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Rio Conventions Pavilion Highlights Progress in Gender Mainstreaming

20 June 2012: The Rio Conventions Pavilion convened for Gender Mainstreaming Day at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). Sessions included: mainstreaming gender in the three Rio Conventions; linking research, policy and practice for gender-responsive action in forestry; political leadership and gender; and a celebration of women's leadership in sustainable development. A special event on the economics of sustainable development also took place.

Michelle Bachelet, UN Women Executive Director, opened Gender Mainstreaming Day noting that the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recognized the importance of gender issues and participation at all levels from the outset, while the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has moved from “gender blindness” to increased awareness and inclusion of gender-sensitive policies. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres noted UNFCCC progress towards gender mainstreaming, including more text references to gender, and a self-imposed accountability team of women to alert the Secretariat to gender-relevant developments in the negotiations.

On gender-responsive action in forestry, panelists discussed, inter alia: understanding obstacles to participation in decision-making at all levels; and amplifying the voice of vulnerable women through adaptive collaborative management, while noting that adaptive collaborative management approaches require long-term engagement and are not conducive to short-term donor projects.

The session celebrating women's leadership in sustainable development recognized several individuals and groups for leading the way towards gender equity and women's empowerment. President Tarja Halonen, Finland, received the President Award for her visionary and pioneering leadership. Rejoice Mabudafhasi, South Africa, and Satu Hassi, Member of European Parliament, received the Vision Award. Benjamin Karmorh, Liberia, received the Leadership Award for being the first to raise the issue of gender from the floor at UNFCCC negotiations. The Arab League of States also received the Leadership Award for action on gender and climate change. Maria José Ortiz, Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), received the Advocacy Award for her work with indigenous communities and WEDO in the UNFCCC process. Feri Lumapao, Aprotech Asia, received the Sustainable Solutions Award for leadership on gender, technology and climate change.

During session on the economics of sustainable development, participants discussed how to transition to a more sustainable development path at a time of global economic recession and political paralysis.

The Pavilion is a collaborative outreach activity of the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions (namely the UNFCCC, the UNCCD and the CBD), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and 25 other international, national and local partners. [IISD RS Coverage of Gender Mainstreaming Day]