Gender, forest management and climate policy in Burkina Faso


Westholm L.

This study is part of ongoing collaboration between the University of Gothenburg and CIFOR to develop indicators or ways to measure impacts from Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) interventions in Burkina Faso. Focus will lie on different ways of analyzing impacts on time use and division of labor for natural resources. The division of labor can provide a useful measure of inequality or changing gender roles. It is also crucial for highlighting the intersection of natural resources and gender relations. Analyzing gendered divisions of labor will serve as input into a discussion of how policy processes related to natural resource management can take gender issues into account in a meaningful way.

The REDD+ program in Burkina Faso aims to modify and expand an existing participatory forest management scheme, which gives local forest management groups the right to manage State forests. The focus is on extraction of fuelwood that is sold in urban areas. With the REDD+ program, cutting quotas will be reduced and more attention is to be paid to alternative sources of incomes such as non-timber forest products (NTFPs). Certain NTFPs are predominantly collected and processed by women. Because of this, there seems to be expectations among donors that women will play an active part in the REDD+ program and in protecting the forests. However, little is know about how the participatory forest management scheme has affected gender relations to date. In the first stages of Burkina Faso’s REDD+ program, development gender is reduced to a technical matter and issues of power are ignored. Women are expected to participate because there are potential economic benefits, but the consequences of their participation in terms of time use, burden of labor and responsibility for household chores etc. are not mentioned in the project documents.

The aim of this project is twofold: to explore in what way gender relations and forest management are intertwined in rural Burkina Faso; and develop and test relevant methods for collecting and analyzing data on these relations as well as how they might change in the context of climate change policy interventions in Burkina Faso. Data collection methods will include household surveys, individual interviews and participant observation. An important part of the analysis will be the methodological discussion, aimed at developing appropriate tools for bringing gender issues into the policy process.

To learn more about this project, contact  Lisa Westholm,