Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS and Gender into Environmental Assessments
What is the project about?
The Governance Unit in UNDP has partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) to assist with the integration of health and social issues into environmental impact assessments (EIA). This project seeks to help the ministry and related stakeholders identify the gaps within existing environmental policies and to mainstream HIV/AIDS and gender-sensitive dimensions into existing policies and legislation as well as the planning phases for major capital projects across Namibia.
When a capital project commences in any society, provisions and planning usually gravitate around the biophysical. Currently within Namibia, environmental monitoring, compliance monitoring, and auditing for capital projects is controlled by the developer, with little regard for the social and health consequences of a given project on a given community. In a context such as Namibia however, where issues of HIV/AIDS and gender inequality remain prominent, neglecting these social and other broader occupational health issues can be counter-productive to national development.
Since 2011, the governance and environment units have worked together to fully engage the Ministry of Environment and Tourism on practical mainstreaming of HIV and Gender into EIAs. In 2013 the country office focused on advocacy among policy makers, training of EIA practitioners using the newly developed generic EIA guidelines, and application of the barometer to assess the extent to which integration has occurred. UNDP held three consecutive workshops with key stakeholders.
While the first two workshops focused primarily on advocacy, training, and briefing of stakeholders, to inform them of existing gaps in the legislative framework, and the need to address these issues, the final workshop held on July 19 2013 focused on applying the EIA Barometer which is a self-assessment tool. The “Barometer” is a unique tool that has been used in other African countries to monitor the environmental management practices and policies in 10 African countries. Legislation analysis, inclusion of social and health issues in the Namibian environment system, government functioning, and EIA assessments were the primary topics of the assessment. During the assessment, participants were asked a series of 35 questions on the Barometer and were then asked to score the practice in the context of Namibia. Once the scores were compiled and the gaps acknowledged, participants were then asked to come up with an Action Plan suggesting how best to improve identified gaps within the current environmental management systems in the country as well as how to better integrate issues of gender equality and HIV/AIDS into the EA processes. Namibia scored 54.05% which made it fairly equal to five other countries in the sub-region that have so far implemented the Barometer.
What is the aims of the project?
The aim of this initiative is to ensure full integration of HIV and Gender issues into policies and guidelines governing EIAs by 2014. Countries in the sub-region are encouraged to continue using the barometer bi annually to ensure full implementation of HIV and Gender issues in EIAs. The main issues to be addressed are (1) customization and implementation of the generic EIA, guidelines (2) Training of EIA practitioners, (3) Integration of HIV and Gender Issues into policies, guidelines, and legislation governing EIA processes. (4) Getting buy in from stakeholders on the broader integration process.
Through this project, developers and stakeholders will be sure to limit and prevent the potential spread of HIV/AIDS and gender inequalities before they have the opportunity to flourish. By strengthening the capacity of MET to mainstream HIV/AIDS and gender into EIAs, the UNDP country office helps to contribute to goals outlined in the National Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS in the country and support coordination of HIV and AIDS mitigation efforts for the Environment and Tourism sector under the National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS Response in Namibia 2010/11- 2015/16.
Who finances the project?
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