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September 2003

Socio-economic and gender sensitive indicators in the management of natural resources

In spite of the many recent UN system-wide commitments and mandates to evaluate progress made in gender mainstreaming, an assessment of the current status of socio-economic and gender-sensitive indicators (GSI) in the management of natural resources revealed an almost complete lack of practical experience in this area. Not surprisingly, there was a disappointingly low level of gender-sensitive monitoring of natural resource management projects. To fill these knowledge gaps, this paper develops GSI indicators through the identification of GSI factors that put differential pressure on the management and use of natural resources. A core set of GSI indicators was arrived at, based on in situ field verifications of the management of agrobiodiversity in Nepal and of reclaimed lands in Egypt, combining both qualitative and quantitative data sources. Wide in scope and application possibilities, GSI indicators can be used to monitor the impact of a specific project, but could also expand to include monitoring of whether and how the relationship between women and men and their natural resources evolves and changes over time. Thus, the systematic monitoring of GSI indicators will allow the formulation of more sustainable, efficient and effective development response, in this way making their contribution towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

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