Using international law to advance women’s tenure rights in REDD+
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is an international initiative to mitigate climate change in the forest sector. It is intended to incentivize developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as promote sustainable management of forests, and conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. REDD+ has significant implications for land and resource rights, and raises particular concerns for women. These concerns arise from discrimination that women already face in resource management processes, largely due to unclear, unsecure and unequal tenure rights. Women represent a large percentage of the world’s poor, and they are often directly dependent on natural resources. As a result, there are significant risks that REDD+ could exacerbate existing inequalities for women if it fails to respect women’s tenure rights. This paper makes a case for advancing women’s tenure rights and how international law can be used to promote those rights in the context of REDD+. It is intended for women’s rights advocates involved in climate change and REDD+, and thus presumes a general familiarity with REDD+. International human rights law is presented as an additional framework for advocates to use in their strategies and messages to advance women’s tenure rights in REDD+.