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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Negotiating Gender in Climate Change Policies

Where to start and where to end? 
Photocredit: Manon KoningsteinAgriculture and food systems face tensons over the next 40 years due to the constantly changing climate. Therefore, it is unmistakable that there exists a high need for the planning of agricultural mitigation and adaptation strategies. A critical factor for successful policy strategies is the understanding that climate change affects men and women farmers in different ways. Gender sensitive adaptation and mitigation policies make sure that the people are better prepared to cope with climate change.

This is the message CIAT’s Gender Visiting Researcher Tatiana Gumucio tried to get across during a recent event with policy-makers from different Latin American countries. During this training, ministries of agriculture where invited to get trained for climate change negotiations and the role agriculture plays in these. Of course, when talking about agriculture, gender is a logical term to follow. Unfortunately, many negotiators are not aware of or unsure on how exactly to include gender in these negotiations. 

‘Men and women farmers face different levels of vulnerabilities and capacities to address the impact of climate change on their livelihoods’ says Tatiana in her speech. Despite the fact that women have an important role as agricultural producers, they often do not have the same access to resources.

PhotocreditL Manon KoningsteinNot taking in account gender aspects in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies might even make the gender gap bigger. This is due to the different social groups in which men and women move and the difference in access to education and economic support. 

‘Therefore, it is important that policies look for the best way to communicate information on climate change strategies to get to women, by for example taking in account their restricted mobility outside of the town or farm, due to, for example, security issues or cultural/religious restrictions’ says Tatiana.

However, this does not mean that women should be put in the victim role: “they can act as agents of change, and projects including a gender sensitive approach have seen a lot of advantages, especially because women tend to transfer their knowledge to other women. Educating one woman can therefore reach a lot of women.”

But, how to incorporate gender in climate change policies then? This, in the end, is the reason that the participants actually came to the training. Tatiana based her recommendations upon various researches and conclusions conducted by both CCAFS and ActionAid International (CARE).

  • First, it is essential to address the discrimination in landownership. This can be done by taking immediate action to ensure equal rights of men and women, regardless of marital status measures.
  • Extension services need to be gender-sensitive. This can be done, for example, by increasing the number of female extension agents, creating accessible demonstration plots within villages, establishing pro-women farmer field schools and creating gender-sensitive learning and assessment mechanisms to improve the delivery extension services.
  • Involving women in policymaking and planning processes at all levels, for example, by setting quotas for women in decision-making positions.
  • Increase the investment in small scale producers and ensure that funding is gender sensitive and reaches small holder farmers. Governments should use sex-disaggregated data to track funding and improve the planning of food security and policy formulation.
  • Implement planning processes that identify the specific constraints that small scale women farmers face concerning access to information, markets, technologies and productive resources. At the same time, they should promote policies that recognize the expertise, practical experience and innovative capabilities through which women contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

 The presentation given by Tatiana can be found clicking here

A brochure designed by CIAT’s gender team to explain gender in climate change policies can be accessed clicking here

Tatiana Gumucio holds a PhD Anthropology, from the University of Florida and is the coordinator of the CCAFS Latin America activity “Influencing gender-inclusive climate change policies for Latin American countries. Manon Koningstein is a Communications Specialist working with the Gender & Climate Change team of CIAT and was involved in the training as communications focal point. 

The title of the two-day training held was ‘preparing the response to challenges and opportunities for agriculture in the international context of climate change’. This event was organized by Bioversity International, CEPAL (Comisión Económica Para América Latina: Economic Commission for Latin America), CAC (Consejo Agropecuario Centroamericano: Agriculture Advice Central America) SICA (Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana: system for Central American integration) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).Present where policy-makers from Peru, Colombia, Panama, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

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