Gender and REDD+: An Assessment in the Oddar Meanchey Community Forestry REDD+ Site, Cambodia

 Amanda Bradley, Abidah B. Setyowati, Jeannette Gurung, Donal Yeang, Channa Net, Samnang Khiev and Julien Brewster

There are numerous reasons for turning this situation around and making concerted efforts to address gender concerns in REDD+ including adherence to an internationally recognized human rights approach, arguments of increased efficiency, efficacy and sustainability, as well as simple good business sense. A number of barriers and challenges exist including a male-dominated forestry sector, high labor burden for women, and poor understanding of relationships and nuanced power dynamics within communities.Within this context, the Forestry Administration, the international development NGO Pact, and several other partners have been developing the Oddar Meanchey Community Forestry REDD+ project in an effort to access sustainable financing for forest protection through the international voluntary carbon market. Using the Harvard Analytical Framework as a conceptual methodology, Pact initiated a gender assessment of the project in order to identify ways in which gender could be effectively mainstreamed during the project’s implementation phase. In order to collect data, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted in four of the 13 community forestry sites in the project area in April, 2012. The assessment team discovered a number of interesting findings related to participation; decision making and leadership; knowledge, skills and capacity; equitable benefit sharing; and resource access, use, and control. With regards to participation, men are taking a primary role in community forestry and REDD+ activities, while women are “partly involved” in almost all activities. Women participate less actively in meetings, trainings, forest patrolling, and forest assessment work due to a number of constraints such as lower membership on elected committees, lack of confidence in speaking, lower literacy levels, childcare and household duties, security issues, and a perceived lower level of knowledge.