Policy makers from Government institutions attend gender-environment economic policy training

Nov 8, 2016

Workshop attendants taking a group picture

While changes in the environment affect everyone, they affect men and women differently. Women’s and girls’ traditional responsibilities as food growers, water and fuel gatherers, and caregivers connect them closely to available natural resources and the climate, making them more likely to be impacted by environmental hardships. To ensure the success of environmental policies and programmes, it is therefore important to identifying and address the needs of women and men, as well as promote women as decision makers. Both men and women have skills and knowledge that can help inform environmental and climate change policy and they are therefore both active agents of change in addressing environmental degradation.

Gender equality is one of Rwanda’s top priorities. The government has put a lot of effort into creating equal opportunities for men and women, and this has earned Rwanda worldwide recognition. But there is scope to deepen the mainstreaming of gender equality principles and approaches particularly in government planning, budgeting and projects.

In view of the importance of gender to issues of poverty reduction and environmental protection, the Rwanda Poverty- Environment Initiative (PEI), a joint program between UNDP and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), organized a training on gender in Musanze, Rwanda from 19 October to 21 October 2016. The overall learning objective of the course was to equip participants with core capabilities in the use of gender-responsive economic approaches for policy development and planning, specifically in the domains of environment, natural resources and climate change.

The training during group discussion on different topics

Twenty participants representing the ministries of finance and planning, environment, agriculture, and social affairs as well as from UNDP and UNEP participated in the training. The training contributed to strengthening the participants’ capacity to connect gender and environment issues and has equipped them with arguments and tools to advance gender-environment mainstreaming in their work.

“Being under the Poverty and Environment Initiative, we are being requested to mainstream gender in whatever we are doing. That is why we invited these planners from government institutions to talk about four main issues which are poverty, environment, climate change and gender. We hope that during the planning and budgeting phases, this very important information about these cross cutting issues, will be considered by these planners,” said Sabiti Fred, the national technical adviser on environment and climate change mainstreaming under PEI in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Finance (MINECOFIN).

During the 3-day training, through different presentations, discussions and group work sessions, the participants learned about the interlinkages between poverty, environment and climate change, and they were equipped with the capacity to use gender-responsive economics and planning approaches in the Rwandan context.

 “The training has brought attention to the interlinkages between the environment, gender and development and shown how crucial it is to take these interlinkages into account when designing policies and indicators,” said Mukankundiye Christine, a participant in the workshop from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Director of Environmental Education and Mainstreaming in the Rwandan Environment Management Authority (REMA), Tushabe Rachael voiced her overall satisfaction with the training. She expressed hope that the knowledge and skills obtained through the workshop would help enhance participants’ motivation to actively engage and support each other to implement the recommendations of the training.

“Taking into consideration the commitment of the participants, it gives me hope that what is in our policy documents, such as gender, environment and climate change for poverty reduction as cross cutting issues, will be implemented and monitored,” Tushabe said.

Poverty, environmental degradation and gender equality are at the heart of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development as they are considered to be among the greatest challenges that face our societies today. There is no doubt that these issues need to be dealt with together and not separately. 

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