender and land-related activities of UNAM.

On behalf of UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja, a panelist emphasized the opportunities to address challenges in gender empowerment. He noted funding from the UNDP and Finland for the publication of a book on gender reflecting the discussions that took place during Gender Day. He underscored that the discussions could be part of the “Windhoek Agenda,” and called for parties to include gender issues in COP 11 outcomes.
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Panel L-R: Wagaki Mwangi, UNCCD Secretariat; Sergio Zelaya, UNCCD Secretariat; Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP; and Nelago Indongo, UNAM.
Wagaki Mwangi, UNCCD Secretariat
Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP
Nelago Indongo, UNAM

Reception
A reception closing Gender day included the launch of the Land for Life magazine and the presentation of the award for the UNCCD Third Photo Contest to Sudipto Das.
Yukie Hori, UNCCD Secretariat, announces the UNCCD Third Photo Contest winners.
Makgwanba Ngwao Culture Group performs.
 
Immaculate Mogotsi, UNAM, and Wagaki Mwangi, UNCCD Secretariat
Papa Shikongeni, Artist
 

Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Related Links
Event resources

*Event website

*RCP themes

*RCP past meetings


UNCCD COP11 resources

*COP11 website

*COP11 annotated agenda

*COP11 documents

*CST 11 provisional annotated agenda

*CST 11 documents

*CRIC 12 provisional agenda

*CRIC 12 documents

*Host country website


IISD RS resources

*IISD RS coverage of UNCCD COP11, 16-27 September 2013, Windhoek, Namibia

*IISD RS coverage of the Sixth RCP, 9-18 October 2012, Hyderabad, India

*IISD RS coverage of the Fifth RCP, 13-22 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

*Post-2015-L Development Agenda Meeting Reporting

*SDG - A mailing list focused on internationally-relevant activities related to setting the post-2015 development agenda

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Post-2015 Development Agenda Activities

*LAND-L - A news and announcement list on land policy issues

*Land Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Addressing Sustainable Land

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
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