Webinar: Women move mountains in adapting to climate change

Submitted by Kate Williamson | published 14th Dec 2022 | last updated 13th Jan 2023
Watch the recording of the International Mountain Day 2022 webinar
Thursday, 8 December, 2022 - 14:00 to 15:30

Summary

About the webinar:

This webinar (see recording above) was co-organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Adaptation at Altitude programme of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in honor of International Mountain Day 2022.

This event was hosted in English, with simultaneous interpretation offered in French and Spanish (see below, recordings of the interpretations).

Following the success of International Mountain Day webinars in 2020 and 2021, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and Adaptation at Altitude programme hosted another joint event for this year’s International Mountain Day with the theme of: ‘Women move mountains in adapting to climate change’. Climate change is already having significant impacts on mountain ecosystems and their downstream communities, and this is expected to increase as climate change intensifies.

Women are disproportionately impacted by climate change. In addition to often living in more vulnerable situations than men, they typically depend more on natural resources and often bear the responsibility for securing water, food and fuel which are becoming harder to access in the face of climate change.

Nevertheless, women play essential roles in developing climate adaptation solutions. They often have strong knowledge of their local environments and promote sustainable practices both within their households and communities. However, their voices are not always amplified or given adequate weight in decision making. Incorporating women in decision-making is key for climate justice. Parliaments should consider possible solutions to address these gaps in their adaptation planning.


© Carolyn Darke

This webinar provided parliamentarians and other stakeholders with the opportunity to openly discuss how to promote gender-responsive climate action in mountain areas. The event aimed to:

  • Increase awareness among parliamentarians and other stakeholders of the interconnections between gender and climate change in mountain areas, and how women are shaping climate action in countries across the globe.
  • Facilitate the sharing of good practices and lessons learned on strengthening the role of women in climate action and promoting gender-responsive climate action, including through legislation;
  • Promote dialogue between parliamentarians, experts and other stakeholders on gender and climate change to encourage joint solutions for addressing the climate crisis through a gender lens.

Participants: The main target audience for this webinar was parliamentarians and parliamentary staff. However, the webinar was also open to other participants including experts supporting the work of parliaments, international organizations, NGOs, and development practitioners and researchers.

Speakers:

Speakers for this event included:

  • Riccarda Caprez, Programme Officer, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • Dr. Omer Aijazi, Chair of the IUCN Mountain Ecosystems Group
  • Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, Member of Parliament from South Sudan
  • Lucija Tacer, Member of Parliament from Slovenia

With moderation done by:

  • Kareen Jabre, Director, Division of Programmes, Inter-Parliamentary Union
  • Christian Bréthaut, Assistant Professor, University of Geneva

Listen to the French translation of the International Mountain Day 2022 webinar.

Listen to the Spanish translation of the International Mountain Day 2022 webinar.

Key Messages

  • Climate change is having, and will continue to have, severe impacts in mountain areas and these impacts can disproportionately affect women, who are often in more vulnerable situations.
  • Adaptation at Altitude is a programme aiming to provide guidance and a series of adaptation solutions that showcase best practices and tested options that can be useful for practitioners and decision-makers.
  • Mountain communities all over the world are affected by gender inequality, and voices of women, including younger women, should be amplified to ensure they can take an active role in environmental action.
  • Women are central to decision-making conversations and bodies should be more inclusive in the future to make better decisions.
  • The report on Critical Approaches to Gender in Mountain Ecosystems provides examples from regional and national contexts about women living in mountains and how to further their roles.
  • Due to climate change, rural communities in South Sudan that traditionally lived in lower elevations have moved upwards and started to face difficulties: intense heat and periods of drought, natural hazards such as rockfall, soil erosion which impacts agricultural production, water shortages, and others, which bring issues of food insecurity.
  • South Sudan has introduced a National Action Plan that incorporates gender and promotes women’s representation. This has included policies of Affirmative Action and the development of a blueprint for future efforts to ensure that women’s issues are taken into account.
  • Mountainous areas are a key area of concern for Slovenia, and climate change is often amplified in mountains through consequences on water resources, animal species shifting, and rising forest altitudes. To help tackle these issues, Slovenia has introduced a Ministry that addresses climate change in conjunction with the environment and energy as these sectors impact one another.
  • Members of Parliament (MPs), as representatives of the people, should improve their understanding of the diversity and complexity of climate and gender issues facing their constituents and ensure their voices are heard. Lobbying can be a useful tool in this regard.
  • Women are advocating for very important changes in the context of climate change in mountain areas, and there should therefore be a safe space for them in civil society and decision-making. Confronting gender stereotypes and strengthening legislation to recognize the vital roles of women are important steps in achieving gender equality, including in relation to climate change.
  • The SDC has a gender approach for all of its programmes, treating gender equity as a cross-cutting issue and with projects specifically addressing gender.
  • The IPU, the global organization of national parliaments, is committed to building parliamentary capacity to address climate and gender issues. The IPU is soon launching a major campaign to support parliaments to become greener institutions and pursue stronger climate action in their countries. The IPU website provides a number of different resources on gender and climate change specifically designed for parliamentarians.