Mongolia: Biodiversity and Adaptation of Key Forest Ecosystems to Climate Change II Programme “Promotion of the gender equality in the forestry sector of Mongolia”

Biodiversity and Adaptation of Key Forest Ecosystems to Climate Change II Programme
“Promotion of the gender equality in the forestry sector of Mongolia”

INTRODUCTION

Nomadic Mongolians’ livelihood patterns, their traditions and values, basic economy including labor
division of men and women and their roles within the households and society for centuries have closely
been relied on the climatic conditions and natural resources availability thus, creating a foundation for
shaping of gender relations in the country. Some negative changes have taken place due to climate change
processes and natural resources specifically, desertification and natural resources depletion affected men
and women of all ages both in urban and rural areas as well as various social groups differently. This
phenomenon has facilitated exacerbating of inequalities in the society thus, becoming a major factor in
aggravating critical social challenges including risks in poverty, health dimensions and internal migration
patterns.
The constitution of Mongolia proclaims the equal rights of men and women and the Gender Equality Law
defines the basic principles of gender equality. Although women’s participation in the economic, social
and political life has been increased over the past 20 years, their representation in decision-making level
remains limited. In national level women make up 20% of all staff employed in the environmental sector
and 90% of environment protection staff are men in a village level.

1. PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY

Biodiversity and Adaptation of
Key Forest Ecosystems to
Climate Change Programme
(the programme) have been
implemented in Mongolia since
2012. The overall module of
objective of the initial phase
(2012-2015) of the programme
was the improvement the
political and institutional
frameworks and capacity
building for biodiversity
conservation through protection
and sustainable management of
chosen ecologically significant
areas (key ecosystems) under
consideration of climate change
and the need for improving living conditions of the rural population (women and men). One of the main baseline data was “inexistence of a gender differentiated consideration in use of natural resources”.
In order to increase the income of the rural population, especially women, and equal participation in the
sector, it was important for the programme to establish a legal framework that ensures and supports
gender equality in all level of the sector based on the national gender policy. Furthermore, none of 30
environmental laws and 200 regulations and policies had any gender related inputs.
In 2014, after two years of legislative framework, materials and financials, and institutional capacity
development supports of the programme, Ministry of Environment and Green Development have
approved its sectoral gender strategy which was considered as a pioneer in development of sector-specific
gender strategy initiative amongst other line ministries.
In the second phase of the programme is devoting a special attention to the participation of women and
girls in capacity development, especially in forestry vocational education and in generating value from
natural resources. Because 70% of all single mothers live in rural areas and they face challenge of
securing the livelihood of the family alone. Therefore, women are threatened by destructive usage of
natural resources, loss of biodiversity and climate change.
The conservation of forest through sustainable forest management, which ensures the ecologic, economic
and social functions of the forest is the main focus of the programme. The programme estimates that to
establish/implement the clean forest concept and sustainable forest management of Mongolia, in overall 6
thousand professional foresters are required. But annually, less than a hundred foresters are graduating
from universities and vocational training centers in national level. In this context, Memorandums of
cooperation was signed with 4 Vocational Training Schools, which located in northern part of Mongolia,
to prepare forestry workers. The programme’s main objective in the forestry vocational education is to
ensure balanced gender ratio among the trainees, i.e. at least 40% women.
Once a year a gender sensitive open door
event at one of the partner vocational
training school is organised. During this
event, female students of the forestry
classes perform moderation of forestry tools
and equipment. The main idea of the event
is to provide inspiration to young girls and
women, and to show that forestry is no
longer masculine sector. Thanks to modern
technologies and new inventions, forestry
equipments and tools that supposed to be
too heavy and difficult to use for women
were remodelled and changed.

2. GENDER AS A QUALITY FEATURE OF OUR WORK

The GIZ programme’s participation in the strategy
development is highly recognised by other ministries,
civil society organizations and international donors in
the country. Presently, Ministry of Justice and Ministry
of Finance are working to develop their sector specific
gender strategies and the programme’s officers are
often seeked and invited for the workshop and
seminars for inputs and recommendations.
Under the gender and forestry sector title, the
programme officers were invited to television
interviews, and published newspaper articles
directed to the general public. Furthermore, in
Bulgan province of Mongolia, the first-ever tree
garden for female foresters was established by
the programme with initiation of the local
governor’s office.

3. GENDER AND RBM

The programme contribution to enhancing gender equality of the environmental sector have been
documented on the DMS since 2012.

4. COOPERATION

The environmental sector’s genderresponsive policy planning and
management process was joint and
inclusive task that ensured participation of
women and men in prioritizing and
solving of sectoral issues at all levels,
improving the efficiency of the policy
implementation, its impacts and
sustainability as well as its cost-efficiency.

Gender equality and environmental
concerns are both cross-sectoral and both
are equally relevant towards all of the
policy planning processes and their
implementation at all levels. Therefore,
they require common understanding,
agreed approach, meaningful participation of all critical stakeholders and improved capacities and
expertise.

During the development of the strategy, the working group organized individual and group meetings and
thematic consultations (on climate change, desertification, forest and water issues) with policy makers as
well as civil society representatives in order
to identify gender concerns of the sector.

These efforts enabled the team to identify
opportunities of mainstreaming gender in the
sectoral policy planning and activities,
pursue gender-responsive agenda in line with
the local development plans and within the
priority areas of actions as well as reveal
some challenges for further solution.
The adopted gender strategy (2014) is
recognized in the international level due to
its fulfilment of the Rio Convention
(supports active participation of women in
action against biodiversity loss, climate change impact and desertification), the Convention on the
Biological Biodiversity (focuses on promotion of gender equality to achieve objectives of the
convention), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (recognizes the importance of
rural women in improving livelihood and sustainability of ecosystem) and the United Nations Framework
Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The major challenge during the development of the strategy was instability of the Government of
Mongolia. In 2014, due to the budget deficit, the Mongolian Parliament has decided to dissolve and
merge some ministries and intergovernmental organizations. As the result Tourism Department of the
former Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism has merged with the MEGD and the ministry was renamed
as the Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism (MEGDT) which led to increased
workload and additional responsibilities to the ministries staff.

Three key successes were: skilled and professional GIZ team, a demand for the sector specific gender
strategy and a female minister of EGDT of 2014. Teamwork and professionalism were one of the main
success factors. Secondly, there was already demand for not only for the strategy but for the sectoral
gender situation analysis because very few researches were conducted since 1990. The Ministry of
Environment and Green development was headed by a female minister, Ms. Oyun.S, who was the
President of the United Nations Environmental Assembly during the strategy development.

Bilguun Erdenebat and Chuluuntsetseg Dagvadorj

Biodiversity and Adaptation of Key Forest Ecosystems to Climate Change II Programme
GIZ Mongolia

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