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Gender and social inclusion in natural resource management

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Rural municipalities in far-western Nepal develop action plans integrating GESI in natural resource management

Diversification to reduce risks in large cardamom production

Women are the predominant users and custodians of natural resources. Yet, their voices are rarely sought when plans are prepared to manage these resources. This is also true for other disadvantaged groups, who are seldom included in the planning process.

With Nepal’s new federal structure initiating five-year periodic plans at the local level, there is an opportunity to embed gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) in natural resource management planning. In 2019, we partnered with HIMAWANTINepal to develop GESI-responsive five-year action plans for two rural municipalities in far-western Nepal: Saipal in Bajhang District, and Byas in Darchula District.

Over 57 locally elected officials, rural municipality staff, and community members – out of which 33% were women and 28% belonged to ethnic groups and social minorities – were involved in preparing the action plans. These action plans will guide the development of annual plans and budgets for both rural municipalities, thus ensuring the allocation of funds to support GESI-targeted activities.

Funds are already being channeled for GESI at the grassroots. In 2019, two trainings were organized in Saipal to discuss women’s role in natural resource management, while one consultation meeting was organized in Dhangadhi, Kailali District, to upscale the planning process. A training manual on GESI in natural resource management planning is currently being finalized and for use at provincial and federal levels.

The action plans lend more agency to women and marginalized groups in decision making concerning natural resources. These plans are already being operationalized, with two GESI-targeted activities organized in 2019.

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