Esther Mwangi, a scientist with the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said that women negotiators must forge a common front in Rio+20 in order to champion and give a voice to forest-dependent women. Her comments come after a CIFOR research project concluded that although women involved in sustainable forest management and agroforestry can help monitor and protect forest resources, they face gender biases that marginalize them from decision-making processes, access to land and new technologies.
Over 70 female-driven environmental-development organizations from all over the world are coming together under the umbrella body, the Women’s Rio 2012 steering committee. Esther says this will enable them to increase their bargaining power to lobby for policies that support rural women in the sustainable management of forests.
Esther’s comments are part of a broader interview she gave regarding the Rio+20 Conference to be held in June this year in Brazil. The conference, which aims to call on world leaders to renew their commitment to sustainable development, will discuss seven Critical Issues, among them food, energy and jobs.
Contributors: Wambui Muriithi