Celebrating Women in Conservation to Achieve GBF Target 23

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At the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 in Montreal, Canada, governments adopted a new Gender Plan of Action and a historic Target 23!
This plan recognizes that the full and effective participation and leadership of women and girls will be key to implementing an equitable and ambitious Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

The historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework commits countries to implementing national plans that can halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity, support climate action, and help achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

In this context, with the support of our project, WWF, CARE, and World Vision International organized a webinar attended by 200 participants to celebrate the International Women’s Day.

This online event emphasized the crucial importance of women’s leadership in biodiversity conservation processes, and highlighted best practices and local success stories contributing to women’s socio-economic empowerment and the achievement of positive conservation results.

Sandra Valenzuela de Narvaez, CEO WWF Columbia, launched the webinar by addressing a strong message“Women empowerment is fundamental for the environmental and the humanitarian agenda. Target 23 of the GBF is a big win for the nature-positive agenda.

Implementing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework requires the creation of new solutions to many of the obstacles that must be overcome. Indeed, transformative change requires inclusive, equitable, and gender-responsive decision-making.

Key speakers included, Kirsten Schuijt, WWF Director General, Sofia Sprechmann, CARE Secretary General and Mrilanili Rai, Women for Biodiversity Executive Director, CBD Women Caucus.


Kirsten Schuijt, Director General at WWF Internationnal, advocated for women’s full and effective participation in decision-making processes in order to prioritize gender and human rights in biodiversity conservation. “Involving women in decision-making leads to better natural resource governance, management and conservation outcomes. Addressing gender inequality means addressing the structural factors that undermine environmental sustainability. It is a conservation imperative.”

Sofia Sprechmann, Secretary General of CARE International, addressed the Nexus of humanitarian and environmental crisis: “Women are often the key to create lasting solutions.”

She stressed again the importance of the joint nature positive advocacy done in Montreal. “Care is proud of having participated to the Nature and People positive movement. Governments must now put gender justice and social justice at the center of the GBF implementation. Rhetoric is nothing without action.”

Sofia Sprechmann, Secretary General of CARE International. © WWF

This is the first time that a Rio Convention adopts a target on gender equality with a strong Gender Plan of Action to support the GBF effective implementation at national and local levels.

“Target 23 is a big win for us. Gender Equality is for the first time ever in any of the Rio Conventions. This has hopefully set the tone for other Rio Conventions and other MEAs.” reminded Mrilanili Rai, Women4biodiversity.


 This is a major achievement, but a systemic change is urgently needed to ensure the effective implementation of the plan of Action.

“Valuing the role of women and girls in climate action and including them in the solutions is vital because they are the most at risk from the nature loss” said Mona Stella Mariano from World Vision. We ensure active participation by providing safe space for woman and girls. The trends we see is the increasing participation of women and girls in communities and valuing the role that women and girls play in climate action.” she added.

Mona Stella Mariano, World Vision. © WWF

Ensuring equal participation of men and women in natural resource management groups and community consultation activities is needed to support the development of appropriate rules and promote better compliance, equitable engagement for both social equity and nature loss reduction. As an example, Chickwe Mweeda, Country Director of Care Zambia, highlighted projects that develop nature-positive livelihood with women. “We’re moving to a more transformative change when we see woman at the center of their development.”

Chickwe Mweeda, Country Director, Care Zambia. © WWF

Kirsten Schuijt, Director General at WWF Internationnal concluded by: “We proactively look for partners that are not nature conservation organizations. We actively need to partner with these organizatons to get it right when it comes to gender equality.”

Kirsten Schuijt, Director General at WWF Internationnal. © WWF

“Nature remains a constant source of wonder. Today, the GBF is a source of inspiration for humanity action. Women will be source of mobilisation for a whole of society movement. Here and there. For Nature and People.” declared Corinne Brunois, Engagement & Partnerships Senior Advisor of the Post 2020 Biodiversity-EU Support project.

“Our project is fully committed to support ensuring that  women and girls are at the core of transformative actions to implement the Kunming-Montreal GBF. This is absolutely essential if we are to transform our societies to live in harmony with nature.” stated Hugo Rivera Mendoza, Team Leader of the Post 2020 Biodiversity-EU Support project.

Watch the webinar replay here

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