COMIFAC ad hoc gender committee takes new lease on life...


Develop a platform for dialogue and exchanges on gender issues in order to support COMIFAC in mainstreaming gender into all initiatives relating to the conservation and sustainable management of the Congo Basin forests; such was the main objective of COMIFAC’s ad hoc gender committee revamp workshop which took place in MBALMAYO, Cameroon, from November 24 to 25, 2014.

After several months, COMIFAC’s Gender ad hoc committee resumed its activities notably with the revamp workshop hosted by the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat with financial support from GIZ. The workshop was chaired by the Deputy Executive Secretary of COMIFAC who in his opening remarks recounted the genesis of the ad hoc committee, its activities and progress achieved on gender within COMIFAC. "The Convergence Plan has placed gender among its priorities including the development of a gender strategy as a framework to govern all forest ecosystem management initiatives in the Congo Basin," he underscored. He also called on the participants to propose concrete measures to come up with a roadmap that would focus on the actions needed to help develop a sub-regional gender strategy.

In addition to the representatives of the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat, the workshop was attended by representatives of the Women’s Action Network for Sustainable Development (REFADD), the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF) the African Model Forest Network (AMFN), CIFOR and GIZ. The workshop was moderated by Ms Julienne TSANGUE, a consultant specialized in gender issues, supported by COMIFAC’s gender expert. The deliberations focused on the nature of COMIFAC’s ad hoc gender committee, reviewing the Executive Committee’s mandate and the project’s mission statement, as well as a review of the draft TOR on the sub-regional Gender strategy and development of a roadmap.

Several presentations were made and each of the points raised helped to: (i) make an update on the capitalization of various activities conducted by COMIFAC in the area of gender mainstreaming into policies and programs; (ii) define a framework for the institution; (iii) validate the TOR of draft engagement letters and of the strategy; (iv) prioritize future activities with a well defined calendar and duration.

After two days of deliberations, the workshop achieved its objectives with the development of a roadmap for the implementation of the ad hoc gender committee’s activities. Thus, it was decided that the Committee should maintain its ad hoc status within COMIFAC’s institutional system, led by the Gender expert acting as Senior Coordinator. As for the validation of the TOR of the subregional gender strategy, the participants simply referred the matter to the Executive Secretariat for further clarification on the methodological approach.

The closing speech was delivered by the GIZ representative who expressed satisfaction with the smooth running of the workshop and encouraged everyone to get fully involved in the implementation of the roadmap which had been developed.

By way of reminder, the ad hoc committee has already conducted several and information and training workshops as well as seminars on gender mainstreaming issues in the natural resources and forestry sector since its establishment in 2011. Some of these activities included studies carried out respectively with CIDA support on «COMIFAC’s draft gender strategy" and with GIZ support on "gender analysis as part of GIZ’s COMIFAC support project'. "Similarly, a thematic day devoted to gender was organized in March 2013 on the sidelines of the meeting of CBFP partners. The main conclusions of various workshops and seminars held stressed the need to develop a subregional gender strategy for COMIFAC.

For more information, please visit COMIFAC’s official website

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