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Secure land tenure for girls and women to help climate change resilience

Secure land tenure for girls and women to help climate change resilience

Securing land tenure for women and girls to promote climate change resilience

Burkina Faso: Women carry freshly harvested cotton on a Burkina Faso road. CIFOR/Ollivier Girard

Women’s land rights should be at the core of everything we do, to enhance our climate action” – Beth Roberts, Director of Centre for Women’s Land Rights  

This was a theme that ran throughout the entire year The side event Securing Women’s and Girls’ Land Tenure to promote Communities Resilience to Climate Change and to advance on sustainable Economic Justice & Rights,” hosted as part of the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, (CSW-66), in March, with the support of the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands..

Moderated by Janet Macharia is the U.N.’s gender lead Environment Programme The event brought together many donor partners, intergovernmental organizations and civil society groups, Indigenous leaders and U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) representatives, as well as global initiatives working on gender transformation, to discuss the importance of women’s and girls’ access to land and land rights.

In welcoming remarks, Mike Taylor, Director of International Land Coalition (ILC), stressed that the key to overcoming the global challenges confronting us today – including the climate crisis – is through securing women and girl land rights.   

Climate change is disproportionately affecting women, but they are more affected by it when they have. Weak land tenure means that they are more likely to be affected by climate shocks in urban areas and rural areas. Land rights for women specifically create a foundation for women — and by extension their families and communities — to adapt to and to be resilient to climate impacts.

This foundation underpins food security, economic resilience and women’s ability to connect to government services, including agricultural support. Land rights are a safe haven for people who have been displaced. They help governments navigate the issues of climate displacement better and give people affected by displacement greater economic stability. Particularly for women, land right in the context of Climate Change mitigates the effects of climate changes, including gender-based violence and the displacement of people. 

Speakers were also present for the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands, as well as the European Commission. Participants included the gender and land expert from Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) land governance, the director of the Center for Women’s Land Rights, the grassroots woman leader from the Quechua People of Peru’s Ayacucho regionDirector UNFCCC of intergovernmental support, collective progress and UNFCCC director and a gender researcher representing a consortium of CGIAR centers working with support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on a project on Women’s Resource Rights.  

What is important? It is more than just land. It is the quality of the land, it’s territory and the connections among land, forests and water. It is women as leaders and decision-makers and the eradication of the threats and violence against women.” – Melania Canales Poma, Grassroots Woman Leader Quechua People of the Ayacucho region.   

This event was critical in not only unpacking the various barriers to securing land and land rights for women and children, but also in highlighting the crucial link between women’s land rights, strengthening climate action and enhancing resilience to climate shocks. It served to remind us to keep the momentum of the U.N. Food Systems Summit in 2021, which stressed equitable access and land rights as fundamental foundational blocks to building resilient, sustainable, inclusive food systems.

Significantly, it served as a platform for leaders of various Indigenous women grassroot organizations from Senegal to Peru, to share learnings from projects and activities underway at the local level to secure equitable land rights – the real action on the ground. They all noted thatIt is impossible to think about transformation without recognizing women as stewards and producers of natural resources, food producers within families, and key holders ecological knowledge. Strengthening women’s land rights specifically, enables better protection of our ecosystems, as well as greater gender equality within communities and the attainment of international goals including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.  

“It is ever clearer that without enhanced land rights for women we will not be able to address the climate crisis and to achieve economic justice.René van Hell,  Representative from the Netherlands Government   

Aside from the practical and scaleable initiatives shared at the CSW-66 Side Event, a key outcome of the event was the commitment by governments, intergovernmental organization and civil society organisations to work together across borders and sectors through multi-stakeholder platforms in order to achieve greater equity for land tenure.

Examples include IGAD’s National Women’s Land Rights Agenda and their Regional Women Land Rights Agenda which serves as a framework for women land rights programming in the region. The Stand For Her Land Campaign, which has the overarching goal of working towards the achievability of women’s land rights, as well as the Netherland’s Programme Land at Scale, which is making an explicit effort to upscale initiatives that focus on women’s rights and access of women to land.  

Furthermore, A presentation by gender specialist Ana Maria Paez, IFAD Supported Global Initiative to Securing Women´s Resource RightsAssisted in the adoption of gender-transformative approaches to rural development interventions to strengthen women’s land rights.

The Initiative team collaborates with IFAD projects in seven core countries and a network of over 20 learning countries. Each context is unique and requires different approaches to gender issues and rights regarding land and resources. Side event featuring the work underwayThe IFAD Char Development and Settlement Project IVIn Bangladesh, women have legal land tenure.  

“In development practice and policies, interventions that have supported gender equality and land rights have not engaged effectively with the roots of inequality. By integrating gender transformative approaches we are aiming to do exactly that, challenging unequal gender relations and discriminatory norms and practices, which are typically biased in favor of men” Ana Maria Paez, Gender Specialist, Alliance of Biodiversity International & CIAT Securing women’s resource rights through gender transformative approaches initiative 

See Also
Scotland Is Throwing up Shade to Save Wild Salmon From Overheating – Mother Jones

Gender transformative approaches target the underlying causes of gender inequality by challenging norms and institutional structures. Instead of addressing the causes (e.g. These approaches do not address the problem (e.g., unequal income), but rather identify and catalyze factors that will enable and catalyze change to increase women’s and girls’ participation in decision making, control over their resources, and agency of themselves and their future.  

The event concluded with an intervention by Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga, representative of UNFCCC in Intergovernmental Support and Collective Progress in U.N. Climate Change. Kinuthia-Njenga reinforced that women’s land rights are foundational to climate action, highlighting that mitigation is dependent on protecting forests, restoring soil, and protecting rangelands and the full range of ecosystems upon which 2.5 billion people across the world are directly dependent. These include Indigenous communities.

Strengthening women’s land rights specifically enables better protection of these ecosystems and it enables gender equality within the communities. Like all other speakers, she stressed that this can only happen through collective learning and collaboration between all stakeholders.   

“We cannot address climate change as a standalone. Gender equity is not something we can do as a separate issue. It must be done in a holistic manner. This is the beauty and power of intergovernmental processes. Working together enables us to move towards not only implementing the sustainable development goals, but also ensuring that gender equality, diplomacy, peace and justice are fundamental elements within our pathways to our sustainable development.” – Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga, Director, Intergovernmental Support and Collective Progress in UN Climate Change 

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