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Phase 2: Strategic planning
This phase gives a better understanding of the main forestry issues by locating them in the context of national development.
It includes different activities:
1) preliminary analysis (review of the current situation, identification of major problems, immediate actions);
2) in-depth sector analysis (specific studies, options);
3) strategic analysis (development and analysis of scenarios, selecting a scenario), and
4) formulation of the sustainable forestry development programme.
To ensure the success of this fundamental phase, precise terms of reference must be drawn up for all partners involved. The mandate should stress the prime importance of role differences between men and women. It should envisage the participation of individuals and interest groups, as well as experts and consultants, drawn from different backgrounds to guarantee that all social, political, economic and environmental aspects are effectively covered.
The persons responsible for the structures chosen to guide and co-ordinate the planning process must be sensitive to the gender issues (for example, through training in gender analysis) and convinced of the absolute priority of integrating the female dimension in forest programmes. The other partners must also be aware of the importance of these issues (for example, through workshops, see box below).
To encourage the participation of all the partners identified, use should be made of a wide range of participatory methods and techniques (for example, the Participatory Rural Appraisal - PRA, the Rapid Rural Appraisal - PRA, etc.), as well as the Socioeconomic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA). Thanks to such techniques, it is possible to systematically identify and analyse all issues taking into account the gender dimension and involving institutions, organisations and individuals. It is important to take advantage of local technical know-how, identify available resources and collect all types of gender-differentiated information.
Many documents have been written on gender issues in development in general and in forestry in particular. Reading these documents could be extremely useful. The box below contains a non-exhaustive list of international organisations concerned specifically with the integration of women,
Workshop on the female dimension in the Central American Forest Programme
In 1992 the Consejo Consultativo Mujer y Desarrollo (Consultative Council on Women and Development), in collaboration with the regional Central American Forest Programme and the Nicaragua Forest Programme, and with the assistance of several international donor agencies, organised the first regional workshop on 'Gender Considerations in Forestry Development Projects'. The workshop brought together representatives from NGOs, governments, donors and the Sub-Regional Steering Committee of the Central American Forest Programme. The workshop led to a series of resolutions which include:
Reference documents on women in development, particularly in forestry
Gender Analysis and Forestry Training Package and FAO Forestry Resource Packet on Gender Analysis, FAO, Rome, 1996.
Integrating Gender Considerations into FAO Forestry Projects, FAO, Rome, 1993.
Women in Community Forestry: a field guide for project design and implementation, FAO, Rome, 1989.
Restoring the Balance: Women and Forest Resources, FAO, Rome, 1987.
Development Policy and Strategy in favour of Rural Women, by Le Magadoux, A., FAO, Rome, 1994
The Gender Information Framework: a pocket guide. USAID, Office of Women in Development, Washington D.C., 1989.
Gender Analysis Framework for Forestry Development, by Wilde, V.L. and Vainio-Mattila, A., FAO, Rome, 1992.
Field Manual on Gender Analysis and Forestry, by Vainio-Mattila, A. and Wilde, V.L., FAO, Rome, 1992.
Socio-economic Gender Analysis, User's Reference Book (draft), FAO, Rome, 1996.
Socio-economic Gender Analysis Field Manual
(draft), by Wilde, V.L., FAO, Rome, 1997.
Selected international organisations dealing with gender considerations in the forestry sector
FAO (in particular the Community Forestry Unit and the
'Sustainable Development Dimension' service)
1) Preliminary Analysis
This analysis is usually co-ordinated by the National Coordinating Unit and executed by a small multi-disciplinary team that collects and processes the information. The mandate of each single member should explicitly state that the analysis must take into account gender-specific considerations. It is particularly important as this phase leads to the identification of the major forestry problems that will subsequently be dealt with in forest programmes.
Ideally, all analysis should be based on quantitative and qualitative information distinguishing men and women. Gender-differentiated studies are not always easily found, either because they simply do not exist or because of bad inter-sectoral communication. For example, studies of women may have been carried out by an NGO or by a governmental body but their results not published. One should therefore pay attention to all sources of information, in particular that which shows a special interest in men-women issues. It is therefore useful to join up with other sectors (for example, the office or ministry responsible for women) in the early days of the analysis. This would permit the retrieval of useful information and also help establish a healthy spirit of cooperation.
In the review of the current situation, the themes to consider from a gender perspective include:
the demographic situation in forest areas
the health and economic conditions of the people living in these areas
the ownership and control of resources (legislation, customary rights, agrarian policies, use of resources, etc.)
production modes and infrastructures (markets, extension, transport, commercial potential, etc.)
forms of popular organisation (NGO, association)
services and access to services (education, training, health, credit, etc.)
local knowledge and practices. (11)
Special emphasis will be placed on questions to do with "the way in which (forest resources) are managed, who owns them, how and to what extent they are used and by whom" (8; p.35).
In fact, these fundamental questions for the evaluation of the status of forest resources can only have reliable answers if aspects related to access to resources and benefits, their ownership and their management and control differentiate the place, role and status of women as well as men.
The review of the current situation leads to the identification of the major problems in this sector, which is decisive for the rest of the process. In putting together teams responsible for this aspect, it is worth calling on people who are competent in gender issues. Problems such as the need for legislative reform or the social functions of forests must be addressed in the context of gender.
Finally, analysis and evaluation can identify the need for immediate action to reinforce capacities, reform policies, laws and institutions or other sectors. In this respect, training in gender issues is probably indispensable at the institutional level,
Participatory methods and national forest programmes
By using participatory methods such as Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) or the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) it becomes possible to:
2) In-Depth Sector Analysis
A number of critical points and sectors may call for further analysis through specific studies. Normally, it is the National Coordination Unit which is responsible for the supervision of these studies. They call for making maximum use of participatory research and diagnostic techniques to harness the points of view of peoples, institutions, etc. Further, these participatory techniques offer the possibility of collecting gender-differentiated information from a wide range of actors. This ensures respect for the basic principle of forestry programmes, namely participation.
Gender-related considerations must be confronted in a systematic fashion in all specific studies, and this should be explicitly referred to in the terms of reference of these studies. In most cases, a special study of the gender issue in the forest sector can be extremely useful. It can serve as a basic reference document for subsequent discussion, for example in workshops. This special study can also serve to sensitize decision-makers and planners to the gender issue.
Given the role of women in many of the sectors in question, special attention should be given to themes and issues such as:
evaluation of forest resources: it is important to consider all forest-related activities (craftwork, firewood, collection of food in periods of crisis or "lean season", pharmaceutical products, complementary income, etc.);
ownership and use: this is an aspect that determines the way resources are managed and thus affects the sustainability of development. Ownership and use have an impact on investment, extraction methods, practices of utilisation and behaviour patterns that promote the protection, conservation and renewal of natural resources.
biodiversity: women hold the key to many agricultural systems related to food and livelihood security through their roles in the selection and use of plants and trees, and in the conservation and reproduction of biological diversity. They have valuable knowledge regarding local species and ecosystems. Women have specialised knowledge of the value and diverse uses of wild species and varieties that can serve as food in times of shortage (leaves, fruit, berries, nuts, roots, etc.) or that can meet health needs.4
4 Based on the document Women - users, preservers and managers of agro-biodiversity', Dossier, Women - The Key to Food Security, Women and Population Division, FAO, 1996.
Thanks to specific studies, it is possible to better understand the problems and therefore envisage different types of response. At the point of identifying options, one should be particularly careful to foresee the impact of whichever solution is proposed, whether for women or men.
3) Strategic Analysis
This phase includes the design and analysis of scenarios that envisage different development alternatives for the sector. Each alternative should be well-documented and include a description of the necessary inputs and expected impact.
For the analysis to be comprehensive, it is necessary to estimate the impact of each planned action on different social groups, and in particular on men and women separately. The Socioeconomic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) is particularly useful at this stage. Tools for conducting this analysis at the different organisational levels of society (micro, intermediate, macro) can be found in the SEAGA handbooks (in preparation). It is crucial to understand the extent to which reforms (of policy, legislation, institutions) will have an impact on different groups of the population (and thus on men and on women).
For example, in order to facilitate the access of people to economic opportunities in the forestry sector, a number of possible alternatives exist in terms of credit policy. One possibility could be to develop a credit policy to increase lending for small enterprises, but which does nothing to mitigate conditions that constrain women from having access to credit. Another option could be to opt for a credit policy targeted at women (favouring activities and resources which women are likely to control or benefit from, leaving the existing division of resources and responsibilities intact). A third option could be to choose a credit policy targeted at women, accompanied by changes in legislation giving women rights to property and control over household resources. Obviously, the scope and impact of new policies can have very different consequences.5
5 Example based on Macro Handbook of SEAGA, Draft FAO, Rome 1997
Participation in workshops, seminars, national and/or international consultations is an opportunity for all partners to offer comments and observations regarding scenarios. This implies involving representatives of governments, institutions, private enterprise, NGOs, associations and indigenous groups, not to mention women's groupings. Special techniques may be necessary to encourage the active participation of groups that are normally marginalised (indigenous and women's groups, for example).
After this analysis of scenarios effected in various types of meetings, it is necessary to move on to the selection of a scenario, taking into account different determinant criteria such as sustainable development, effectiveness and equity.
4) Formulation of the Sustainable Forestry Development Programme
The final stage of the strategic planning phase calls for the formulation of a) a forest policy statement; b) a strategy; c) an action plan.
a) The forest policy statement sets out the framework within which all forest activities of a country must be carried out. It must be consistent with the National Development Plan and thus with the most global macro-economic realities that influence the use, conservation and management of forest resources, as well as with the national declaration on women. It must also be in line with all national policies, including those in favour of women or disadvantaged sectors. Contact should be made with the Ministry of Women's Affairs or the office responsible for women's affairs with a view to collecting information and ensuring that forest policy is coherent with these other policies. The national action plan of a country drawn up for the Beijing Conference on Women (1995) could also be useful.
b) The strategy outlines in concrete terms how, when and by whom the objectives of the forest policy will be achieved. The fields of priority action are also established (for example, institutional reform). In the light of the local situation and needs, one could opt for the integration of the gender dimension in all planned strategies or for the development of a special strategy in favour of women.
However, there is still the question of whether it is preferable to i) integrate women as equal partners with the other beneficiaries of integrated projects, ii) include a "women's component" in all strategies, or iii) adopt a specific women's strategy. There are no easy or generic answers to this type of question. Each individual case has conditions to be respected and dangers to be avoided. However, no matter which type of strategy is chosen, it is essential:
to favour the appearance of women on the economic and social scene;
to create a dialogue between men and women within existing social structures.
i) One could choose to integrate women in the strategy, but to do nothing specific for them, in order not to marginalize them. This solution could be the fairest as women and men are considered as equal. However, it does not take into account the barriers encountered by women who usually have a heavier workload than men and have other constraints related to their low schooling rate, absence of training, lack of the habit of participating, etc. Ignoring these obstacles can often leave women on the sidelines, even though the aim is to involve all social actors. It is therefore essential that women be explicitly identified as beneficiaries in any strategy. At the same time, it is important to remember that women do not constitute a homogeneous group: they differ not only socially but also by age, marital status, religion, etc., all factors to be taken into account. It is also important to recognise local conditions (status, roles, etc. of women and men) and to evaluate the impact of strategies on women's living conditions (developing indicators to measure results).
ii) Strategies with a "women's component": they could include a specialised service for women's activities from the outset or which could subsequently be grafted on to the strategy if the need arises. The conditions for the successful integration of women are the same as those presented in the preceding paragraph. This type of "women's component" runs the risk of paying insufficient attention to the economic role of women, limiting itself to their social role.
iii) Specific women's strategies: these respond to women's real and felt needs in their own fields of activity. The beneficiaries can often be women who belong to already existing women's groups or who become members of groups specifically set up for the purposes of the project. On the one hand, the outcome could be positive since women would be able to acquire decision-making and negotiating capacities, but on the other negative since these capacities may not be recognised in a global and social context. In this sense, certain conflicts between men's and women's interests regarding forest resources are not confronted and remain on the table6.
6 This section on the different strategies is drawn from "The Position of women in Rural Development Projects. The Agricultural Intensification Project in Gikongoro, Rwanda", by Odile Verny, FAO, Rome, 1993.
c) The Action Plan spells out the activities necessary for the implementation of the strategy. It includes reforms to be implemented (credit, legislation, etc.) and programmes to realise (reforestation, social forestry, etc.). It should also clearly deal with the issue of capacity building.
Special attention should be put on the following:
the need for training in gender, in the framework of national capacity building;
the involvement of partners representing women's interests;
the design of reforms (laws, institutions, etc.) and the setting up of mechanisms to ensure equal access to resources;
the impact of the plan on women and men in the social, economic and environmental spheres.
Finally, it is important that the forest development programme resulting from this phase7:
increases the participation of women in decision-making regarding the management of local forest resources.
strengthens the bodies responsible for forestry so that they can effectively support rural women and men in the planning and management of forestry activities.
develops an appreciation for socio-economic and gender analysis, participatory planning methods and inter-sectoral cooperation within bodies responsible for forestry.
envisages the review of curricula in forestry training institutions and develops practical field-level training and extension materials.
provides opportunities for the training of women in technical skills concerned with forestry.
develops policy incentives to ensure that all tenural arrangements in forestry activities aim to provide women the same access as men to land and/or tree resources.
promotes information exchange with other groups and institutions using similar approaches at national and international level, as well as creating group networks.
7 Adapted from FAO, 1993. women and Forestry. Gender Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region. Secretariat Note, Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission 1 5th Session. Colombo, Sri Lanka, 9-13 August 1993, pp. 6.
The following table presents the different stages in strategic planning in the context of gender-specific considerations.
Gender Considerations in Strategic Planning
a) review of the current situation
a) Existing (secondary) data on
the status of resources (who owns them, uses them, takes
decisions about their management, etc.).
Gender-differentiated data are particularly useful and
necessary. Review legislation, policy instruments,
practices, policies, institutions, etc. in a gender
perspective. Review national capacities: what is the
expertise in gender issues?
Contact ministries responsible for
women's issues as well as those concerned by gender
issues (planning, agriculture, economy, etc.) Contact
NGOs, which are often organised in federations and have
"women and development" working groups. It is
worth noting that many countries have an
inter-ministerial "women and development"
network co-ordinated by the ministry responsible for
women and a multilateral inter-agency committee.
b) identification of major
b) Need for reforms of policies,
laws, institutions; potential of forest resources;
conservation needs; social functions of forests, impact
of extraction, etc. All aspects should be covered taking
gender issues into account.
National accounting (data on
economic the contribution of forests, etc.)
c) immediate actions
c) Immediate actions: capacity
building in gender issues, reforms, urgent action.
The participatory tools as RA and
PRA are useful in the multi-partner identification of
a) specific studies
a) precise diagnosis of the major
problems in the light of gender considerations.
Involvement of all actors
in the diagnosis, analysis and search for solutions.
Eventual use can be made of existing participatory
techniques and tools (PRA, RA, PRA, etc.).The SEAGA Field
Handbook can be extremely useful.
b) possible solutions and their
differentiated impact on men and women.
a) design and analysis of
a) for the range of forest
development alternatives: expected impact on men and
women; analysis of the human resources (men and women);
National and international
consult-a/ions, roundtables, workshops: it is important
to programme the participation of gender experts and
women in the working teams.
b) choice of a scenario
b) choice also based on gender
All the tools connected with
strategic analysis (definition of scenarios,
cost-efficiency analysis, etc.) will contain a gender
Formulation of the
national forest programme
a) Forest Policy Statement
a) harmonisation with the national
development plan and taking into account the National
Participation of the ministry or
office responsible for women's affairs; other ministries
and public structures with a view to studying sectoral
strategies having aspects related to gender.
b) Long-term Strategy
b) development of strategies with
a "women's component" or a specific strategy in
favour of women, or a "unique" gender based
c) Action Plan
c) aspects related to training,
participation and impact.
What is the Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis?
The Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis (SEAGA) is an approach to development based on an analysis of socio-economic patterns and participatory identification of women's and men's priorities and opportunities.
"Socio-economic analysis" refers to the study of the environmental, economic, social and institutional patterns that form the context of development, as well as the interaction between these factors. "Gender analysis" refers to the study of the different social roles of women and men with a view to understand better what they do, what resources they possess and their needs and priorities.
The marriage between "socio-economic analysis" and "gender analysis" permits a realistic look at the development challenge - taking into account socio-economic factors at different levels of social organisation and from the points of view of different people.
The analysis covers three levels: the macro level (national and international institutions, policies and programmes), the intermediate level (institutions and services that serve as intermediaries between the macro and field levels), the micro (field) level (households and individuals).
FAO's SEAGA Programme provides methodologies and participatory tools for analysis (handbooks will be soon available for each level) and develops training materials in socioeconomic and gender analysis which can be easily adapted to all types of situation.
from the SEAGA Field Handbook, draft version)
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