Manual for Addressing Gender Issues in Environmental Impact Assessment/Initial Environmental Examination for Hydropower Projects
The purpose of this manual is to recommend various approaches, actions, and strategies to assist developers in improving gender involvement in hydropower development. This manual is designed primarily to help integrate gender issues as one of the essential components of social considerations, including public involvement strategies, in the EIA/IEE practice. The ultimate goal is to make IEEs and EIAs more effective and thus save the developer time and money.
This manual will help project developers and other stakeholders to achieve the following:
Promote the concept of integrating gender issues into the EIA/IEE process.
Help raise local public awareness and encourage public participation for increased
involvement of local representatives and other local authorities and other community groups4 and local organizations in all phases of project design and development.
Encourage skills training for local women's groups.
Encourage and facilitate women's involvement by sensitizing women stakeholders
groups in decision-making, by enhancing their capabilities to participate actively in all phases of hydropower development of the most vulnerable social groups, especially women, children, unemployed youth, indigenous peoples, social minorities, the disabled, the very poor, etc.
Encourage the involvement of the women members of the political community, especially among women members of parliament, and local political groups.
Assist local authorities (DDCs, VDCs) and women representatives of committees, including local consultative forums (LCFs) and compensation fixation committees (CFCs), to be fully involved, informed, and capable of conducting resettlement as well as infrastructure planning, and rehabilitation, and other activities associated with the EIA/IEE implementation of hydropower development.
The consideration of gender issues in the implementation of hydropower projects is crucial for their sustainability. Hydropower development projects are likely to produce profound environmental consequences. Whether the effects are beneficial or adverse, they will affect the lives of all segments of the population, i.e. women and men of all castes and ethnicity living in the project area. In many cases the effects and benefits of the implementation of hydropower projects are not equitable. The adverse effects of project implementation mainly affect lives of women and the vulnerable castes and ethnic groups, whereas men tend to reap the most of the benefits. Thus, the basic objective of addressing and integrating gender issues into project implementation is to bring equitable distribution of benefits to both sexes and to vulnerable groups. If development is for all, then gender issues must be addressed and their participation should be encouraged when and where possible.