The SDG Philanthropy Platform: A realization towards achieving gender equality in India

Suruchi Aggarwal • 20 September 2017

With the dawn of a new year and ambitions to pave way towards accelerating achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDG Philanthropy Platform was conceptualized in India. This is a product of the realization to have innovative strategic partnerships that may yield outcome-oriented interventions while strategically investing energies on inclusiveness and equality of women, which in itself has a multiplier effect in achieving the Agenda 2030.

All interventions in gender discourse are incomplete unless we provide women with land rights which further become an accelerator for financial independence and a larger stake in the decision-making process. For this reason, the platform with the support of Oak Foundation initiated work on Forest Rights Act as it’s an exciting opportunity to bring women, who are largely absent from land rights, to the center of efforts.

UNDP, in collaboration with state government and foundations, initiated interventions on gender empowerment and sustainable tribal engagements in Jharkhand. The state itself presents a unique landscape with approximately 49 per cent of the population being women. Roughly 29 per cent of the geographical area of the state is covered by forests, however, is batting with the issue of land titles to its primate dwellers. The state has exhibited a positive intent towards implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 with a massive campaign to hand over land titles to the forest dwellers, however, much remains to be achieved as the gender dimension has shown limited progress. As per government record, 84 thousand acres of land titles have been issued till date, out of which around 60,000 acres are Individual Forest Rights (IFR) titles. Therefore, the major focus till now has been on the Individual Forest Rights with lot more to be done at the Community Forest Rights (CFR) front. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is offering support in fast tracking implementation of CFR along with ensuring better infrastructure and improved livelihood opportunities to communities, with special focus on women. Micro-planning activities, at the village level, are being undertaken to bring about a convergence in implementation of government schemes. All these activities center around empowerment of women by ensuring issuance of joint titles for  Individual Forest Rights (IFR), enhanced women’s access to information and knowledge, empowering and enabling women collectives about their legal rights to use the forest’s resources and increase women’s representation and participation in the forest rights committees and Gram Sabha.

As the SDG Philanthropy Platform invests in gender equality, we will continue to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders in order to drive forward the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within India’s national development planning.