Uganda, a country renowned for its rich biodiversity, is taking strides to integrate gender considerations into its national policies, plans and programmes to implement its obligations under the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. The efforts by Uganda are said to be contributing to the ongoing global effort to achieve gender equity and equality, as reflected in the 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
At a workshop held in Kampala from 13-14 June 2016, participants underscored the important role of women and issues of gender in the conservation and sustainable use of the country’s biodiversity. The workshop brought together women and men working in the fields of gender and environmental conservation from civil society and government organisations, to learn about international and national policy frameworks that support biodiversity conservation and sustainable use.
Most significantly, they reviewed the country’s revised National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) to identify relevant gender considerations. These discussions were followed by a day-long national workshop on 15 June, involving representatives from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the Uganda Wildlife Authority, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and the United Nations Development Programme, as well as representatives from academia and civil society. Recommendations on the integration of gender issues will be considered by government for inclusion in the final revised NBSAP.
The workshops were part of a project being implemented by the Secretariat of the CBD in collaboration with the Global Gender Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with funding from the Government of Japan through the Japan Biodiversity Fund. Uganda is one of three pilot countries in this project, aimed at building capacity of developing countries to integrate gender considerations into their biodiversity policy, planning and programming. The workshop was jointly organised by NEMA and IUCN. NEMA coordinates the implementation of the CBD and NBSAP on behalf of Government of Uganda, and has coordinated the process to review and update the NBSAP.
According to the CBD, Uganda’s rich biodiversity offers a significant opportunity to support the country’s poverty reduction efforts through sustainable tourism, sustainable agriculture and other natural resource-based sectors. It adds that the conservation and sustainable use of these rich biological resources are also essential to maintain clean water, fertile soil, and the provision of ecosystem services, upon which the rural and urban poor depend.
“Sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity requires effective engagement of all of the users of biological resources – indigenous peoples and local communities, women, men, boys and girls – in decision-making, planning and implementation, and ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits,” CBD notes, adding that a revised NBSAP that clearly incorporates gender issues will set the stage for Uganda to take an effective, inclusive approach to implementing its obligations under the Convention and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011- 2020.
Lessons and outputs from this and the other two pilot projects will be shared with delegates at the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, from 4 to 17 December 2016.