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CSD NGO Women's Caucus

Earth Negotiations Bulletin Coverage

Statement by the CSD NGO Women’s Caucus, CSD-9 Intersessional / Transport

Delivered by Minu Hemmati, 07 March 2001

Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

I am speaking on behalf of the CSD NGO Women’s Caucus.

We would like to make a few comments, based on the outcomes of the international conference “Gender Perspectives for Earth Summit 2002: Energy, Transport, Information for Decision-Making”, held in Berlin in January 2001, hosted by the German Government and the Heinrich Boell Foundation.

The co-chairs summary of this conference is available in the back of the room. The full report will be available next week.

We very much welcome the mentioning of gender aspects, women’s issues and gender sensitive approaches in your paper “Elements for a Draft Decision on Transport”.

However, we feel that it would be useful to be more specific with regard to a number of points.

We would like to raise a few key issues that you might want to consider when finalizing the present draft’s general considerations:

Gender inequity with regard to transport is a global problem: Women have less access to convenient transport options than men in developing as well as developed countries. Transport planning is mostly based on men’s lives and men’s needs and current concepts of mobility correspond to men's rationality and men's values.

In many developing countries, women and girls are still carrying water and fuel wood every day, having no access to other means of transport even if there are (scarce) resources available in their communities. A 1997 study in Sweden, for example, showed that men use several times as much energy for transport purposes as women do – within the same age and income groups.

An important point is the question of equity and or versus environmental protection: Does creating gender equity mean to create the same mobility conditions for women as there are for men? Does global equity mean to close the gaps between developing and developed countries by increasing mobility in the developing world through introducing 'traditional', developed countries systems?

Rather, we would feel that addressing problems of mobility requires not only to ask how to increase access for the under-privileged but how to decrease consumption of the over-privileged. In our view, the Commissions discussions need to focus on issues of over-consumption, particularly in developed countries, as much as on creating equitable access to resources and services, particularly in developing countries.

Sustainable development of transport and mobility requires to significantly reduce the need to travel and to develop pro-active policies towards the re-integration of space, time and caring work. This requires policy shifts within all government departments at national and local levels.

Addressing gender dimensions within the framework of mobility is particularly important with regard to economic policy: the 'caring economy' – women’s work - needs to be integrated into economic analysis and policy-making as a core component, not an add-on. Women's unpaid caring activities form a crucial basis of what is currently regarded as 'economic activities proper', yet they are not being accounted for.

We would also like to make several concrete recommendations that you might want to consider adding to the present document in a separate paragraph:

The definition and understanding of mobility needs to be revised aiming to reflect women's lives and responsibilities - i.e. diverse patterns of a multitude of tasks and related trips such as transporting loads for sale; accompanying children and elderly, etc. - and enable authorities to design appropriate transport systems. This relates to the need for adequate data on transport patterns and needs – of men AND women.

In order to have the statistical basis of gender-sensitive transport planning available, one needs to, for example, obtain information differentiated by length of trip rather than number of trips; by reasons to travel; by car drivers vs. passengers; accounting for journeys on foot (which are women's); and accounting for typical times of travel (definition of rush hours, i.e. men's travel, vs. non-rush hours, i.e. school run).

We support the NGO transport caucus calling for transport planning to be based on the analysis of households needs.

Gender Impact Assessments (GIA) should be integrated into Environmental Impact Assessments, which would contribute to moving us towards creating Sustainability Impact Assessments.

Gender budget analyses are an important tool of engendering macro-economic analysis; they should be conducted to provide information about how much women- & men-power, institutional and financial resources, and research funding goes into furthering women's vs. men's interests regarding transport.

As has been stressed in the current draft, governments should introduce participatory, inclusive transport planning methodologies in order to be able to incorporate the social / gender divide of transport and travel needs. When designing such participatory mechanisms, planners need to be pro-active to ensure women’s meaningful involvement.

We support the transport caucus’ call for governments to support infra-structure for non-motorised transport and pedestrians, and initiatives providing more bicycles for women, especially in developing countries.

In general, measures are necessary which reduce transport burdens and transport expenditures of women and men while creating equitable access and ensuring women's increased opportunities and participation.

Thank you, Mr Chairperson.