Category Archives: Natural resource management

MARE & Oceans Past: Proposal for gender panel

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Mariscodoras (shellfish gatherers) of Galicia. Photo: @AKTEA

For the 2017 MARE Conference 2017 (People & the Sea IXDealing with Maritime Mobilities), Katia Frangoudes and colleagues propose a panel – are you interested in taking part?

Date: 5-7 July, 2017, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Panel title: From Past to Present Gender/women relations within coastal and fisheries Communities

Panel proposal to the conference People and the Sea 9: dealing with maritime mobilities, Amsterdam 5-7 of July, 2017.

Panel Organise by Katia Frangoudes, Siri Gerrard, Danika Kleiber, Cristina Pita

Panel abstract:

The coastal areas and communities have experienced major changes over recent decades. Some are under pressure by the rapid development and urbanisation, industrialisation, climate change, mass tourism, etc. Others have suffered economic depression as the activities that traditionally sustained coastal communities become increasingly unsustainable. These changes had economic impacts on the fishing; aquaculture and others related activities and modified the social role within coastal societies, with new social organisations and cultural processes emerging in coastal areas.

Research on gender and gender relations, as well as on women, in fisheries and aquaculture and their role in communities is not abundant. And this despite the fact that change has impacted men and women differently, the construction of gender and gender relations has consequences on the division of labour in fisheries, in coastal communities and also in the relationships in the community.

The interconnection between gender relations, work and community can include many topics and can vary from place to place dependent on the history, “materialities”, social and cultural conditions. Coastal and gender studies can be valuable for research, and for the economic and social development of coastal communities, and fishery related activities and work. So gender relations and communities can be studied in many ways, the propose panel aims to bring together scientists, practitioners, .working on the following themes: gender migration/immigration, changes in job opportunities (eg. paid and unpaid contribution of women in fisheries and aquaculture), women’s organisations and participation in the public sphere, property rights in fisheries and aquaculture, gender and climate changes, women’s capacity building, etc…

Note: The panel is organizing by the TBTI (Too Big to Ignore) cluster on women/gender in fisheries and aquaculture and the Working group Gendered Oceans Past Platform. If you wish to be part of this panel please send your send your abstract Katia Frangoudes Katia.Frangoudes@univ-brest.fr before the 27 of January. We need to know if we ask for one panel or more… in depends on the number of interested participants.

Economics, trade analysis of fish value chains lacking good gender information

The 2016 conference of the International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade addressed how to incorporate the gender dimension into fish value chain analysis, especially when very limited gender information is available. The report of the gender sessions are now online.

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Woman at Tambak Lorok, Central Jawa, Indonesia, brings two yellowfin tuna ashore. Photo: Zahrah Izzaturrahim.

The 14 presentations and discussions on gender at IIFET-2016 highlighted that sex-disaggregated data and indicators must be improved. Using whatever information they could collect, experts presented gender analyses of value chains in Africa (Malawi and Nigeria), Asia (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand), North America (Mexico) and the Pacific (Solomon Islands), and global efforts on fisheries performance indicators and data sets. The presenters and participants discussed how, in these value chains, women are critical to adding value to fish, although within the household and society, ultimately men still make most of the key household decisions, sometimes despite interventions that seek to empower women. The gender report concludes by making some suggestions to IIFET in its future work on gender in fisheries economics and trade.

Read more the full report on the gender papers at IIFET-2016 here.

First UNEP report on Gender and the Environment

2016-ggeoThe United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the 2016 Global Gender and Environment Outlook report.

This first ever such report uses a drivers-pressures-states-impacts-responses approach to summarise available information and make an attempt to address four policy questions:

  • What social forces are producing the changes seen in  the environment, and are they gender-dependent?
  • What are the large-scale consequences of ongoing environmental changes for social systems and human security, and are these consequences gender-differentiated?
  • What do future projections and outlooks look like, are they gender-differentiated, and will there be different outcomes for women and men?
  • What actions could be taken for a more sustainable future that would position women and men as equal agents in taking such actions, and which socio-economic factors could shape different outcomes and responses for women and men?

The introductory section -“The gender-environment nexus: Towards more equitable and inclusive forms of sustainability” – presents interesting material on why the report is needed in the face of economic growth and its impacts on the environment and natural resources, many of which are gendered. A brief history of the environmental feminist movement is covered, from the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” to recent local-led conservation initiatives. The report was made possible and encouraged by a gradual infiltration of gender equality articles in major global environment, development and climate instruments and pledges. It stresses the still under-representation of women in environment positions of power and calls for much better collection of sex-disaggregated information. The priority areas identified miss reference to those in fisheries and aquaculture, focusing instead on agriculture, land, water and climate change. This reflects the lack of substantive work done in the aquatic resources, but also to some extent the incompleteness of the Outlook report on aquatic resource themes.

One of the sections of the Outlook report covers marine and coastal communities and ecosystems, looking at “what we take out”: fish, fishing and livelihoods, and “what we put in”: contaminants and pollutants. Although this section is not particularly current, comprehensive or, in some cases, nuanced, in its drafting, it does provide useful material and it is valuable to have the Outlook report recognize the marine part of the aquatic realm, even if this is not reflected in the opening essay. Here are the Key Messages highlighted in the this part of the report:

  • Women and men have common but differentiated responsibilities in the fishing sector. Fishing is frequently portrayed as a male domain, but when the whole fishing cycle is taken into account, actually some 47% of the workforce is female.
  • Fishing both reflects and defines gender boundaries; men are conventionally defined as “fishers”, while women’s activities in the sector are too often overlooked in official programmes, data collection and support.
  • Environmental change and damage to marine systems have gendered impacts, and women and men experience climate disruptions differently. Climate change is especially threatening to coastal communities and fishing livelihoods. “Downstream” effects on fishing sector activities such as post-harvest work are often not taken into account.
  • Health impacts are gender-differentiated. For example, many marine contaminants are particularly dangerous for foetal development. Chemical contaminants in ocean systems bioaccumulate, threatening human health and the health of marine organisms.
  • As fisheries collapse globally and fish become scarce locally, many women have to turn to transactional sex to bridge the scarcity gap.
  • Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing relies on trafficked, indentured and slave labour, mostly by men.
  • Evidence suggests that fisheries management improves when women are actively involved.

The report can be downloaded at this link.

Fiji and Solomon Islands articles feature in SPC’s Women in Fisheries Info Bulletin #27

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Market vendor selling seagrapes (Caulerpa racemosa) in Suva. Photo: SPC WIF 27.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s 27th Women in Fisheries Information Bulletin features several in-depth reports on women in Fiji fisheries and rural communities, and a one on women in Solomon Island fisheries. In addition, several news items are carried.

The whole issue or individual articles can be found at this link.

Inside issue #27

  • Supply chain and marketing of seagrapes, Caulerpa racemosa (Forsskaål) J. Agardh (Chlorophyta: Caulerpaceae) in Fiji by Cherie Morris and Shirleen Bala
  • Changing patterns in household membership, changing economic activities and roles of men and women in Matokana Village, Onoilau, Fiji by Veikila Vuki
  • Gender issues in culture, agriculture and fisheries in Fiji by Veikila C. Vuki and Aliti Vunisea
  • The participation of women in fishing activities in Fiji by Aliti Vunisea
  • Toward gender-equitable fisheries management in Solomon Islands by Olha Krushelnytska
  • True gender champion recognised
  • Veikila Vuki: Cultivating the sharing of information on aqua women 

Learning from forestry and landuse: Good practices for women’s inclusion

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In 2013, a group of organisation, led by WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management) produced a very useful distillation of good practices for including women in key climate change mitigation programs, especially REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Most of the good advice in the “Scoping study of good practices for strengthening women’s inclusion in forest and other natural resource management sectors,” however, is applicable to other sectors, including fisheries and aquaculture.

In producing the report, WOCAN was joined by the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (UN-REDD) Programme, and the USAID-funded Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) program.

Download the report at this Link

The key good practices discussed are organised as follows:

1. Ensuring Women’s Representation and Participation
2. Facilitation and Capacity Building for Women’s Participation
3. Skill Building
4. Gender-Disaggregated Analysis and Planning to Meet Women’s Livelihood Needs
5. Labour-Saving and Time-Reducing Technologies
6. Women-Only Groups
7. Women’s Networks and Federations
8. Presence of Gender Champions and Women Leaders
9. Equitable Benefit Sharing Mechanisms
10. Enterprise Development and Credit Provision

Building climate resilience in Laos by bringing in women

Lao women researchers. Photo: FishBio (Fisheries research, monitoring and conservation) http://fishbio.com/field-notes/population-dynamics/lao-women-in-fish-research

In other projects in Laos, women in Donexay village have become involved as researchers in the Nam Kading River of central Lao PDR. Photo and story: FISHBIO [Fisheries Research, Monitoring and Conservation] FISHBIO

Charlotte Moser worked among Lao fishers in the Sekong River basin that begins in Vietnam, traverses Lao PDR and flows into the Mekong in Cambodia. The project on which she worked, in Samakhixay and Saysettha districts of Attapeu Province in southern Laos, involved Lao PDR, World Bank and IUCN support. She reports [“Listening to Women Fishers on the Sekong River: Fostering Resilience in Village Fishery Co-Management“] that the advent of fisheries comanagement and new national laws and institutions such as the Lao Women’s Union and a flurry of activity, especially after the 1995 UN Beijing  Conference on Women, tended to stay at the national level.

What was happening at the local level along the Sekong, where men fished in the main river and its tributaries and women were seasonal fishers in the rice fields? Following the new national 2009 Guideline for Fisheries Comanagement, several comanagement fishery committees were established to oversee fisheries conservation zones. Elite men tended to be appointed to the committees (by village chiefs), thus cementing the status quo, whereas women, if in the committees, were elected and tended to be challenging the status quo. The national fishery guidelines did not mandate women’s participation.  Generally, the fisheries committees also avoid other difficult issues such as ethnicity, the deteriorating quality of the river water and its fishery resources, and the maintenance of fish conservation zones. Of 6 committees established in 2009 in the study area, the only committee to survive until 2013 was the one that had a woman member (who kept the committee records) and it was also the only one to maintain a conservation zone.

Charlotte Moser laments that, despite the calls to include women, and the good advice available as to how to do this, action on the ground often disappoints, as in this case in Laos. She reiterates the generally recommended steps needed, but does not underestimate their difficulty to implement.

Among these steps are including language in the national Fisheries Law that requires participation by women in village fishery management committees, creating incentives to allow women to develop new skills, ensuring more places in governance structures for women and providing opportunities for adaptive learning tailored to the experiences and interests of women in fishing villages.

Abstract: The accelerated economic development of landlocked Laos, combined with extreme climate variables, points to dramatic transformations in subsistence fisheries on its rivers. In the country’s first Fisheries Law, adopted in 2009, co-management of village fisheries is required as a way to promote sustainable development at a local level. The co-management model, however, does not stipulate participation by women fishers, important stakeholders who make up almost one-half of all Lao fishers and whose work contributes directly to family nutrition and well-being. Based on fieldwork conducted in fishing villages on the Sekong River in southern Laos in 2013, this paper takes an ecosystems approach to discuss how the country can build resilience and social cohesion into fisheries by incorporating women and their knowledge into village fishery management. In the process, the health of river ecosystems and food security will improve, while women fishers will acquire new skills to help them avoid ‘poverty traps.’

Download the paper here

EAF-Nansen project publishes gender audit

Training on board R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen in Myanmar, 2015. Photo: EAF-Nansen photogallery.

Training on board R/V Dr Fridtjof Nansen in Myanmar, 2015. Photo: EAF-Nansen photogallery.

The 34 year old series of FAO-Norwegian fisheries projects based on capacity building and use of the Research Vessel (R/V) Dr Fridtjof Nansen has released the report of its first gender audit. The latest phase of the Nansen work is based on the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), hence the need to take a much more concerted look at how gender equity figures in its work. It is heartening to see the EAF-Nansen project take this in-depth look at gender.

The report, “Gender Audit and Recommendations for Mainstreaming Gender in the EAF-Nansen Project,” was written by Ceciel Brugere, based on her analyses, surveys and interviews with project partners. It concludes that:

Despite its numerous achievements, the EAF-Nansen project so far has missed opportunities to mainstream a gender perspective in its design and implementation. This is … due in large part to the fact that gender awareness is assumed to exist and gender dimensions taken ‘naturally’ into account, and to the fact that much of the EAF guidance relied upon by the project does not give much prominence to the gender dimensions of fisheries management.

The audit makes 19 fundamental and achievable recommendations, aimed at improving:

  1. the overall depth of attention given to ‘human’ issues in fisheries management to ensure that gender is included in these, both in capacity development and in the studies underpinning fisheries management, and
  2. its reporting, monitoring and evaluation.

As part of its data gathering, the audit canvassed country partner views on gender matters, including on how they would like to see gender capacity building delivered at individual and institutional levels, giving good guidance to institutional leaders.2015 gender audit EAF Report No 24 COMPLETE 27feb15

The next steps in how the EAF-Nansen project takes up these challenges will be interesting to follow. Its pre-eminent position in the developing regions in which it works can have wide ranging impact.