PCW, DENR ink deal to integrate  gender perspectives in environmental management programs

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) vow to work together in pursuing gender equality and women’s empowerment in the environment sector. In a virtual signing ceremony on October 29, 2021, the two parties forged a partnership which aims to fully mainstream Gender and Development (GAD) in DENR’s programs, activities, and projects.

Focusing on capacitating GAD movers in the DENR and issuance of GAD policies, the formal partnership is a  result of various meetings and consultations that began in May 2021. This will aid in ensuring that  gender perspectives are integrated in  environmental concerns, such as environmental management, disasters, calamities, and other situations, pursuant to Section 10 of the Magna Carta of Women (RA 9710).

PCW Executive Director Atty. Kristine Rosary E. Yuzon-Chaves underscored the role of DENR in bringing about gender-responsive programs that interweave gender and environment concerns.

“PCW commits to support DENR in your gender mainstreaming journey so that implementation will go beyond compliance and more importantly,  ensure the gender responsiveness of the agency’s programs, projects, activities, and services (PAPS), so that these will redound to e positive impacts on the lives of its duty bearers and clients, especially on women and girls,” Yuzon-Chaves stated.

Atty. Yuzon-Chaves and DENR Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change Atty. Analiza Rebuelta-Teh signed the agreement, with PCW Sectoral Coordination Division Chief GAD Specialist Dr. Macario T. Jusayan and DENR Climate Change Service Director Elenida Dr. Basug as witnesses. Atty. Rebuelta-Teh chairs the National Gender Focal Point System of the agency, while Director Basug serves as concurrent Director of the DENR Gender and Development Office.

In her commitment message,   Atty. Rebuelta-Teh expressed optimism on how the partnership can influence DENR’s  efforts to mainstream gender, their use of gender analysis tools, as well as their utilization of the GAD budget.

“The partnership is bound to change the way we, in DENR, think and go about assessing the state and requirements of gender mainstreaming , prioritizing those that warrant attention from both agencies,” Atty. Rebuelta-Teh said.

Key features of the agreement

Dr. Jusayan elaborated on the key areas of collaboration laid down in the agreement. The focus is on GAD capacity development and provision of technical assistance on GAD Agenda formulation as well as integrating gender perspectives in the ENR Academy Supervisory and Management Courses. Under the inked deal, PCW can also provide technical inputs on GAD-related policies to be issued by DENR, to guarantee that these are developed and implemented with gender perspectives.

“We are working closely with DENR for inputs on how to enhance  the draft  GAD agenda    to make it more comprehensive and  become more useful  for your annual GAD Planning and Budgeting exercise,” Jusayan shared.  

For its part, DENR must lead and organize GAD activities under the partnership, institute monitoring mechanisms on its GAD efforts, and sustain its GAD capacity development programs to strengthen its personnel’s capability towards providing GAD-related technical assistance to all DENR units.

The partnership will serve as a key in addressing remaining gender gaps in the environment sector, including: (1) lack of capacity of GFPS members and program implementers to fully integrate gender perspectives in agency projects, activities and programs; (2) low utilization of the budget to implement GAD-related programs, activities and projects as stipulated under Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women; and (3) need to ensure gender-responsiveness of capacity development modules for environment and natural resources officers, especially for supervisors and managers who will have the responsibility to address gender issues in environmental management concerns.

Jumping straight to the objective after the ceremonial signing, PCW and DENR dived into the discussion of the DENR GAD Agenda Proposed Enhancements by  Ms. Michelle Ann A. Ruiz, PCW GAD Specialist II and Ms. Marianne Kristine V. Delgado, PCW Supervising GAD Specialist. Ms. Mildred Corral, PCW Senior GAD Specialist,  continued the second part of the technical assistance that focused on Clarification to the GAD mainstreaming assessment results of the DENR for 2018-2020, using the Gender Mainstreaming and Evaluation Framework (GMEF) tool.

In closing, PCW Deputy Executive Director for Operations Kristine G. Balmes applauded the initiatives of DENR on GAD, especially in formulating the GAD Agenda and  in assessing gender mainstreaming performance through the GMEF tool.

“As your partner towards gender-responsive governance, PCW will continue to assist and provide the needed GAD-related technical assistance now that our partnership is  made official.  This is just an initial step towards ensuring gender-responsiveness in  environmental management in support of the country’s development goals,” DD Balmes said.

On the part of DENR, Director Basug committed to facilitating equal participation of women and men in environmental management interventions.

“As we thread further in our vision towards a resilient nation  with ecological integrity in mind, we remain steadfast in our endeavors that women and men are mobilized in protecting, preserving, and managing the environment and natural resources for our present and future generations,” Basug enthused. 

The PCW-DENR partnership is set until October 31, 2022, subject to extension or renewal of both partners.