UN Agencies Agree On Plan To Advance Rural Women’s Rights In Caribbean

(CMC) – Three United Nations (UN) agencies have signed a two-year joint work plan to accelerate progress in gender equality and the empowerment of rural women in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

UN Women said it has collaborated with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in signing the agreement.

“Rural women face multiple obstacles to gaining independence and economic stability. In crises, rural women are most affected by poor access to resources, services, and information, the heavy burden of unpaid household and care work, and discriminatory traditional social norms,” UN Women said, adding that globally, rural women represent one-third of the population and 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force.

FAO said women account for more than 20 per cent of agricultural employment in LAC.

The action plan proposed by these three UN agencies is structured around two areas, namely high-level political and policy advocacy to accelerate the reduction of the gender gap in access to productive resources to achieve food and nutritional security in LAC, within the framework of Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger) and 5 (Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment).

The second priority is to promote rural coverage of care services, sexual and reproductive health, and gender-based violence in the region and the production of data and information on rural women in the framework of agri-food systems, incorporating data on their physical, economic, and decision-making autonomy.

UN Women said the joint work will be developed with an intersectional approach, prioritising indigenous peoples and afro-descendants, age and human mobility factors, and mobilising resources necessary to make joint actions feasible in the territories and communities.

“The collaboration between FAO, UN Women, and UNFPA will contribute to addressing gender inequalities and food and nutrition insecurity, complementing actions that support the empowerment processes of rural women in Latin America and the Caribbean,” said FAO assistant director-general and regional representative for LAC, Mario Lubetkin.

“We will work together to reduce gender gaps in access to productive resources, improve women’s economic autonomy and climate resilience, and achieve more sustainable and inclusive agrifood systems throughout the region,” he added.

UN Women Deputy Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean, Cecilia Alemany, said the action plan with FAO and UNFPA is “aligned with UN Women’s regional strategy to achieve economic autonomy and access to comprehensive care systems for rural women in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“For UN Women, it is essential that all efforts by governments in the region to reduce poverty, inequality, and hunger, as well as productive, agrifood and environmental policies, incorporate a gender perspective and address the discrimination faced particularly by rural, indigenous, Afro-descendant and women in mobility situations,” she said.