Gender Equity in Payments for Environmental Services: analysis of pilot projects in Asia and Africa

Gender Equity in Payments for Environmental Services: analysis of pilot projects in Asia and Africa

wca2014-1556 Mamta Vardhan 1,*Delia Catacutan 2 on behalf of Gender in Agroforestry systems and Gender in Agroforestry systems 1Dept. of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, 2World Agroforestry Centre, Hanoi, Viet Nam

A growing number of payments for environmental services (PES) projects are being implemented in developing countries as a cost-efficient way to achieve the twin goals of environmental conservation and poverty alleviation, but concerns about social and gender equity implications of these projects remain. This paper examines gender equity dimensions of five pilot PES projects to market watershed and carbon sequestration services in South East Asia and East Africa. We used a multi-dimensional equity framework to analyze gender equity in terms of distribution of outcomes (distributive equity), inclusion in decision-making (procedural equity) and pre-existing conditions that mediate access to project and its benefits (contextual equity). Our analyses suggest that a neglect of contextual factors such as customary land rights and cultural norms around tree planting in the allocation of PES contracts can undermine gender equity by alienating the resource rights of women. Further, projects that specifically include women and marginal actors in the design of PES contracts tend to produce gender equitable and cost-efficient outcomes than if they were excluded. A gender analysis of roles and responsibilities within a PES project is a good start to gender inclusion; nevertheless, PES projects are limited in their capacity to alter traditionally embedded forms of gender exclusion. Two useful lessons for PES designers can be drawn from the study– firstly, it is important for PES designers and project managers to take into consideration the interrelated dimensions of equity to enable an analysis of deeply-rooted norms and traditions that spur inequity and develop procedures to address them. Secondly, gender equity considerations can be mainstreamed only when equity is articulated as an explicit goal at the start of any PES project.

Vigyan Bhavan & Kempinski Ambience

10 - 14 February 2014 Delhi, India