CMEMP and the HGDG: Marrying Gender Diversity and Biodiversity


Gender matters to CMEMP

The Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) is currently implementing the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program (CMEMP) with the main objective of holistically addressing the drivers of coastal and marine biodiversity degradation. With respect to Gender and Development (GAD), and being one of the priority programs of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, CMEMP is bound to ensure fair and equitable participation of women and men in all coastal and marine activities to achieve sustainable natural resources.

The Harmonized Gender & Development Guidelines (HGDG), developed by the Philippine Commission on Women, is a tool used to ensure programs and projects undertaken by the government are gender-sensitive and gender-responsive. This tool provides guidance in preparing GAD Plans and Budget and in identifying strategies to address gender gaps and issues. To facilitate the engendering of CMEMP, the Coastal and Marine Division of DENR-BMB conducted a two-day online orientation for its DENR regional and field offices on November 10-11, 2022. Attendees were composed of 94 males and 220 females (representing 70% female participation).

Gender and Biodiversity

According to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2020 Guidebook in Addressing Gender Issues and Actions in Biodiversity Objectives, the roles and responsibilities of men and women in the management of biodiversity, and the ability to participate in decision-making, vary between and within countries and cultures. However, in most circumstances there are gender-based differences and inequalities, which tend to favor males across the globe. Various gender differences are evident in economic opportunities and access to and control over land, biodiversity resources and other productive assets, in decision-making power, as well as in vulnerability to biodiversity loss, climate change and natural disasters.

To be able to develop gender-responsive policies on biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and sharing of its benefits, program implementers need to understand and bring to light gender-differentiated biodiversity practices, gendered knowledge acquisition and usage, as well as gender inequalities in control over these resources. There is a need to consider how gender influences conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and ways in which inequalities influence how women and men are affected by biodiversity policies, planning and programming. It’s time to go out of the box.

CMEMP Moving Forward

This CMEMP-HGDG orientation aimed to help CMEMP implementers and partners to realize increased participation of women, youth, and gender minorities in the complete planning cycle, and decision making towards the sustainable management of our country’s environment and natural resources. After all, CMEMP is committed to be a platform not just for gender sensitivity and responsiveness, but also for gender transformation.

It was underscored during the event that the absence of a Gender Analysis in government programs may pose a high risk of failure, and even exacerbate gender inequality. At present, Gender Analysis remains one of the primary concerns of CMEMP as it is key in documenting and addressing gender issues in program sites comprehensively. With this, the collection of sex and gender data is in a time of great demand to jumpstart the program-wide gender analysis. Consequently, these data and future information shall provide all concerned stakeholders with a perspective of the coastal and marine sector’s gender landscape.

Moving forward, continuous development of Biodiversity-Friendly Enterprises, Gender Sensitivity Training Needs Assessment for program implementers, and strengthened engagement of stakeholders, including women, youth, indigenous peoples and cultural communities, are among the many actions aimed at addressing related issues on gender inequality. It is therefore reassured that the Bureau remains committed to further explore mechanisms to improve the Program’s performance in gender mainstreaming and address related issues and concerns, through the help of the HGDG.


“The environment, after all, is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest. It is one thing that all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.”

— Lady Bird Johnson



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  CMEMP Resource Speakers with Participants via face to face


Participants of the CMEMP HGDG Orientation via zoom app