Forest Management, Women's Rights and REDD+ in Myanmar
In Myanmar, women manage forests and depend on them for their livelihoods, but their tenure over these forests is insecure. Women often have distinct roles in managing forests as compared to men, and therefore also have expert knowledge about forests and different priorities for how forests are managed. Despite their distinct knowledge and priorities, women in Myanmar are under-represented in decision-making processes about forests at all levels.
National commitments, including the National Strategic Plan for the Advancement of Women (NSPAW) and the National Land Use Policy (NLUP) affirm the rights of women to land and the rights to participate in policymaking, land use planning, resource management, and environmental protection. International conventions including CEDAW, UNDRIP, and climate change agreements through the UNFCCC also affirm women’s tenure and management rights over land and forests.
REDD+ must affirm and strengthen women’s rights to land and forests in accordance with these national policies and international commitments. Gender must be considered in all aspects of developing, implementing, and monitoring a national REDD+ programme and strategy. Safeguards must consider gender in order to mitigate the risks that REDD+ poses to women, especially Indigenous women, while the national strategy as a whole must ensure that women will equitably benefit. These goals can only be achieved with the full and effective participation of women, so that women’s knowledge, skills, and priorities will contribute to effective, efficient, and equitable forest management and climate change mitigation.