EGM/WPSD/1996/REP.1 19 December 1996 United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women; Division for Sustainable Development; United Nations Population Fund; and the International Training and Research Institute for the Advancement of Women Expert Group Meeting on Women, Population and Sustainable Development: The Road from Rio, Cairo and Beijing Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 18-22 November 1996 REPORT United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development 2 United Nations Plaza, DC2-12th Floor New York, N.Y. 10017, USA Fax: (212) 963-3463 Web location: http://www.un.org/dpcsd/daw E-mail: email@example.com CONTENTS Paragraphs Introduction............................................... 1 - 4 Part One I. ORGANIZATION OF WORK........................... 5 - 13 A. Attendance................................. 6 B. Documentation.............................. 7 C. Adoption of the agenda..................... 8 D. Election of officers....................... 9 E. Opening statements......................... 10 - 13 Part Two II. SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION....................... 14 - 55 A. Background................................. 14 - 55 III. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS................. 56 - 95 A. Conclusions................................... 56 - 71 Gender...................................... 56 - 58 Relationships between gender, population and sustainable development..................... 59 - 61 Relationship between global and local issues of sustainable development..................... 62 - 65 Women in decision making...................... 66 - 71 B. Recommendations.................................. 72 - 95 Annexes Pages I. List of participants................................ 20 - 24 II. List of documents................................... 25 - 26 III. Agenda and organization of work..................... 27 - 29 INTRODUCTION 1. In the last decade of the twentieth century the United Nations has organized a series of global conferences and summits that have sought to frame the development challenges in an era of rapid social, economic and political change. The international community has examined successively the integration of environment and development at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio, human rights and development at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, the World Summit on Social Development (WSSD) in Copenhagen, the Fourth World Conference on Women (FWCW), the Second International Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul and the World Food Summit in Rome. 2. Following the Beijing Conference, the Commission on the Status of Women decided to consider the critical area of concern, women and the environment, at its forty-first session in 1997 as part of its review of the implementation of the Platform for Action adopted at the Beijing Conference. In the preparation for the Commission's discussions, this Expert Group Meeting was held to explore the subject of women, population and sustainable development. The Secretary- General of the United Nations will take the recommendations of the Expert Group into account in reporting to the Commission on the Status of Women, which will in turn express its views and make recommendations to the Commission for Sustainable Development in connexion with the five-year review of the implementation of Agenda 21 which will take place in a special session of the General Assembly in June 1997. 3. The Expert Group focused its attention on the UNCED, ICPD and the FWCW and in particular their discussions of the interlinkages of sustainable development, population and the roles of women. The agreements reached at these three conferences reflected an evolving understanding within the international community of these interlinkages, and in particular of the concept of gender and its practical application to issues of sustainable development and population. 4. The Expert Group Meeting offered an opportunity to re-examine relationships between women, sustainable development and population, at a critical juncture in the review of implementation of Agenda 21 in light of Cairo and Beijing, and to look closely at the integration of conference agreements in strategies for sustainable and equitable development including population stabilization. Part One I. ORGANIZATION OF WORK 5. The Expert Group Meeting on "Women, Population and Sustainable Development: the road from Rio to Cairo to Beijing" was held at INSTRAW, Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic from 18-22 November, 1996. It was jointly sponsored by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development; the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development; the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). A. Attendance 6. The meeting was attended by seven experts from all regions, and nine observers, two from the UN system, three from non-governmental organizations and two from Member States and two from an Observer State (see annex I). B. Documentation 7. The documentation of the Meeting was comprised of two background papers prepared by consultants, and six expert's papers (see annex II). C. Adoption of the agenda 8. At its first plenary meeting on 18 November 1996, the Meeting adopted the provisional agenda. The topics of the agenda were as follows: A. Conceptual and methodological aspects of crucial links between population and sustainable development from a gender perspective with emphasis on women's role in decision-making at all levels. B. Policy perspectives on implementation of recommendations from Rio, Cairo and Beijing on women, population and sustainable development. C. Framework for a gender-sensitive integrated approach to the implementation of recommendations of Rio, Cairo and Beijing on women, population and sustainable development: concepts, levels and types of interventions, priorities and cost and benefits. D. Election of officers 9. At the first plenary meeting the following officers were elected to the Bureau: Chairperson: Ms. Maria Onestini Argentina Rapporteur : Ms. Rachel Kyte United Kingdom E. Opening statements 10. In her opening statement, Ms. Martha Due¤as-Loza, Acting Director of the International Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, welcomed the participants in the Expert Group Meeting to the Dominican Republic, and to INSTRAW. She noted the importance of focusing on a better understanding of the relationship between gender, population and sustainable development at a time when economic growth models have resulted in increased inequality and poverty and environmental degradation to the particular detriment of women who constitute the bulk of the poor. She noted that INSTRAW had a long history of work - since 1982 - in the field of women and natural resources management. She highlighted INSTRAW's work in training for policy purposes in areas of women and environmental management, particularly in the areas of water supply and sanitation, waste management, and new and renewable sources of energy, and invited the participants to learn more of the work of the Institute in this field. 11. In her opening statement, Ms. Kristen Timothy, Deputy Director of the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women welcomed all participants and stated the objective of the meeting to be to examine the crucial links between population and sustainable development from a gender perspective as an input to the work of the Commission on the Status of Women when it meets in March 1997 for its discussion of the critical area of concern from the Beijing Platform for Action, "Women and Environment". She drew attention to the provisions of the Platform for Action in this area and noted that the experts were being invited to elaborate a framework for sustainable development planning with an integrated approach for the implementation of recommendations from Rio, Cairo and Beijing in terms of concepts, levels of intervention, costs and benefits and priorities for action, as well as to make recommendations on how to mainstream a gender perspective in activities related to population and sustainable development. 12. Ms. Ana Angarita-Noguera, Technical Officer, Gender, Population and Development Branch, UNFPA stated in opening that at the International Conference on Population and Development, the international community agreed that population and development are intrinsically related and that all strategies for sustainable development should incorporate not only a population component, but also one of gender relations. UNFPA has always put women at the centre of its population and development efforts. The agreement that reproductive rights are basic human rights and critical to women's empowerment has resulted in a modification of a purely demographic vision of population and sustainable development and led to a more all-embracing vision in which individual needs and aspirations become the basis of sustainable development policies and programmes. 13. In his opening statement, Mr. Ralph Chipman, Senior Sustainable Development Officer, Division for Sustainable Development, noted that the Commission on Sustainable Development was preparing for the Special Session of the General Assembly to be held in June 1997 to review the implementation of Agenda 21 and the other commitments of the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development. The Commission, at its April 1997 session, would review its initial five-year work programme and define a new work programme for the future, taking into account the results of subsequent conferences, notably the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development and the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women. While the first five-year programme had been very broad in scope, covering all of the issues addressed in Agenda 21, it would be desirable to focus the future work programme on priority issues and minimize duplication with the follow-up programmes for the other conferences. The Expert Group could contribute to that effort by making recommendations to the Commission on Sustainable Development concerning policies and programmes to address critical issues of gender, population and sustainable development. Part Two II. SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION A. Background 14. It was stressed by the Group that Rio, Cairo and Beijing recognized that the major causes of unsustainable development are the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production engendered by the current development model and hastened by globalization. Addressing this problem should include undertaking a systematic reflection, within a human rights framework, of gender, population and development interlinkages in order to rectify the development model in favour of greater equality and equity and sustainable development. 15. Women and their movements have had an impact on the understanding of gender and its interlinkages through the conference processes. Agenda 21 at the earliest stages of UNCED, contained no mention of women and no gender approach. By the end of the UNCED or Earth Summit there were over 140 references to women, but still no gender approach. The bulk of those references were within the chapter on women as a major group (chapter 24 of the Agenda 21). The major groups concept, which was important for the involvement of business alongside NGOs, was rejected by most women's groups as contrary to a full understanding of the gender approach. 16. The debate on the relationships between population and consumption and production patterns did not fully take place in Rio. Further, the discussion on family planning was narrow and polarized and the result was heavily qualified language on the rights of couples and individuals, containing caveats on "dignity and personally held values and taking into account ethical and cultural considerations". The focus in Rio was also on ethical behaviour as opposed to basic human rights. The ethical approach proved problematic for many, including women, as the question of whose ethics became the issue. It was the view of many participants, particularly women, that the universality of human rights standards could not be replaced by a universally accepted ethical standard of behaviour in areas as subjective as the environment or sexual and reproductive behaviour. 17. In Cairo the "and women" approach that had prevailed at UNCED was replaced with the beginnings of convergence on issues of gender equality and equity. These issues went on to become central at Beijing. However, in both Cairo and Beijing it seemed easier for participants to discuss gender in relation to women's reproductive roles, rather than in relation to their productive roles, in many cases glossing over the critical interlinkages between the two. 18. The ICPD Programme of Action took major steps to endorse a new paradigm of population and development - one that shifted the population debate away from a focus on demographic concerns and targets to one that put the well-being of men and women at the centre of sustainable development. It underscored the imperative of gender equality and equity by declaring that there can be no sustainable development without the full participation of women. It focused on the importance of women's empowerment and established a new framework for family planning, in the context of reproductive and sexual health. 19. Cairo began to tackle the population, consumption and production relationships. The critical language of paragraphs 3.16 1/and 3.22 2/ which stated the balance between these issues and their interrelationships were politically essential in unlocking agreement on difficult issues in the chapters on reproductive rights and health and mortality. The delicate North-South balance in Cairo was, simply stated, achieved by a recognition by the North of the contribution of consumption and production issues in perpetuating the global crises and inequalities, with new language on balancing curbs on development with the "right to development", with strong language extending understanding of basic human rights to include reproductive rights, and a partial caveat on the principle of universality of human rights. 20. Cairo coming after Rio, but also significantly after the Vienna Conference on Human Rights with its landmark agreements on human rights of women, and in particular its attention to all forms of violence against women in the public and private spheres, made it possible to talk in a new way about grounding population-related development policies clearly in the context of women's human rights. Critical to the discussion of reproductive health was the argument that family planning is necessary but not sufficient. 21. Beijing, however, accepted the human rights framework in its entirety and the caveat on universality was removed. The Beijing Platform for Action included the issue of women and environment among the twelve critical areas of concern and provided further analysis of development from a gender perspective. In Beijing the women's agenda became a gender agenda based on the evolution of conceptual thinking about development as well as on the changes that had taken place in the women's movement and the different space occupied by women around the world. 22. The discussion of the experts was facilitated by two background papers prepared by consultants. The theses proposed in the background papers provided a framework within which the participants were able to analyse and discuss some of the most intricate aspects of the interlinkages between women, population and sustainable development, as evolved through the three conferences under discussion. 23. One of the background papers, on "Gender, Population and Sustainability: Critical Problems and Unresolved Issues" in particular, recognized that discussion on the issues of the Expert Group Meeting had been stymied in the past by lack of clarity and multiple perceptions of the key concepts of gender, sustainable development and population. This was noted by the participants and clarified by them in their discussions. Experts agreed with United Nations usage that gender refers to the socially constructed roles played by women and men that are ascribed to them on the basis of their sex. 24. The experts were quick to recognize that the concept of gender and its application to issues of sustainable development and population had evolved through the three conferences under consideration as discussed above. They agreed that new perspectives and agreement on the interrelationship between gender, sustainable development and population as developed in Cairo and Beijing should bring new light to strategies for implementation of Agenda 21 and in particular for taking decisions on priorities for future work to be decided by the Special Session of the General Assembly to review Agenda 21 in 1997. 25. The central premise in the background paper on gender, population and sustainability -- that there are critical global environmental challenges to sustainability which have no immediate technological or socio-political solution, and that, in contrast to many local issues of sustainability, these critical global issues do not have a significant gender dimension, became a central question for discussion. 26. While the experts welcomed the sense of political priority attached to the critical global issues, they felt that the relationships between the local and the global were more complex, and that indeed, not enough was known about the gender dimensions of those interlinkages. 27. The paper noted that as a result of globalization, even the most organized communities, with women having positive impact on natural resource management and sustainability at the local level, can be negated by the economic and social impact of global economic forces. The experts acknowledged that the concentration of decision-making authority in the globalized economy, and the growing inequities between and within countries as a result of the predominant market-led economic model, may further marginalize women. 28. The paper called for more importance to be placed on the environment agenda by the international "women's movement". It noted that women had been seen conventionally as the primary victims at the local level of environmental changes and degradation, that they had been seen as having a primary role as reproducers in demographic growth and transition, that they were traditionally viewed as efficient environmental managers, and by some to be inherently predisposed to more environmentally-friendly behaviour. Experts expressed concern that the focus on the women's movement once again placed responsibility on women for change. It was noted that the success of women's organizations in bringing about significant change in understanding and analysis came with partnership with other important actors and individuals inside governments, agencies and other expert bodies and that the gender approach was not sex specific. 29. The paper noted that population trends were an important factor in strategies to achieve sustainable development. However, it noted, and experts agreed, that population trends such as growth, distribution, structure and momentum, more often aggravated existing trends. The experts welcomed the Cairo paradigm that improvements in gender relations, empowerment of women, exercise of individual human rights, and greater male responsibility for the reproductive health of their partners, and children, are essential for population stabilization. 30. Experts acknowledged the role of women's organizations as an effective force for change throughout the series of global conferences, but further noted that the evolving concept of gender had gone hand in hand with a re-evaluation of the way in which women interact with sustainable development and population. The complex and multiple roles of women as producers and reproducers and the gender roles to which they are ascribed, make statements about a homogenous relationship between women and the environment problematic. 31. Questions were raised in the discussion about the impact of greater numbers of women at all levels of decision making. One of the consultants had noted that women as well as men have a vested interest in sustainable development and that women's empowerment and increased role in decision making was a necessary prerequisite for the reflection of their productive and reproductive roles in decisions and for balance between population and sustainable development. 32. Experts discussed at length the impact on decisions taken in the area of population and sustainable development when greater numbers of women were involved. Experts underlined their commitment to women in decision making as an issue of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, justice and equality. But while they acknowledged evidence from many regions of the world where women at the local level had an impact on the type of decisions taken at the local level, they noted that not enough was known about the types of decisions women take on the basis of their sex, at higher levels. Experts underlined that life experience was probably a bigger determinant than sex in the decisions made by both women and men. 33. Experts noted that the immediate results of the process of empowerment of women, within the predominant economic model, may not necessarily be of immediate benefit to the environment, for example the transition of women into the cash economy and their participation in non-traditional agricultural export sectors, and their migration and increased urbanization. 34. These reactions underlined the need to be precise and specific in discussion of complex and politically charged issues and that generalizations about women's interests, women's interaction with the environment, the effects of the globalized economy on women, and causes and results of population trends were not useful and added to misperceptions of the role of women. 35. Results were presented from case studies undertaken in peri-urban and rural communities in Chile, Ecuador and Honduras, respectively, focusing on women, health and environmental degradation. It was noted that while women were the first line of defence in protecting the health and well being of their families and communities, their ability to do so was often diminished by decisions and causes of degradation that took place outside of the community or the locality where they were able to impact decisions and the results. It was underscored that women could not be seen one- dimensionally as either the primary victims , or primary saviours, and that in order to develop gender- sensitive policies and planning women should not be seen as an homogenous group. 36. It was also noted that the gender approach allowed the evolving multiple roles and pressures of women in the community to be viewed in relation to the evolving roles and pressures on men, for example, in reaction to economic pressures on patterns of agriculture and the integration of more families and households into the cash economy. 37. Gender roles and the impact of macroeconomic changes on women in Latin America were discussed focusing on where a gender approach gives a greater understanding of the impact of these changes on women, particularly women and children as the majority of the poor. It was noted that the critical problems for Latin America were the impacts of massive and rapid urbanization, liberalization of the economy, the feminization of poverty and the pauperization of women. While the global trend is one of increased economic growth matched by a drop in the percentage of people living in poverty, even where the absolute numbers of people living in poverty have increased, in Latin America, the percentage of people living in poverty has increased at the same time as economic growth. The over-emphasis in Latin America, on women as fetchers of fuel wood and water was decried and a more detailed analysis of women in urban environments was called for, including of their multiple roles in the cash and informal economies, and of women's impact on the environment and the environment's impact on women. 38. A detailed analysis was presented of the sustainable development and population trends in Uzbekistan. The unique situation of women in the economies in transition was outlined. There is evidence of an increasing role for women at local and community levels, but women in Uzbekistan face declining participation in political decision-making at high levels. Population growth and birth rates are high, although there is decreasing fertility as a result of a perceived decline in living standards and, suppressed fertility as a result of fear of the impact of environmental degradation, particularly in the Aral Sea region. It was noted that women tend to base their personal, economic and social decisions on the situations in which they find themselves. 39. In the discussion on the evolution from Rio to Cairo to Beijing, it was noted that there were specific political factors, coupled with mobilization of different constituencies, in addition to a cumulative appreciation of complex interlinkages between problems that resulted in the agreements. Concern was expressed that at the national level the evolving conceptualization of gender can be confusing for those expected to work in different areas of development planning and responsible for implementing the agreements in an integrated and coordinated fashion. It was noted that at the country level, women and their organizations often provide the sole institutional and political memory of the change in conceptualization across the international community and that this reinforces the need for their partnership in policy-making and programme development. 40. An analysis in the context of sub-Saharan Africa of the nexus of gender, poverty, population, and environment was presented, stressing the centrality of poverty, and the impact of issues such as land tenure systems, property rights and the lack of recognition of the role of women in natural resource management and its impact on decision-making about sustainable development and population. Examples were given of different land tenure systems throughout the region and it was noted that not enough was known about their impact on sustainable development and population. 41. The group noted that in the Africa region, the local manifestations of global environmental problems and of the impact of a globalized economic system, particularly structural adjustment programmes, the relationship of women to the environment as important producers, managers and consumers was a constant, but that this was tempered by limits to access and control over resources. 42. Case studies were presented from Fiji showing sustainable development practices and some of the Fijian values which made them possible; such as the role of women in environmental resource management, and of NGOs in empowerment; the role of local knowledge as an early- warning system and first line of defence, and instances of leadership decisions by women which have made a difference. A strong statement of commitment to the intrinsic value of gender equality and equity was made. Greater support for the efforts of women, their networks and informal knowledge based research and findings was called for. The significance of community participation as empowering to the entire community was underlined. However, it was stressed that home grown approaches are usually most effective. The issue of women's greater role in decision-making was considered the key and the question of whether it would change the decisions was raised. It was noted that where women were absent from decision making, decisions were made, for example, to use dynamite in local commercial fishing, or to install saw mills on the banks of rivers. It was stressed that such exclusion of women from decision-making is not likely to lead to a sustainable future. 43. The background papers and the papers presented by experts served to bring to the fore important themes that experts agreed to discuss further and seek consensus in their understanding, before making recommendations. These themes were: the understanding of gender and its relationship to sustainable development and population; the interlinkages between global and local manifestations of crises in sustainable development and population, the implications for women and men at both levels, and the issue of women in decision-making for sustainable development and population. 44. Representatives of United Nations organizations present made presentations on their areas of expertise and on the conference implementation processes with which they were involved as a background and context for the recommendations to be made. 45. The representative from the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development noted that while the 1992 Rio Conference defined a broad programme of sustainable development, that is still generally valid, the Cairo and Beijing Conferences constituted substantial advances in the areas of population and gender. To the extent that there are conflicting elements in the three programmes of action, the results of the latest conferences are generally taken as superseding the earlier results, and in their implementation, the three programmes of action are seen to be complementary. In light of the substantial overlap in the three programmes of action, the United Nations has integrated its follow-up activities for the recent conferences, dividing responsibilities by substantive area rather than by conference. 46. In preparation for the 1997 review of Rio, two issues have been identified, among others, as possible priority issues for the future work programme of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Both the High-level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development and a report on trends in sustainable development being prepared by the Secretariat identify energy and water as critical issues for long-term sustainable development. The High level Advisory Board, in particular, examines ways to expand and improve access to clean water and clean energy on a long-term sustainable basis. Considering the particular responsibility of women for these resources in most developing countries, programmes to provide universal and affordable access would have major benefits both for women and for sustainable development. 47. The representative from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), noted that the ICPD Programme of Action, emphasized that poverty, gender inequality, resource use and the environment are so closely linked, that none can be effectively addressed apart from the others. It further recognized that, as women are generally the poorest of the poor, eliminating social, cultural, political and economic discrimination against them is a prerequisite for eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development. 48. UNFPA has found that to promote a healthy environment with a view to obtaining sustainable development, it is necessary to attend to the rights and needs of individuals, calling for a strategy that is people-centred, as well as for a strategy which seeks to establish equality for women and to protect their human rights. The representative of UNFPA concluded that mechanisms and instruments are now in place to translate agreed objectives into action. What remains is whether there is sustained and sufficient political will at the international and national levels to make necessary adjustments, generate new and additional resources and translate international commitments into concrete policies and action. 49. A representative of the Division on the Advancement of Women (DAW) focused on the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective and the need to translate a concept into practice. The application of a gender perspective is based on gender analysis which moves beyond a focus on women as an isolated group, and to the consideration of an issue and its relationship to women and men. Such an approach allows that advantages and disadvantages experienced by either group can be made visible, and foresees the steps to be taken to address disadvantages with a view to preventing or eliminating and redressing them. Failure to be aware of the relevance of gender can lead to an incomplete assessment of the issue at hand, to the overlooking or underestimating of problem dimensions. 50. While a gender perspective is first and foremost an approach requiring a reconceptualization of the way things are looked at, it involves a number of practical implications such as: substantive coordination of all partners in effort in order to prevent the unnecessary duplication of efforts and diversion of needed resources, regular exchange of information and experience among organizations and institutions concerned with common issues, usage of data disaggregated by sex, a gender impact analysis of the design and implementation of policies and programmes and monitoring the gender-sensitive outcomes, especially in operational activities. 51. It is also important that each organization and institution appraise its goals, legal framework, incentive system and institutional culture, to see whether thee factors facilitate the mainstreaming of a gender perspective. The monitoring and evaluation of the substantive work and institutional change relating to mainstreaming a gender perspective should be built into accountability context with the aim to achieve the synergistic gender-sensitive policies. The extent to which women are able to participate and make decisions should be considered also as a mean of ensuring accountability. 52. Mainstreaming a gender perspective requires a conscious effort and a "double" strategy. One has to secure that gender is taken into consideration in all activities on a routine basis to avoid either marginalization or invisibility of women. However, special measures are also often necessary to increase awareness of gender dimension in all areas and are important links in the mainstreaming policy. 53. The Acting Director of INSTRAW noted INSTRAW's experience in research and training on women and environmental issues, primarily water supply and sanitation, waste management and new and renewable sources of energy. She further noted that environmentally sound and sustainable development was not only a "trendy" word, but a commitment taken by the entire international community. However, a better understanding of the concept and implications of sustainable development is needed. Much must be done to bring this concept to concrete reality. The interrelation between women, environment and sustainable development encompasses, inter alia, such varied areas as agriculture, land, water, energy and forestry. Moreover, it includes all aspects of women and the environment within the context of socio-economic development as well as the effects that the global environment has upon their lives. Because of this complexity, we are still in the process today of transforming environment and sustainable development from a general concept into pragmatic actions at the local, national and international levels. 54. Despite recommendations from UNCED, current development planning and projects do not always take into consideration the holistic nature of human activity and thus ignore women's experience, knowledge, administrative and managerial skills. Often development practices have had unexpected side effects due to the lack of consultation and participation at the local level, especially by women. An important issue is to ensure that policy-makers and planners recognize the medium and long-term economic benefits of including women in the solution of environmental problems and the eventual achievement of sustainable development. In developing countries, where populations are still expanding, pressure on scarce resources has made it difficult to improve, living conditions --women in particular, have fallen prey to the vicious cycle of poverty and ever-decreasing resources. In developed countries, where population levels are largely static, prosperity has given rise to increased consumption and even overconsumption. Such consumption levels raise the question of sustainability, especially as a growing proportion of the world's population aspires to comparable levels of consumption. 55. To approach the problems of environmental degradation as a consequence of increasing population and subsistence requirements alone is to oversimplify or diagnose the situation incorrectly. It is population growth working in conjunction with other factors that is bringing about widespread environmental deterioration. Some of these factors include: the widespread breakdown of traditional systems of resources management; commercialization; and inequality of access to land and other natural resources and the fragmentation of holdings. The Acting Director of INSTRAW also described the research and training activities that the institute has carried out in the field of women, environment and sustainable development since 1982, and one of INSTRAW's staff elaborated briefly on these activities. III. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS A. Conclusions Gender 56. The Experts Group Meeting considered that gender perspectives have been reflected in an evolving fashion in the international conference process from Rio to Cairo to Beijing. The different perceptions of gender reflected in these conferences was also displayed in the different constituencies that relate to each conference. Therefore at the outset, without disputing the concept of gender, or denying the existence of gender-based as well as sex-based discrimination, it is important to acknowledge these different perceptions, and show flexible approaches to policy making and programming. 57. Noting that it had been agreed that gender refers to the socially constructed roles played by women and men that are ascribed to them on the basis of their sex, the Meeting also agreed that a gender perspective must consider equally the roles of both women and men, thereby identifying similarities and differences. However, in a world where women face widespread discrimination, gender-sensitive policy-making and programming will, in the majority of cases, be targeted to the specific needs and circumstances of women. 58. The Fourth World Conference on Women examined issues from a gender perspective in some detail and made recommendations on mainstreaming a gender perspective. It is important therefore that there be better understanding of the meaning of gender and its practical implications. Relationships between gender, population and sustainable development. 59. Since the preparations for UNCED, the understanding of the relationship of gender to sustainable development and population has evolved. The once common currency of women solely as victims of environmental degradation, or as saviours of the environment, has given way to a better understanding of the complexities of the interlinkages between gender roles and sustainable development and the role of women as actors in relation to environmental issues. 60. It was stressed that women are not a homogenous group. Women's interrelationships with environment vary depending on their social, political, historical, and economic situations. The analysis of the impacts of sustainable development should take into account both the reproductive and productive roles of women and men. 61. It was agreed that applying a gender perspective as expressed in Cairo and Beijing provides a framework for better understanding of the differential impacts and the differentiated policy responses addressing the needs of women and men in order to achieve greater equality and equity. However, the lack of a gender perspective has often meant that women and men's needs have been ignored. For example, the precautionary principle, if applied with a gender perspective, will result in different and more timely policy and programme responses. 3/ Relationship between global and local issues of sustainable development. 62. It was generally agreed that global issues of sustainable development, including globalization of the economy, manifest themselves at the local level, i.e. global is local. However, while some issues can be resolved at the local level, with costs and benefits accruing within the community or locality, for example, water and air pollution, some global issues cannot. Where the costs may be borne at the local level disproportionately to the local benefits, there is little incentive for change in behaviour. In many situations, women may bear the brunt of the costs at the local level. 63. The Expert Group Meeting also generally observed that the identification of environmental and sustainable development problems at the community level and the priority attached to them correlates not to sex, but to the roles of men and women in the community. People's perceptions are based on their reproductive and productive roles. Therefore, men are the primary wood cutters and sometime fuel wood collectors for mostly economic reasons and women in many countries are the main fuel wood collectors for their families. They will both identify scarcity of wood as an environmental issue. 64. It was noted that not enough is known about the interrelationships between global and local environmental causes and effects and their gender impacts. By examining key areas of interlinkage, the gender impacts at the local and global levels can be better understood and recommendations, including changes in decision making, can be made. 65. In the fields of water and energy, a gender perspective may lead us to more holistic responses which empower communities as a whole. While in some developing country rural situations, women are the primary water resource managers at the household level, their ability to manage the resources sustainably is obviated by upstream, or regional decision-making that affects quality and quantity of water supply. The same can be true for energy sources such as fuel wood. Women in decision-making 66. The Expert Group Meeting called for more women to be in decision-making positions at all levels, in all spheres of society, as a matter of rights and justice. The Meeting noted that it has been well documented, in all regions of the world, that at the local level, because of the way in which women's productive and reproductive roles link them to the conditions and resources central to sustainable development, that their presence in decision making does result in different decisions related to population and sustainable development. 67. The Group noted the relative lack of evidence that due to a lack of opportunity, increasing numbers of women per se at the national and international levels will make different decisions for sustainable development. Rather it is the dynamic interaction between gender and class, race and ethnicity, and social experience and values, which may determine decisions made. 68. While the Group acknowledged that increasing participation of women in decision-making does alter the style of decision-making, the group also noted that greater participation of women in decision-making, forming a critical mass (of at least 30 per cent), at national and international economic and political fora related to sustainable development and population may be an important new development and influence on decisions made. 69. The Group stressed that women and men, when they act on values that are empathetic to population issues and sustainable development may make a difference in decisions taken. 70. The Group also stressed that at the local level, women who are empowered and in decision-making roles have an important positive influence on the involvement of other women in decision-making processes. Involving women in decision-making processes is also related to the feelings of ownership by women of the processes and of the systems and resources that the decisions will impact. The Expert Group stressed that participation of women and their empowerment will bring positive changes in gender relations which will benefit society. 71. Women's role in decision-making is often constrained by the predominant patriarchal model of exercise of authority and power and therefore there is need to develop new gender- sensitive models for exercising power for the benefit of men and women. B. Recommendations 72. Follow-up activities to Rio, Cairo and Beijing, both within the United Nations system (including the Bretton Woods institutions) and at national level, should be integrated and a gender perspective included to ensure that both women and men benefit from access to necessary resources for their participation in a wide range of productive and reproductive activities. 73. The United Nations policy on mainstreaming a gender perspective should include a focus on women's rights as human rights, ensuring women's equal participation in programmes at all levels. Gender mainstreaming should be given the priority that was attached to it in Beijing and should be effectively monitored and evaluated. Lessons learned within other institutions could be incorporated within the United Nations efforts. 74. The United Nations should undertake a specific analysis of the ongoing evolution of thinking and implementation of policies coming from the Rio, Cairo and Beijing conferences as they relate to the nexus of gender, population and sustainable development. This analysis should expand upon the findings of this expert group. 75. The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development should incorporate mainstreaming a gender perspective in its future work programme, ensuring that the differential impact on men and women is taken into account. 76. Relevant UN agencies should increase their data collection, interpretation and dissemination of information on the practical implementation of policies and programmes related to gender, population and sustainable development. For example, success stories in integrating these issues should be disseminated. The results of specific policy and programme planning tools which are modified to give greater weight to gender mainstreaming in population and sustainable development should be more widely disseminated and evaluated. 77. In policies and programmes related to sustainable development, particular attention should be given to understanding gender differences in local or global environmental impacts. Of equal importance is that the costs and benefits , including non-monetary measurements, of addressing environmental problems be disaggregated by gender and assessed at a local and supra-local level. 78. Qualitative and quantitative indicators need to be developed and used in the measurements of the impacts of gender mainstreaming. 79. Given that the empowerment of women is an issue of human rights and is essential to achieving sustainable and equitable development, and given critical role played by women's organizations in the move towards more sustainable development, the United Nations and other multilateral and bilateral donors should enhance their procedures for support to women's organizations, in all their diversity. In line with agreements in Rio, Cairo and Beijing, financial and in kind assistance to women's organizations should be increased in all areas of empowerment, including support to local women to relieve their burden of multiple roles. 80. In line with recommendations and agreements made at the international level regarding the levels of financial and technical support necessary to achieve population stabilization and sustainable development, in the context of individual human rights and the empowerment of women, governments and international agencies should increase funding and re-assign budget allocations for gender-sensitive population and sustainable development programmes. 81. Development and cooperation agencies should ensure that all projects incorporate gender mainstreaming as an essential component. The allocations of resources for gender mainstreaiming should be made from within budgets for population and sustainable development activities. Separate and earmarked funds for women's programmes, where they exist, should not bear the burden of resource allocation for gender mainstreaming. 82. The international community should assist countries in establishing and strengthening information databases on the complex dimensions of the population, sustainable development and gender nexus. 83. The United Nations system and all levels of government should be encouraged to develop, together with civil society, programmes to increase awareness of those working within the media of the new and changing conceptualization of gender and its interrelationship with population and sustainable development. 84. The United Nations system, governments and civil society should develop campaigns and strategies to ensure greater and better quality coverage of issues of gender, population and sustainable development. 85. Policy-makers and programme managers should be provided with valid and timely scientific information on the interlinkages of gender, population and sustainable development. The information should be used to both advance our knowledge on those interlinkages and to provide concrete mechanisms to further mainstream gender in population and sustainable development programmes. This research needs to be multi disciplinary, cross-sectional and longitudinal in nature and should include an emphasis on the development of new analytical approaches for capturing and assessing the significance of gender based differences. 86. Governments should undertake legal reforms, policy and administrative reforms to ensure women's equal rights to natural resources, including access to, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, credit, inheritance, information and appropriate new technology. These changes should be accompanied by programmes to promote changes in traditional and customary practices that discriminate against women. 87. Governments should establish consultative mechanisms before planning is undertaken and policy formulated of the national machinery for the advancement of women by all other sectors of government regarding the mainstreaming of gender in order to promote equality and equity and to implement, in an integrated way, the commitments in the United Nations conferences. 88. Training and education on issues of population and sustainable development should be provided to programmes and units within international institutions, national machineries and NGOs that work on gender. 89. Training on gender and how to mainstream gender should be provided to policy- makers and programme staff working on population and sustainable development. Within the United Nations the technical expertise could be provided by the Division on the Advancement of Women, UNIFEM and INSTRAW as well as units within other relevant United Nations bodies. 90. Educational materials need to be developed to inform policy-makers and programme managers of the utility of a gender perspective in population and sustainable development planning. 91. Sustainable development policies and programmes need to give greater attention to population factors beyond population growth, including age structure, distribution, household headship, migration and reproductive health and behaviour. In addition, emphasis should also be placed to the environmental health issues such as certain environmental pollutants that can effect human reproductive system and children's mental development. 92. Governments and international agencies should expand research on the components of reproductive health, as defined in the ICPD Programme of Action, and their interaction with environmental phenomena. The research should take gender into account in order to reveal insights useful for a global understanding of sustainable development. 93. Since Rio, Cairo and Beijing there is better understanding of the impact of environmental degradation on the health of men and women, in particular on their reproductive health and capacity. Intensified research in this field should be matched by better incorporation of this knowledge into all areas of population and sustainable development planning. 94. All strategies for sustainable development should harness local knowledge. This knowledge should be respected, valued promoted within research, policy and evaluation and taken into account at all levels of decision- making. 95. Advocacy campaigns based on valid and reliable research findings should be developed in order to help overcome resistance towards innovative gender mainstreaming in population and sustainable development policies and programmes. 1/ The paragraph states: "The objective is to raise the quality of life for all people through appropriate population and development policies and programmes aimed at achieving poverty eradication, sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development and sustainable patterns of consumption and production, human resource development and the guarantee of all human rights, including the right to development as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights. Particular attention is to be given to the socio-economic improvement of poor women in developed and developing countries. As women are generally the poorest of the poor and at eliminating social, cultural, political and economic discrimination against women is a prerequisite of eradicating poverty, promoting sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development, ensuring quality family planning and reproductive health services, and achieving balance between population and available resources and sustainable patterns of consumption and production." 2/ The paragraph states: "The international community should continue to promote a supportive economic environment, particularly for developing countries and countries with economies in transition in their attempt to eradicate poverty and achieve sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development. In the context of the relevant international agreements and commitments, efforts should be made to support those countries, in particular the developing countries, by promoting an open, equitable, secure non-discriminatory and predictable international trading system; by promoting foreign direct investment; by reducing the debt burden; by providing new and additional financial resources from all available funding sources and mechanisms, including multilateral, bilateral and private sources, including on concessional and grant terms according to sound and equitable criteria and indicators; by providing access to technologies; and by ensuring that structural adjustment programmes are so designed and implemented as to be responsive to social and environmental concerns." 3/ Principal 15 of the Rio Declaration states "In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation". ANNEXES I. LIST OF PARTICIPANTS Experts Ms. Gracie M. FONG Women and Fisheries Network Suva, Fiji Ms.Cecilia KINUTHIA-NJENGA Women, Environment and Development Programme Coordinator Environment Liaison Centre International P.O. Box 72461 Nairobi, Kenya Tel: (254-2) 562015 Fax: (254-2) 562175 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Ms. Rachel KYTE Senior Policy Analyst International Women's Health Coalition 24 East 21st Street New York, NY 10010 Tel: (212) 979-8500 Fax: (212) 979-9009 e-mail:email@example.com Ms. Maria ONESTINI Co-Director Centre for Environmental Studies, CEDES Casilla de Correo 116 Suc. 28 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina Tel/Fax: (54-1) 812-6490 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Mr. Michael J. PAOLISSO Director, Health and Social Analysis International Center for Research on Women 1717 Massachussetts Ave., N.W., Suite 302 Washington, DC 20036 Tel: (202) 797-0007; Fax: (202) 797-0020 e-mail:email@example.com Ms. Flora N. PIRNAZAROVA Women's Resource Centre 11, A. Kodiry Prosp. Tashkent 700011 Uzbekistan Tel: (3712) 418931; home: (3712) 354753 Fax: (3712) 412149; (3712) 354878 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Consultant Mr. George MARTINE Asesor en Poblaci¢n, Desarrollo y Medio Ambiente (FAO) Tomas De Figueroa 2451 Vitacura, Casilla 19036 Santiago, Chile Tel: 2080656/2066089 Fax: 56-2) 2066105 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Observers from the United Nations system United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Ms. T.V. LUONG Senior Adviser for Environment and Sanitation UNICEF 3 United Nations Plaza - TA-26A New York, NY 10017 Tel: (212) 824-6661 Fax: (212) 824-6480 e-mail:email@example.com United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Ms. Guadalupe ESPINOSA Regional Programme Adviser UNIFEM Mexico, C.A and the Spanish Caribbean Presidente Masaryk, 29-10 Col. Polanco Mexico City, Mexico Tel:and Fax: (52 5) 203 1894 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Observers from non-governmental organizations Ms.Catherine OBIANUJU ACHOLONU LET'S HELP HUMANITARIAN PROJECT Alvan Ikoku College of Education PMB 1033 Owerri, Nigeria Tel: 234 -83-230021, 2311030 Fax: 234-83-231986 Ms. Mar”a Priscila PE„A PRONATURA P.O. Box 2956 Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. Tel: (809) 687-5878 Fax: (809) 687-5766 e-mail:Pronatura@codetel.net.do Ms. Maria Cristina NOGUERA P.O. Box 52344 Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. Tel: 562-9085 Fax: 562-9112 Observers from Member States and Observer States THE NETHERLANDS Ms. Usha S. GOPIE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS) United Nations Department Legal and Social Affairs Division P.O. Box 20061 2500 E.B. The Hague The Netherlands Tel: 31-70-3485832 Fax: 31-70-3486167 e-mail:USGopie@min.buza.nl UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Ms. Marina TAVERAS Project Specialist U.S. Agency for International Development calle Leopoldo Navarro No.12 c/o United States Embassy Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Tel: (809) 221-1100 Fax: (809) 221-0444 e-mail:email@example.com THE HOLY SEE Ms. Zelided Alma DE RUIZ Instituto de la Familia Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. Tel: (809) 682-9803 Fax: (809) 688-5897 Ms. Soledad Ar”stegui DE VASALLO Calle Santo Domingo No. 3, Ens. La Julia Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. Tel: (809) 544-2812 Ext. 142 Fax: (809) 540-2351 Meeting co-sponsors Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), United Nations Ms. Kristen TIMOTHY Deputy Director Division for the Advancement of Women 2 United Nations Plaza - Room 1216 New York, NY 10017 Tel: (212) 963-3104 Fax: (212) 963-3463 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Ms. Natalia ZAKHAROVA Social Affairs Officer 2 United Nations Plaza - Room 1246 New York, NY 10017 Tel: (212) 963-8134 Fax: (212) 963-3463 e-mail:Zakharova@un.org Division for Sustainable Development (DSD), United Nations Mr. Ralph CHIPMAN Senior Sustainable Development Officer 2 United Nations Plaza - Room 2214 New York, NY 10017 Tel: (212) 963-5504 Fax: (212) 963-4260 United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Ms. Ana ANGARITA-NOGUERA Technical Officer Gender, Population and Development Branch Technical and Evaluation Division 220 East 42nd Street New York, NY 10017 Tel: (212) 297-5146 Fax: (212) 297-5145 United Nations International Training and Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) Ms. Martha DUENAS-LOZA Acting Director INSTRAW Cesar Nicolas Penson 102-A Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Tel: (809) 685-2111 Fax: (809) 685-2117 e-mail: email@example.com Ms. Corazon NARVAEZ Associate Social Affairs Officer Cesar Nicolas Penson 102-A Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Tel: (809) 685-2111 Fax: (809) 685-2117 e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Ms. Julia TAVARES Associate Social Affairs Officer Cesar Nicolas Penson 102-A Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Tel: (809) 685-2111 Fax: (809) 685-2117 e-mail: email@example.com II. LIST OF DOCUMENTS Information papers EGM/WPSD/1996/INF.1 Information Note for Participants EGM/WPSD/1996/INF.2 Agenda EGM/WPSD/1996/INF.3 List of Participants EGM/WPSD/1996/INF.4 List of Documents Consultants' papers EGM/WPSD/1996/CP.1 Women, Sustainable Development and Decision Making Prepared by: Nata Duvvury EGM/WPSD/1996/CP.2 Gender, Population and Sustainability: Critical Problems and Unresolved Issues Prepared by: George Martine and Marcela Villareal Experts' papers EGM/WPSD/1996/EP. Gender, Environment and Socio-Environmental Crisis in Latin America Prepared by: Maria Onestini EGM/WPSD/1996/EP.2 Women's Status, Environment and Sustainable Development in Uzbekistan Prepared by: Flora Pirnazarova EGM/WPSD/1996/EP.3 Women's Responses to Environment Degradation: Poverty and Demographic Constraints - Case Studies from Latin America Prepared by: Michael Paolisso EGM/WPSD/1996/EP.4 Gender, Population and Sustainable Development: Some Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa Prepared by: Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga EGM/WPSD/1996/EP.5 Rio, Cairo and Beijing: A Political Analysis of Women, Population and Sustainable Development Prepared by: Rachel Kyte EGM/WPSD/1996/EP.6 Some Examples from Fiji of Successful Ways and Means of Addressing Issues Related to Women, Population and Sustainable Development Prepared by: Gracie Fong Observer paper EGM/WPSD/1996/OP.1 African Women in Environmental Development: IMO/ABIA States of Nigeria as Case Studies Prepared by: Catherine Obianuju Acholonu Reference papers Aide Memoire Platform for Action and the Beijing Declaration. UN, Department of Public Information, New York. United Nations. 1996. Agenda 21: An easy reference to the specific recommendations on women, UNIFEM Publication. Population and Development Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, 5-13 September 1994. United Nations. 1996. ST.ESA.SER.A/149, Sales No. E.95.XIII.7. III. AGENDA AND ORGANIZATION OF WORK Monday, 18 November 1996 Morning session 1. Opening and introductory statements Ms. Martha Duenas-Loza, Acting Director United Nations International and Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) Ms. Kristen Timothy, Deputy Director Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) Mr. Ralph Chipman, Senior Sustainable Development Officer Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) Ms. Ana Angarita-Noguera, Technical Officer United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2. Election of officers 3. Adoption of the agenda 4. Presentation of consultants background papers and discussion George Martine - Gender, Population and Sustainability: Critical Problems and Unresolved Issues Nata Duvvury - Women, Sustainable Development and Decision Making (Presented by Ms. Timothy, DAW in the absence of Ms. Duvvury) Afternoon session 5. Presentations by experts and discussion A. Conceptual and methodological aspects of crucial links between population and sustainable development from a gender perspective with emphasis on women's role in decision-making at all levels. Maria Onestini - Gender, Environment and Socio-Environmental Crisis in Latin America Michael Paolisso - Women's Responses to Environment Degradation: Poverty and Demographic Constraints - Case Studies from Latin America Flora Pirnazarova - Women's Status, Environment and Sustainable Development in Uzbekistan Rachel Kyte - Rio, Cairo and Beijing: A Political Analysis of Women, Population and Sustainable Development Tuesday, 19 November 1996 Morning session A. Conceptual and methodological aspects of crucial links between population and sustainable development from a gender perspective with emphasis on women's role in decision-making at all levels (continued). Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga - Gender, Population and Sustainable Development: Some Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa Gracie Fong - Some Examples from Fiji of Successful Ways and Means of Addressing Issues Related to Women, Population and Sustainable Development Afternoon session 6. Presentations by representatives of UN entities, and discussion B. Policy perspectives on implementation of recommendations from Rio, Cairo and Beijing on women, population and sustainable development Ralph Chipman (DSD) - Rio Conference and 1997 review of the implementation of Agenda 21 Ana Angarita-Noguera - Policy perspective on implementation of (UNFPA) the Cairo programme for action Natalia Zakharova - Mainstreaming a gender perspective into (DAW) policies and programmes on sustainable development: Beijing perspective Martha Duenas-Loza - Research and training on sustainable development Wednesday, 20 November 1996 Morning session 7. Discussion and elaboration of recommendations C. Framework for a gender-sensitive integrated approach to the implementation of recommendations of Rio, Cairo and Beijing on women, population and sustainable development: concepts; levels and types of interventions; priorities and cost and benefits. Afternoon session C. Discussion Thursday, 21 November 1996 Morning session C. Framework for a gender-sensitive integrated approach to the implementation of recommendations of Rio, Cairo and Beijing on women, population and sustainable development: concepts; levels and types of interventions; priorities and cost and benefits. (continued) Afternoon session C. Discussion (continued) Friday, 22 November 1996 Morning session 8. Adoption of report Afternoon session Closing
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