SDG 5: Gender equality

In many countries, the link between poverty, gender and sustainable forest management is a critical issue. Rural women are heavily involved in forest work, but frequently disadvantaged. PEFC certification promotes gender equality through a variety of requirements and processes.

SDG 5: Gender equality

Sustainable Development Goal

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

Forests and SDG 5: 

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Of the 850 million people engaged in collecting fuelwood or producing charcoal, about 83 percent are women. FAO

In many countries, the link between poverty, gender and sustainable forest management is a critical issue. Women are heavily involved in forest work such as collecting fuelwood, medicinal plants and other NWFPs, as well as food for family consumption

Women also make specific contributions to forest value chains that are important for their incomes and, in turn, for the well-being and food security of their households.

However, compared with men, rural women are frequently disadvantaged - for a variety of interrelated cultural, social, economic and institutional reasons - in their access to and control over forest resources and in the economic opportunities available to them. Women’s knowledge of forests and trees is often discounted in forest decisions, and their role in forest-related value chains tends to be poorly supported by policy-makers and extension services.

There is a crucial need to secure equal rights for women with regard to land tenure, access to resources and markets, skills development and value chains. 

Related SDG target (abbreviated)

5.1 End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Globally, 1.5 billion local and indigenous people have secured rights over forest resources through community-based tenure. These local groups manage about 18% of the world’s forest area. RRI, 2015

PEFC and SDG 5

PEFC certification promotes gender equality and the role of women in forestry through a variety of requirements and processes. Forest managers must be committed to equal opportunities and non-discrimination, and gender equality promoted. 

Special consideration must be given to new opportunities for training and employment of local people – men and women alike. Wages of forest workers – independent of gender – must meet or exceed legal, industry minimum standards.

Through provision for effective communication and consultation with local communities in regards to sustainable forest management, PEFC certification provides a forum that better enables women to participate in forest decisions.  

Selected PEFC criteria (abbreviated) and standards

6.3.2.1 Property rights, tree ownership and land tenure arrangements shall be clearly defined, documented and established for the relevant management unit. Likewise, legal, customary and traditional rights related to the forest land shall be clarified, recognised and respected.

6.3.3.1 Forest practices and operations shall comply with fundamental ILO conventions.

6.3.4.3 Wages of forest workers shall meet at least legal, industry minimum standards or to exceed it.

6.3.4.4 The organisation is committed to equal opportunities and non-discrimination. Gender equality shall be promoted.

7.3.1 Effective communication and consultation with local communities, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders relating to sustainable forest management shall be provided.

8.6.5 Best use shall be made of forest-related experience and traditional knowledge, innovations and practices such as those of forest owners, NGOs, local communities, and indigenous peoples. 

8.6.6 The standard requires that management shall give due regard to the role of forestry in local economies. Special consideration shall be given to new opportunities for training and employment of local people, including indigenous peoples.

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