Gender research making a difference

How fair is fair trade to women and marginalized people? A study commissioned by Fairtrade International to assess how effectively Fairtrade initiatives address gender equality revealed that fair markets alone are not enough to motivate gender- equitable benefit sharing. Value chain interventions must also be supported by affirmative actions to both build capacity and create opportunities, such as niche marketing for women’s products, within producer organizations.

At a COP 25 side event sponsored by CIFOR, ICRAF and RECOFTC, experts unpacked the reasons why gender is often treated superficially in climate finance – despite potential synergies between gender equality and sustainable climate action. CIFOR was also invited to support capacity-building efforts mandated under the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan; CIFOR scientist Houria Djoudi facilitated discussions among members of the recently established Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples platform and spoke on gender power relationships in a podcast.

And research on the possibility of leveraging climate finance for advancing gender equality and poverty reduction in Indonesia assessed the strengths and weaknesses of five different financial mechanisms with the potential to channel climate funding.

Remembering Esther Mwangi

In her 10 years at CIFOR before an untimely death in 2019, principal scientist and Nairobi hub leader Esther Mwangi left a legacy of achievements through her research on gender and land rights in countries across the tropics. Known for her strong sense of justice and comprehensive approach to research, she led the development of a survey for a comparative study on gender and tenure in Uganda, studied benefit-sharing arrangements in REDD+, and co-authored a series of ‘how to’ notes on gender and joint forest and water resource governance in Kenya, drawn from her research on the water towers of East Africa. She laid the foundations for CIFOR and FTA’s research on gender, and established gender integration throughout all research divisions and teams at CIFOR.

She really drove home the importance of gender in forestry. We shared the same dry sense of humor and love of elephants. Esther left us far too early.

Robert Nasi

Director General, CIFOR

Forests in a
time of crises


In 2019, the world witnessed some of our greatest challenges shift gears from urgent to emergency – from climate crisis to landscape degradation to the wildfires that devastated ecosystems across several continents. But it also saw momentum build with the announcement of the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration, a focus on nature-based solutions, and the recognition of local forest communities and Indigenous Peoples are the best land managers for forest conservation.

Another exciting development – the merger of CIFOR and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) – set the stage for more evidence and solutions that will improve people’s lives, help to conserve and restore the ecosystems that support people and nature, and respond to the global climate crisis.

Our scientists advanced critical knowledge on forest landscape restoration, wild foods and timber legality in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and peatland fires, biofuel, oil palm and wetland ‘blue carbon’ in Indonesia – with clear policy impacts in Southeast Asia from 10 years of social forestry research and engagement. Our ongoing Global Comparative Studies – GCS REDD+ and GCS Tenure – continued to bring science to policy makers across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Gender researchers looked deep into a myriad of topics, and we mourned the loss of principal scientist and Nairobi hub leader Esther Mwangi, whose legacy of achievements in gender and land rights won’t be soon forgotten. Finally the Global Landscapes Forum brought even more people together, both at events from Accra to Luxembourg as well as through exciting new digital innovations.