CERE member Camilla Widmark gave a keynote on the gender situation in the Swedish forest sector at the 44rd session of the UN committee on Food Security (CFS44) on October 9th. Camilla stressed the importance of understanding the reasons to why forest owners own forest and the difference between male and female forest owners.

Photo: FAO Giulio NapolitanoGlobally, it is estimated that 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. Forests are safety nets for poor and rural communities where people can collect firewood and food, and it is often women who perform these forest-related chores. In this context, gender can be used as a cross-cutting issue to address the importance of forests for food security. In Sweden, 38 % of the private forest is owned by women, while globally they are underrepresented in governing positions and ownership. When women are excluded from the process of taking decisions in a family or a community, the negative consequences are multiple, including a decrease in food and nutrition security. Can Sweden work for sustainable management of the forest landscape, together with the objectives of equality and women’s empowerment, support sustainable development in the world?

The CFS side event “Feminism, Forests and Food Security - and women's important role in the development of sustainable managment of the forest landscape as well as the importance of forests for food supply globally” was organized by the Swedish government and SLU. The event focused on the sometimes ignored role of women in forest resource management. Gender roles play an important part in regulating access to resources. The event focused on the role of women, to emphasize the importance of forests for food security in the poorest and most vulnerable areas of the world.

Peter Holmgren (CIFOR) moderated the session and Camilla Widmark (SLU) gave the keynote. In the panel: Cecilia Nordin van Gansberghe (Senior Advisor at the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation), Lennart Ackzell (Federation of Swedish Family Forest Owners)
Kerstin Johnsson Cissé (SIDA), Linda Andersson (Vi Agroforestry), and Marlene Elias (Bioversity International).

Camilla Widmark is also one of the authors of the HLPE (High Level Panel of Experts) report on Forests and Food Security and Nutrition for this year's CFS. The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition was established in 2010 as the science-policy interface of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The HLPE aims to improve the robustness of policy making by providing independent, evidence-based analysis and advice at the request of CFS.

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