Promoting Women’s Development – Equal Access to Productive Resources

Un Women Commission

This past month, long-time conservationist and gender activist Martha “Pati” Isabel Ruiz Corzo participated in the fifty-eighth session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), at United Nations Headquarters, New York. Ms Ruiz Corzo was invited as a panelist to discuss the issue of gender and access to resources, an issue of growing concern and import as cities around the world grapple with achieving both sustainability and a higher degree of resilience, while rural progress and development continues to rapidly advance.

Central to these discussions is the question of how best to promote women’s access to productive resources such as land, technology, and institutional credit and finance in an effort to reduce gender inequality and poverty. Too often, women are locked out in terms of ownership, decision-making, and use of such resources, meaning they reap little benefits from any of the development such resources can yield. And while the challenges to women’s access are complex and often context-specific, there are also many similarities, such as inadequate legal standards and/or their ineffective implementation at national and local levels, and discriminatory attitudes and practices at the institutional and community level.

A human-rights based approach to development calls for a commitment to ensure that both women and the poorest of the poor are able to engage in and equally benefit from development programs – two groups who have often been left behind in the past. But given the opportunity – and the access – Ms Ruiz-Corzo says that women are the key to building resilience in rural and urban areas. Ms Ruiz Corzo says, “We’ve seen many instances in the Sierra Gorda, where women that have access to basic resources that were previously inaccessible such as credit and training, have been able to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves. In order to ensure that all women can enjoy their rights in practice, we must look at removing those barriers currently impeding women’s ability to benefit from our global resources.”

Panelists provided overviews on the current status and expectations while representatives of Member States and non-governmental organizations were encouraged to share their expectations, proposals and perspectives on how to promote women’s access to productive resources.

Other panelists included Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona (United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights), who spoke about mobilizing international resources for women’s access to and control over productive resources; Ms. Victoria Tauli Corpuz (Philippines), whose topic was indigenous rights and women’s access to natural resources; and Ms. Mariam Dao Gabala (Côte d’Ivoire), who shared her experience on women’s access to finance and credit: opportunities and challenges

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February News and Events

Sierra Gorda wins International Contest for Socially Responsible Tourism


The regional development project of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda in the Biosphere Reserve in Querétaro, Mexico, the Chambok Community Based Ecotourism Project in Cambodia at the Kirirom National Park,  and the Boomkolbeh – Turkmen Ecolodge at the rim of the Golestan National Park in Iran are the winners of the TO DO! 2013.

The trophies of the international Contest for Socially Responsible Tourism were awarded at this year’s ITB on 5th March, 2014, at 2.30 pm.

All three TO DO! winners provide successful examples of sustainable achievements of socially responsible concepts, especially through the intensive involvement of the local population in the development of tourism. Therefore, they are examples of best practice for other tourism destinations. The three winners are given one TO DO! trophy each. The Swiss Foundation for Solidarity in Tourism supports the projects with an additional 5,000 Swiss Francs each, meaning to support the further development of the projects.

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Launching the Sierra Gorda Tasting Route


It’s one of the most popular attractions of the Sierra Gorda, and a culinary highlight of the state of Queretaro. We’re talking about the Sierra Gorda’s Tasting Route (Ruta Del Sabor), a community-driven initiative that sees a return to authentic cooking and traditional crafts, and a celebration of Mexican flavors.

This initiative was presented on 19th February this year and during the official launch, we were honored to receive the state governor’s wife, Sandra Albarrán de Calzada, who, through the state social service (DIF), has been the godmother of this movement. During the launch meeting, Mrs Calzada offered continuing support for the new community eco-sites – support which will be needed to continue to achieve high quality standards.

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Earth Festivals 2014


Fostering a love of nature, respect for local traditions, and a sense of community, the Sierra Gorda Earth Festivals are a celebration of the region’s rich cultural and environmental heritage. For the last 25 years, students and parents from various communities have come together at a host school to share regional culinary dishes, perform songs, poems, or traditional native dances called “huapango”. 

Grupo Ecologico Sierra Gorda, has its environmental education team present a puppet show to raise awareness about nature, identifying some of the challenges facing the region, and encouraging families to participate in the solution.

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 Ecoclub Strategic Planning

At the end of February, we hosted a Strategic Planning workshop for the Ecoclubs. The objective was to write-up the strategic plan for the National Ecoclub movement, including, the mission, vision, objectives and people responsible for each objective. In addition, they carried out SWOT analysis to obtain better results.

At the end of the workshop, all participants made a commitment to replicate the actions discussed and to empower young leaders, as well as maintain constant communication on social media platforms.

Biodynamic Nutrition


This last month, Bosque Sustentable organized a “Biodynamic Nutrition Workshop” with the objective of facilitating and transmitting knowledge about organic agriculture, soil regeneration and plant and animal nutrition. With our example and experience of developing a soil culture, in this workshop we wanted to re-train farmers and change paradigms, so that they observe and administer their soil and resources sustainably; thinking about the long term.

Photo of the month


The first echoes of spring can be seen in the Sweetgum forests in the Sierra Gorda. The new leaves are sprouting; reflecting the change of seasons. In the past, there were extensive Sweetgum forests, whereas today they only survive in certain points of the Sierra. We are proud to safeguard one in this private nature reserve.