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Mainstreaming Gender into Jamaica’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2021

Description: 

Women contribute to biodiversity conservation and management in fundamentally important ways. Their role has been underscored in several decisions of the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the CBD’s 2015-2020 Gender Plan of Action. Previously, gender was absent from Jamaica’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) of 2003. However, Jamaica’s latest NBSAP 2016-2021 includes gender considerations into biodiversity conservation actions and cross-sectoral strategies. This best practice highlights the national targets and strategies that have been introduced into Jamaica’s latest NBSAP to mainstream gender into biodiversity conservation and management.


Please note, this best practice has not been reviewed by the Government of Jamaica. This best practice has been repurposed from Jamaica’s latest NBSAP 2016-2021.

Problem, challenge or context: 

Historically in Jamaica, gender mainstreaming across all sectors has been generally weak. The concept of gender mainstreaming is not fully understood in Jamaica, including the roles and needs of men and women with respect to biodiversity resources. For example, a few consultations, while developing Jamaica’s latest NBSAP, suggested that there may be circumstantial barriers, instead of societal barriers, for women in accessing biological resources. Gender issues also have interlinkages with poverty. According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica (2012), most of the female-headed households were identified within the poorest quintile.

The action taken: 

This section highlights the key actions undertaken by Jamaica to mainstream gender into the NBSAP 2016-2021:


  1. Legislation & Policy: Since 2003, in order to mainstream gender considerations into all sectors, Jamaica has developed a National Policy for Gender Equality (2011) (https://jis.gov.jm/national-policy-for-gender-equality-launched-2/) and has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/).

  2. Creating gender-sensitive institutions: The Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA) leads several gender mainstreaming sessions with various government departments, including the Ministry of Environment. Each institution is expected to identify a Gender Focal Point, who represents the organization on gender-related issues. Upon receiving a completed and approved Gender Equality Action Plan from the Bureau, and meeting the Gender Equality Certification criteria, these institutions become gender certified.

  3. NBSAP 2016-2021. Jamaica’s latest NBSAP underscores the importance of mainstreaming gender considerations into various sectors related to biodiversity through several national targets and a cross-sectoral strategy. Key targets include:


    1. National Target 1, by 2021, seeks to make Jamaicans aware of the value of biodiversity. One of the activities under Target 1, seeks to conduct a baseline Knowledge, Attitude and Practices (KAP) survey including gender, to facilitate gender-sensitive data by 2018.

    2. National Target 14, by 2020, seeks to restore and safeguard ecosystems that provide essential services, taking into account the needs of women, local communities, and the vulnerable.

    3. Cross-sectoral Strategies for mainstreaming gender. The NBSAP sets a cross-sectoral strategy on gender mainstreaming which aims to: a) ensure the inclusion of gender considerations into key sectors related to biodiversity conservation, and the management of protected areas; and b) promote the inclusion of women in all stakeholder consultations, in all environmental and natural resource matters. Corresponding activities to reach these goals include: i) Conducting gender analyses, and developing strategies in the forestry, environmental, fisheries, mining & quarrying sector, and protected areas. The idea is to garner baseline information to fully understand gender issues within these sectors; ii) Promoting the understanding of ecosystems and in particular plant and animal resources important to women and households within specific protected areas.

Key lessons learned: 
  • Gender mainstreaming at the institutional level is the best entry point for gender equity. If an institution mainstreams gender, then all policies, programs and products emanating from that institution will be gender-aware.

  • Gender analyses provide an opportunity to gather data and to properly mainstream gender considerations into various sectors that are relevant to biodiversity conservation.

  • NBSAPs are ready pathways towards the achievement of national priorities. It is important that women are explicitly included in NBSAPs, and have specific initiatives to address their needs and priorities.

Impacts and outcomes: 
  • Gender considerations have been incorporated into Jamaica’s latest NBSAP 2016-2020.

  • The preliminary results from mainstreaming gender into biodiversity conservation activities and cross-sectoral strategies within Jamaica’s latest NBSAP, may possibly come across in Jamaica’s Sixth National Report to CBD.

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