At CBD COP15 (Fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity), women have made history: for the first time, a Rio Convention adopted a stand-alone target on gender equality in addition to a strong Gender Plan of Action.

The UNCBD Women’s Caucus have spent the last two weeks advocating for policy to conserve the remaining biodiversity for women, girls, and future generations. Embedding gender equality in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework is a significant step toward equity, equality, and sustainability for people and nature.

  1. In the Kunming-Montreal GBF, the UNCBD Women’s Caucus counts many  achievements. Gender equality and intergenerational equity are guides for its implementation. This is part of the recognition that the new framework should be implemented with a human rights-based approach, including the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable development. 
  2. Particular targets on the Kunming-Montreal GBF open avenues for justice: Gender equality and women and girls empowerment (Target 23), access to justice and protection to defenders (Target 20), gender-responsive of representation and participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in decision-making (Target 22), and the recognition of Indigenous and traditional territories (Target 3), Participatory spatial planning (Target 1), inclusion of Agroecology as a strategy for sustainable production (Target 10),  and recognition of Mother Earth-centric actions and non-market-based approaches when it comes to resource mobilization (Target 19). 
  3. The Post-2020 Gender Plan of Action, which will guide Parties’ gender-responsive effective implementation of biodiversity policies at national and local levels, have concrete objectives and actions to ensure women’s rights to land and access to natural resources, address gender-based violence linked to environment, guarantee women’s effective, equitable, and full participation in decision-making, as well as allocating adequate human and financial resources to support rights-based gender-responsiveness and strengthening the evidence base, understanding and analysis of the gender-related impacts. 
  4. Regarding the Cartagena Protocol, when it comes to the Assessment and review of the effectiveness of the Protocol, the Parties are encouraged “to consider IPLCs, gender, women, youth and a human rights-based approach in their national biosafety frameworks”. However, this approach must be mainstreamed in all COP 15 decisions.
  5. With respect to the Nagoya Protocol, the decision to enhance its implementation within the context of the Kunming-Montreal GBF opens endless possibilities for mainstreaming gender equality. Nevertheless, there is a big need for a gender-responsive  analysis to show how women and girls have been or have not benefited from the utilization of genetic resources.

Call for action and accountable implementation

Therefore, the UNCBD Women’s Caucus considers the following must-haves or non-negotiable:

  1. Avoid false solutions like  biodiversity offsets and credits with long-term severe negative consequences
  2. Secure financial support and direct access to resources for women, and allocate specific and sufficient funding for implementing the Post-2020 Gender Plan of Action
  3. Document, recognize, monitor  and measure the contributions of women and girls  to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, including through the collection of disaggregated data.

“The UNCBD Women’s Caucus has done its work to ensure COP 15 is a transformative moment for women, girls and biodiversity,” UNCBD Women’s Caucus Co-coordinator Amelia Arreguin said. “We acknowledge the support of Parties that have championed the gender issue. Now, Parties are responsible for implementing the gender-responsive Kunming-Montreal GBF and the opportunity to work in close collaboration with civil society, women’s organizations and networks and others to ensure gender equality in biodiversity,” she added.

Some UNCBD Women’s Caucus members at the plenary in the wee hours of 19 December, waiting for the adoption of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

Hybrid debriefing of the UNCBD Women’s Caucus after the post-2020 global biodiversity framework was adopted

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