|Abstract||Most forms of Social Impact Assessment (SIA) conducted as part of Environmental Impact Assessment (ESIA) focus on the needs of seemingly coherent social groups and local communities. Through Gender Impact Assessments (GIA), it has become evident that men and women are exposed to and confront social, economic and environmental realities in different ways. These approaches, in turn, shape their local responses to the environmental changes. Their ways of participating in society and decision-making are interrelated not only with location, age, socio-economic class or culture, but also with the sexuality and (gender) identity. Current debates about intersectionality pose queer and postcolonial challenges to the notions of well-being and vulnerability that up-to date fail to integrate desire, sexuality and identity into gender and/or social analysis.
The new SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) strategy as implemented by UNAIDS and the Global Fund, offers an integrated human rights based approach to inclusionary assessment. Although the practicality of increased intersectionality in conducting multi-variable or multi-criteria analyses is still contested, the benefits in the social arena are immediately evident: The employment of less statistically-oriented, qualitative profiling methods in combination with deliberative, participatory elements, support the emergence of formerly invisible and disenfranchised groups, including women, the elderly, people with disabilities, and youth, now also encompassing gays, lesbians, bisexuals, gender variant or transgender people and intersexuals.
How can an intersectional SOGI approach be incorporated into EIAS? Which understanding of women’s and men’s sexualities and identities, affecting their different vulnerabilities and capacities to deal with climate change, can we develop? How do queered and intersectional methods with ESIA and GIA frameworks help foster efficiency and sustainability of policies, and programmes? How does identifying the most vulnerable groups through incorporation of a gender and sexuality perspective give a fuller picture of the relations people have built with ecosystems?