Gender in the CSA Discourse: Making the case for gender-smartness

The emerging architecture for global efforts on sustainable development is complex and covers a number of competing demands for economic, social and environmental development. More comprehensive than the preceding MDGs, the SDGs attempt to raise the bar on global commitment for real change. While inspirational, this raises the spectre of the well-known “implementation deficit” that has faced national, regional and global policy. Critically, how, finally, will such diverse issues be tackled at the same time and coherently?

In its third working paper, the RIO+ explores the issue of Gender in the context of Climate-smart agriculture and consider the reality of gender, climate and agriculture policy agendas and the challenges to-date in addressing these as part of  broader sustainable and human development imperative.  Through the lens of five countries in Southern Africa, we identify a number of practical and strategic challenges in addressing these individually and more important as part of a package. Gender, agriculture and climate change are still addressed as separate issues, except in a few rare cases. While governments have transitioned to a more comprehensive tackling of development issues, single-issue policy frameworks still dominate. Assessing 30 policies across the five countries, the gap between addressing practical gender needs and strategic gender issues is still significant if narrower. Opportunities have been missed to make CSA fit-for-purpose by employing a more consistent and rigorous gender lens.

Informed by the perceptions from stakeholders who define policy, implement it and benefit from it,  this working paper identifies a number of challenges and opportunities relevant to Gender and Sustainable Development more generally. Accordingly, we release our findings ahead of the upcoming Commission on the Status of Women Meeting and Beijing +20  meeting (scheduled for March 2015) as well as the Financing for Development Conference to be held in Addis Ababa (scheduled for July 2015) hoping to stimulate and inspire a deeper conversation about the Future We Should Have in terms of Gender, Agriculture and Climate Change. Critically, a conversation that has advanced more on the role of gender in environmental policy and less on the role of the environment and NRM in gender policy.

A transformative SDG agenda needs to be more than the sum of its parts. It should also inspire regional and national policy to do likewise.

 Click here to access the working paper

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