Hamish John Appleby/IWMI

Securing inclusive land restoration

Research to resilience: Climate-smart solutions to enhance ecosystem health and strengthen food, nutrition and water security for all

As we enter the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, it is vitally important that we consider the social and political dimensions of land restoration initiatives. How do we ensure that land restoration efforts are not only sustainable, but socially inclusive and gender responsive? How can plural, unequal local voices and knowledge systems influence the restoration of degraded landscapes? And how do we prevent these voices from being ignored?

‘Securing inclusive land restoration,’ the penultimate webinar in WLE’s ‘Research to resilience’ series, gathered an international panel of experts to address these questions. Through a mix of presentations, panel discussion and audience questions, several key messages became clear:

  • Progress is being made on gender inclusion in land restoration, but good intentions often become diluted or misinterpreted before projects are implemented
  • There is a need for more rigorous capacity strengthening in gender and social inclusion across land restoration project implementation
  • By encouraging us to think about the broader social and political contexts, feminist political ecology can help us understand why natural resources managers in landscape restoration projects make the decisions they do
  • Institutional structures and cultures that prevent more inclusive outcomes in land restoration need to be acknowlegded and addressed.

Speakers and Panelists

Opening remarks

Dr Deepa Joshi, Gender, Youth and Inclusion Lead, WLE (IWMI)

  • Dr Ermias Betemariam, Land Health Scientist, ICRAF
  • Dr Ravula Padmaja, Senior Scientist, Gender Research, ICRISAT
  • Dr Marlene Elias, Gender Lead, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT
  • Dr P K Joshi, Former Director – South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Dr Gete Zeleke, Director, Water and Land Resource Centre, Addis Ababa University
Closing remarks

Dr Anthony Whitbred, Co-Leader of Sustainable Land and Water Solutions research theme, WLE (ICRISAT)


Introduction: Securing inclusive land restoration (Deepa Joshi, WLE/IWMI)

Gender and social inclusivity in restoration projects – How does policy intent get diluted? (Ermias Betemariam, ICRAF)

Finding our way into the blackbox: Unpacking systemic gender inequality across institutional landscapes (Ravula Padmaja, ICRISAT)


  • Special Issue on inclusive restoration in Ecological Restoration
  • Why gender matters for soil health as part of sustainable food systems (IFPRI blog)
  • UNCCD-COP14 decisions (see page 47, point 5)
  • Becker, S.; Aiello, B. 2013. The continuum of complicity: “Studying up”/studying power as a feminist, anti-racist, or social justice venture. In Women's Studies International Forum. Pergamon. Vol. 38, Pp. 63-74.
  • Kauck, D.; Paruzzolo, S.; Schulte, J. 2010. CGIAR Gender Study. Washington, DC: International Centre for Research on Women.
  • Nader, L. 1972. Up the Anthropologist: Perspectives Gained from Studying Up. ERIC.
  • Zwarteveen, M. 2015. Men, Masculinities and Water Powers in Irrigation. Water Alternatives 1(1): 111-130.


View the full 'From Research to Resilience' webinar series