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FEATURE STORYDecember 8, 2022

Lessons learned in promoting gender equity in the Amazon

Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program

Members of the Association for the Integral and Sustainable Development of the Amazonian Pearl (ADISPA), Colombia. Photo: José Luis Osorio Sánchez/ASL-World Bank/CIFOR.


  • Women play an important role as agents of change within their communities, making valuable contributions to the protection and care of the environment.
  • In order to analyze the gender gaps present in conservation and sustainable development initiatives in the Amazon region and identify solutions to address them, the Amazon Sustainable Landscapes regional Project produced the “Women's Solutions: Lessons for Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Amazon” study.
  • The study presents five recommendations to promote gender equity in conservation and sustainable development interventions in the Amazon.

Women play an important role as agents of change within their communities, making valuable contributions to the protection and care of the environment. They are also more likely to have a livelihood activity directly derived from natural resources or from sectors more vulnerable to climate change, such as agriculture and forestry.

This is also a reality in the Amazon, one of the most diverse places on the planet and home to 47 million people with multiple cultures, nationalities, perspectives, and realities. Amid this diversity, women and men, young people, and older adults, participate in different ways in decision-making regarding the management of natural resources, and have different levels of access and control over natural resources and derivative benefits. These differences —and common inequities— also generate inequalities in the vulnerability and resilience that women and men have in the face of environmental risks.

To analyze the gender gaps present in conservation and sustainable development initiatives in the region and identify solutions to address them, between 2020 and 2022 the Women's Solutions Study: Lessons for Conservation and Development was carried out. This a product of the Amazon Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) program, financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and under the leadership of the World Bank. The study was conducted in partnership with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR),  identifying the enabling conditions, lessons and strategies that can lead to effective reduction of  gender gaps in terms of participation in decision-making, access and control over natural resources, and over socioeconomic benefits.

Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program

Photo: Diogo Nonato / ASL-Banco Mundial / CIFOR

The study included 6 cases in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru selected to represent a diverse group of women who participated and led conservation and sustainable development initiatives. These women overcame gender barriers, contributed with new perspectives, led sustainable enterprises, and mobilized changes towards strengthening and improving the benefits for their communities with equal opportunities. 

The results of the study were shared and validated in each country and at the regional level in an event organized in Lima, Peru with the attendance of the participant women. As part of the products, graphic stories were produced and validated at these workshops. The publication officially launched with a virtual event on October 25, Women who participated in the study had the opportunity to share their experiences and lessons learned. Watch the recording and presentations of the event (in Spanish and Portuguese).

The study showed that the participation of these women in the various activities had and has a positive synergistic impact with other women. The cases studied also demonstrated that openly recognizing women’s role within their communities, and actively promoting their participation are essential to guarantee that their perspectives are taken into account when making decisions regarding the management of natural resources.

Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program
Haydeé Cajacuri, Coffee farmer in Pasco, Peru. Photo: Marlon del Águila / ASL-Banco Mundial / CIFOR


Now us women recognize our role (...) I tell our girls: empower yourselves, move forward, and follow after us so that we continue to improve to be better we are today
Haydeé Cajacuri
Coffee farmer in Pasco, Peru

As a result of this recognition, new opportunities emerged that expanded their rights over their access and control over resources, as well as opportunities to assume leadership roles. Positive leadership had a catalytic effect other women including youth. 

I am happy to be able to show other people that if we set our minds to it, we can achieve it. We can have the participation of young people who will teach other people and their children so that in the future, our culture is not lost.
Maria Alexander
Leader of Teçume da Floresta, in Brazil

The various ways in which women improved the socioeconomic benefits from the management of natural resources were evidenced. Several women in these groups mobilized to form novel ventures taking advantage of previously little-recognized local traditional skills.

We have to go on and look for the women who are hidden, but who have wonderful talents. We must continue to grow this army, which is an army for the guard of the Amazon.
Matilde Acevedo
Leader of the Association of Community Action Boards of El Capricho (Asocapricho) in Colombia

The study highlights five recommendations to adopt gender-sensitive approaches to ensure that the needs, priorities, knowledge, and realities of men and women are recognized and consistently addressed. These recommendations are also recorded in the video prepared for the study.


Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program

We hope that the analysis and recommendations made by the study enrich the approaches carried out by the ASL and its national projects, and be an example and input for other initiatives in the region.
Ana María González Velosa
Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank and coordinator of the ASL program

The “Women's Solutions: Lessons for Conservation and Development” study and executive summary are available in Spanish.


The Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program (ASL) is a regional initiative financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and led by the World Bank, which supports collaborative efforts in seven countries to improve integrated landscape management and ecosystem conservation in priority areas of the Amazon. The program's approach ensures that national projects can achieve greater impacts by working together than if they were implemented in isolation. This model allows national project teams and other partners to learn from each other and become part of a network of institutions and people who coordinate to achieve a common goal, share their ideas and best practices, and align efforts to safeguard the future. of the Amazon. The ASL program seeks to connect people and institutions to connect landscapes.


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