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Catalyzing Gender-Forests Actions


Taking gender into consideration in relation to forests matters because how, why and where men and women access, use and manage forests differs. These differences matter for the design of policies, institutional arrangements and interventions aimed at supporting sustainable forest landscapes. Persistent gender gaps remain across all regions in: access to services, access to markets and value-addition activities, land and tree tenure, voice and agency, and hiring labor. In addition to these, gender differences in the capacity for addressing climate change has been recognized as an issue that affects not only productivity but widens existing gender gaps in many places. But the challenges and appropriate solutions are not the same everywhere, which is why gender analysis to identify critical gender gaps at the project inception stage is so important. 


PROFOR’s program on Catalyzing Gender-Forests Actions aims to see that every PROFOR activity has clear gender-related objectives and actions identified and implemented. By sharing knowledge of practices that are generating gender-responsive forest projects, programs and investments, the goal is to influence and see improved project and program design and implementation of gender ‘best practices’ across the WBG and with its clients and partners, leading to projects that are more inclusive and able to measure improved equity impacts.

The underlying theory of change of this work is that through greater awareness of the relative lack of targeted gender efforts in many forests projects and programs, and a better understanding of the kinds of actions that could be, and are being, successfully undertaken in some, that project teams will include gender-targeted investments and actions in their plans from the outset, starting at the design stage.


  • Working Paper: Taking Action on Gender Gaps in Forest Landscapes examines the types of gender inequalities that exist in forest landscapes, and the gender considerations or actions that many countries are taking to address these gaps. It reviews and synthesizes a wide range of World Bank and partner projects and forest sector investments in different regions.
  • A brief, entitled ‘Enhancing Effectiveness of Forest Landscape Programs through Gender-Responsive Actions’ is part of a series of briefs on lessons for gender-responsive landscape restoration, shared at the Global Landscapes Forum meeting held in Nairobi in August, 2018. Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) aims to achieve ecological integrity and enhance human well-being in deforested or degraded landscapes. Evidence shows that addressing gender equality and women’s rights is critical for addressing this dual objective. The World Bank, CIFOR, WOCAN, RRI, IUCN, WRI, FAO, ViAgroforestry and other partners representing civil society, multilateral organizations, researchers and private sector actors have joined together to highlight a number of useful lessons and recommendations rooted in their diverse experiences and expertise – all working in different ways to enhance the gender-responsiveness of forest landscape restoration efforts.
  • A brief, entitledGender in Forest Landscape Projects: Actions and Indicators succinctly shares practical suggestions as to potential gender-responsive activities and actions, and indicators to measure progress towards gender outcomes, that WBG clients/ project teams can potentially include in their forest landscape projects, programs and investments.
  • A guidance note entitled ‘Gender and Forest Landscapes: Enhancing Development Impacts of Projects and Programs’. It provides suggestions for developers and leaders of forests projects and programs to enhance participation by, benefits to, and empowerment of women and other potential beneficiaries with limited voice and agency. The guide identifies potential gender-responsive activities and actions that can be included throughout the project cycle.
  • Key resources for project designers, researchers, development practitioners and others with an interest in understanding the issues related to, and links between, forests and gender, including: 1) An annotated bibliography of gender and forests literature (broadly defined to include landscapes with forests and agroforestry); 2) A guide that describes a range of tools and approaches freely available for the study and analysis of issues related to forest-gender/poverty issues.
  • A Gender focused Portfolio Review of Forest Projects for the Environment and Natural Resources Program on Forests of the Wold Bank, which analyzes the forest portfolio for the past 5 years (FY11-16), identifying projects that include gender-related dimensions related to analyses, actions, and indicators for monitoring and evaluating progress towards gender-related outcomes. A brief is also available on the portfolio review.

Incorporating gender in PROFOR-supported tools and frameworks

  • PROFOR Forest-Poverty toolkit – these tools are used in a participatory manner with communities and local governments to better understand: (i) forest resource uses and forest product value chains; (ii) sustainable natural resource-based livelihood opportunities; and (iii) enabling conditions and constraints for natural resource enterprise development.  In the Philippines, a PROFOR-supported initiative collected sex- and wealth-disaggregated information using the toolkit to inform local and national forest policies and practices aimed at climate resilience.  In Cambodia, the toolkit is being used in an options assessment of ‘forest-smart’ investments for sustainable livelihoods and forest landscapes.

  • Forest Governance tool - this participatory governance assessment approach aims at putting practical approaches into the hands of practitioners, policy makers, and decision makers and enable them to systematically consider and address the wide range of governance issues involved in sustainable forest landscape management. This tool is being broadened in scope to include gender issues and tested in several countries, including Mexico and Liberia.

  • ROAM - PROFOR assisted IUCN in incorporating gender in the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM) approach. It now includes social and cultural aspects of forest landscape restoration (gender, culture, youth). Applications in Malawi, Brazil, and Rwanda have resulted in new gender-responsive restoration guidelines, and it soon will be implemented in Mozambique and Burundi.
  • Country Forest Notes – These Notes aim to assess forests’ contribution to poverty and economic development, and analyze current and potential underlying drivers of deforestation in order to promote sustainable development at transformational scale.  They identify the potential for ‘forest-smart’ investments and help to streamline and coordinate WBG engagement in the forest and other sectors critical to sustainable forest management and forest-smart development goals (agriculture, energy, mining, etc). Originally envisioned to focus on the why, what and how questions and opportunities around livelihoods, poverty reduction and forest interventions, gender dimensions (the ‘who’) are also now being incorporated for many countries, including Vietnam, Liberia, Mexico, Zambia and Nepal.
  • PRIME – A new framework aimed at identifying investments, policies, projects, and strategies key to sustainable poverty reduction in diverse forest landscapes highlights five key areas – Productivity, Rights, Investments, Markets, and Ecosystem services, or PRIME. Gender considerations play a role in all five, and thus are highlighted as a cross-cutting and critical area to consider within this investment framework. Forest project designers, governments and others can apply it to enhance the role of forest landscapes in poverty alleviation in a more equitable and sustainable manner.

A global exchange of gender-forests information

Just how are forest landscape projects and initiatives addressing gender-related challenges and opportunities? A recent global event was a good place to pose this question to a diverse range of forest agency staff and others working on climate change and forest landscape management challenges. A joint Forest Investment Program (FIP) and Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Knowledge together some 150 participants from over 40 countries in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR on Sept 28, 2017 in conjunction with FIP and FCPF pilot country and country participant reporting and planning meetings. This event focused on knowledge sharing and joint learning on a wide range of topics such as engaging private sector in landscape programs, small and medium-sized forest enterprise financing for sustainable forest management, successes and challenges in combating illegal logging, communicating on REDD+, and gender.

  • A detailed summary of the gender session and many other shared gender-forests resources from the Laos meeting can be found here


  • The gender-forests briefs informed the design and implementation of REDD+ gender-action plans in Cameroon, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, and Uganda, and these countries are inspiring other FCPF and FIP country partners (e.g., Côte d’Ivoire, Lao PDR) to also develop gender-action plans/road maps to increase the involvement of, and benefits to, women and other less empowered peoples from forest-related investments, projects, programs, and policies. 

  • For a new Forest Investment Project in Benin, eight project-specific gender gaps and actions/activities were identified and included in the PAD.

  • In Côte d’Ivoire, a gender analysis informed the design of the DGM, which included several gender gaps, activities, and indicators (i.e., gender tagged) in the PAD based on the TA provided by this program.
  • PROFOR gender knowledge products have influenced FIP/CIF/FCPF/REDD+ Investment Plans/Forest projects in Côte d’Ivoire, Mexico, Uganda, Ghana, and Cameroon.

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Last Updated : 06-20-2020