ESCAP Highlights Gender Equality as Critical to Achieving SDGs
Photo by IISD/ENB | Sean Wu
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The report brings together best practices and policy lessons to help advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs, particularly SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger).

It recommends mainstreaming gender in order to implement gender-sensitive policies and interventions.

The report underscores that fostering women’s participation and leadership in managing environmental resources will have a positive impact on conservation and resource efficiency.

8 September 2017: Gender equality is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a report published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The report, for the first time in the region, looks at the gender-environment nexus at the household, work, community and policy levels, especially as it relates to food security, agriculture, energy, water, fisheries and forestry. It also identifies key policy interventions in this regard.

Titled ‘Gender, the Environment and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific,’ the report brings together best practices and policy lessons to help advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs, particularly SDG 5 (gender equality), SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger). The report identifies gender as a cross-cutting issue in the SDGs, including SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), 13 (climate action), 14 (life below water) and 15 (life on land), and seeks to help governments integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment into environmental and sustainable development policies.

During the report’s launch, ESCAP Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar noted that, in the Asia-Pacific region, most women’s lives are inextricably linked to the environment on a daily basis, and urged policymakers to address “the pivotal linkages between gender and the environment.”

If women had similar access to and control over the same resources as men, their contributions would increase food production by 2.5-4%, and lift more than 150 million people out of poverty, according to the report.

The report finds that, while most economically active women are in the agriculture sector, fewer than 20% hold secure land tenure. Women often lack access to credit, mechanical equipment, irrigation facilities and extension services. According to the publication, if women had similar access to and control over the same resources as men, their contributions would increase food production by 2.5-4%, and lift more than 150 million people out of poverty.

The report also finds that, while 66% of workers in large-scale marine fisheries are women, official data often ignore such activities as post-harvest processing and netmaking, which are usually done by women. The report highlights the need for policymakers to track the entire fishing cycle to ensure that this work is formally recognized.

The publication also shows that clean energy can enhance productivity, and improve women’s health, since household air pollution is the second-biggest health risk factor for women and children.

The report recommends: mainstreaming gender in order to implement gender-sensitive policies and interventions; undertaking systems mapping within and across sectors to address gender concerns; and introducing gender budgeting to establish gender-sensitive financing goals, processes and mechanisms. It underscores that fostering women’s participation and leadership in managing environmental resources will have a positive impact on conservation and resource efficiency.

The report was launched during the first Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 5-8 September 2017. [ESCAP News Story] [Publication Landing Page][SDG Knowledge Hub story about Ministerial Summit on the Environment] [Publication: Gender, the Environment and Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific]


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