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Sprinting to Finish Gender and Environment Report

Story by GRID-Arendal March 8th, 2016

How can gender issues be brought to the heart of environmental assessment and decision-making?

That question is the essence of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global Gender and Environment Outlook (GGEO) to be released at the second United Nations Environmental Assembly to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in late May this year.

GRID-Arendal’s Tina Schoolmeester is part of an experienced and highly skilled team of experts from around the world that is finalizing the Outlook, work which began two years ago. She recently took part in a “writing sprint” – a week-long drafting session held in Reykjavik, Iceland, where lead authors pulled together the final draft of the report.

Final authors’ “writing sprint” in Reykjavik, Iceland, last week of February. Photo Credits: GRID-Arendal.

The GGEO is the first comprehensive and integrated assessment about gender and the environment. The key objective of this report is to inform decision-making by describing the interplay between human activities and the environment from a gender perspective. The report will also inform governments about the potential roles of men, women, boys and girls to achieve gender equality in a just and sustainable world.

UNEP made a commitment at the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit in 2012 to undertake a groundbreaking initiative to ensure that gender considerations would feature more prominently in its global environmental assessments. The Global Gender and Environment Outlook is a reflection of that commitment.

The assessment is expected result in increased understanding of the connections between gender and environment, which will lead to better policies and solutions-oriented responses.

“By exploring future sustainability pathways from a gender perspective, we have the opportunity to envisage the future we can actually have,’’ says Schoolmeester. “By looking at gender and the environment together we can make a tangible difference in the lives of people around the world.”

GGEO also embraces the new global Sustainable Development Goals and this is reflected throughout the various chapters in the report. GRID-Arendal is contributing to the production of the GGEO together with other agencies and leading experts.

Gender issues are at the forefront of UN activities this year, the theme for which is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

The GGEO work was continuing on International Women’s Day on 8 March where people around the world raise awareness about women’s rights and gender inequality.

«Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.» - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
Footnote: Photo Header Credits: GRID-Arendal / Lawrence Hislop.
Reykjavík, Iceland