The Access Initiative

The TAI Gender Working Group has been formed!

By Carolina Tamagnini, Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies (FUNDEPS)

Gender issues impact access to information and public participation in sector specific topics such as climate, agriculture, water, and forest governance policies and regulations. Also, achieving sustainable development will only be possible when all people are heard and involved equally. This includes ensuring the effective participation of women, almost half of the world’s population.

In this context, TAI has formed the Gender Working Group with the aim to develop a more comprehensive gender integration strategy. The group will provide new opportunities for joint work and develop strategies for gender mainstreaming for organizational members of TAI.

Based on the responses obtained from a survey of TAI members about gender dimensions of access rights, carried out by the TAI Secretariat, it emerged that there is a strong interest in gender issues and a prevalence of gendered projects. For that reason, the group was created to promote the development of a gender-responsive approach for the diversity of TAI partners. At the moment, the group is led by Olimpia Castillo from Comunicación y Educación Ambiental (México) and Elizabeth Moses from, TAI Secretariat, WRI, with the participation of Carolina Tamagnini from the Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies (FUNDEPS, Argentina) and Natalie Elwell, WRI’s Senior Gender Advisor.

The strategy of the Gender Working Group, rooted in the results of the survey, is focused on four objectives: catalyze transformative change in policy and practice; building alliances; making the case through research and evidence based advocacy; and building capacity. The group will achieve these objectives through the following strategies:

  • Knowledge and information sharing: to facilitate and promote learning across the network, sharing resources and documents useful for partners such as best practice case studies or TAI project outcomes and methodologies that incorporate gender mainstreaming. TAI will also organize webinars and workshops on tools and approaches that expand the gender-sensitive perspective in our work.
  • Fundraising Support: to strengthen the TAI network and have better incorporation of a gendered perspective, TAI will help identify and secure fundraising resources. This will be carried out by identifying and sharing funder organizations and opportunities and facilitating the development of joint proposals across partners.
  • Support research and evidence based advocacy: to ensure that gender issues are appropriately reflected in international and national policies, as well as in key events and forums TAI will carry out activities, such as supporting development and incorporation of a gendered disaggregated data into TAI’s current tools and research methodologies; identify and prioritize collaboration opportunities to use partners work; and support the incorporation in gender perspective in the development and implementation of policies.

The Gender Working Group is an opportunity to advance more gender-sensitive work and provide tools for producing gender disaggregated data, strategies to advocate for policies with gender perspective, or the strengthening of equitable engagement process working with communities.

Since TAI is a global network of a wide variety of national and local partners, we are calling all interested organizations from all TAI regions to join. The diversity that the platform can provide turns the group into a unique forum for dialogue and exchange of ideas around gender and environmental democracy, as well as a platform to develop robust gender-based strategies.

In the Sustainable Development Goals, the 5th includes that stated goal to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” This goal aims at empowering women and promoting gender equality because is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also has a multiplier effect across all other development areas. So is ensuring that the knowledge, skills, and abilities of both men and women can help inform meaningful environmental decision making. So, if you are already working with women or incorporating a gender perspective, join us! If not, join and learn with us how to work in a gender-responsive way!

2014 Global Gathering Outcome Report

Published: 2014

At the foot of the dark green mountains that surround Bogotá, Colombia, over 90 energetic access rights and forestry advocates spent three days learning from each other during the 2014 TAI Global Gathering. The Gathering created a space where new ideas mingled freely with established approaches, and veteran TAI members, new members and forest governance experts could build meaningful relationships. Held from October 29-31, 2014, the 2014 Global Gathering was the largest in TAI’s 13 year history and included participants from 42 countries. The event was sponsored by four WRI programs – The Access InitiativeGlobal Forest Watch, the Governance of Forests Initiative and the Land and Resource Rights Program – as well as the Open Society Foundation. Hosted by Colombian TAI member organization Asociación Ambiente y Sociedad, the conference was centered around the theme of “Using Information, Data and Technology to Protect Forests and Strengthen the Rights of Forest-Dependent Communities”. The innovative facilitation style of the Gathering capitalized on the strengths of this unique combination of participants was accompanied by an innovative facilitation strategy. Allen Gunn of Aspiration guided the participants through interactive sessions, which encouraged meaningful discussion and collaboration focused on concrete outcomes. The event agenda was shaped by participants on the first day of the event, and reflected common areas of interest and desired outcomes from the Gathering. The agenda retained significant flexibility to allow for new sessions to teach participants the specific skills they identified as most important to their work. The constant teaching/learning that defined the Gathering involved a skill share, dozens of interactive sessions and a ‘science fair’ where participants demonstrated their tools for effective monitoring and advocacy for access rights. The following tools were presented at the science fair: 1. Sarawak GeoPortal – Bruno Manser Fonds (Simon Kalin) 2. Open Development Cambodia – Open Development Cambodia (Terry Parnell) 3. Sapelli Mobile Tool – ExCites UCL (Gillian Conquest) 4. Pollution and Illegal Logging Maps – Digital Democracy (Gregor Maclennan) 5. GFW Commodities – Global Forest Watch (Benjamin Jones) 6. GFW Fires – Global Forest Watch (Rachael Petersen) 7.Development Alert! – Jamaica Environment Trust and The Access Initiative (Danielle Andrade, Carole Excell) 8. Environmental Democracy Index – The Access Initiative (Jesse Worker) 9. Indaba – Global Integrity (Monika Shepard) 10. Release and Transfer Registers – Environment People Law (Viktor Yurochko) 11. EIA Resource and Response Center – LIFE (Ritwick Dutta) 12.STRIPE – The Access Initiative (Elizabeth Moses) While the sessions were open to any and all who wanted to attend, the regional sessions on the last day created a space for a more structured conversation about specific network priorities. Led by the TAI Core Team members, these sessions divided participants by geographic region and produced a short list of regional priorities that will define the TAI network in the coming year(s). The regional sessions were followed by a Core Team Accountability Session, in which TAI members could ask questions and share opinions about the past and future network policies and activities. While building and cementing relationships formed the core of the Gathering, the thematic focus highlighted valuable approaches to work on access rights. The Global Gathering offered an opportunity to test the proposition that technology can revolutionize natural resource protection. Many of the sessions provoked discussions about innovative data and technology use, but also reminded participants that access to these new tools isn’t enough. Communities of practice like TAI are essential to supporting the effort to ensure that technologies with great potential are implemented well and have a positive impact. To build on the momentum and excitement created in Bogotá, the TAI Secretariat collected the principal ideas and outcomes into the 2014 Global Gathering Outcome Report. Please read through it to find more about what was discussed at the Gathering and the network’s plans for the future!

Membership Rules

The Access Initiative would like to announce its new membership rules which take effect on May 1, 2014. These rules were drafted by the Core Team, commented on by the network and, after incorporation of comments, approved by the Core Team.