The EU-LAC Foundation and UNDP celebrated the launch of the EU-LAC Women’s International Network

On 23 March of 2022, in the context of the 66th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 66), the EU-LAC Foundation successfully launched its EU-LAC Women’s International Network (EU-LAC WIN). To this end, the EU-LAC Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Latin America and the Caribbean, invited high-level speakers to both introduce the Network and its strategic line of action “EU-LAC WIN Strategic Actions – Women as Key Actors in Climate Action”. The virtual event was attended by over 350 participants from the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

The event officially launched EU-LAC WIN as a platform to exchange experiences and generate joint knowledge between the EU, its member countries, and countries in LAC that contributes to the development and implementation of gender-responsive climate agendas. The event sought to foster a dialogue among different stakeholders from the EU and LAC to identify common challenges and opportunities to further advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, especially in climate agendas.

The launch was inaugurated by Leire Pajín Iraola, President of the EU-LAC Foundation and initiator of EU-LAC WIN, and Luís Felipe López Calva, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of UNDP. Both highlighted the enhanced opportunities for the exchange of good practices and the potential to define strategies and leadership in relation to gender policies between both regions through the EU-LAC Women’s International Network.

The opening panel was succeeded by a Ministerial High-Level Dialogue featuring Kamina Johnson Smith, Senator and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica; Irene Montero, Minister of Equality of Spain; Maria Perceval, Secretary of Equality Policies at the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity of Argentina; and Nadine Gasman, President of the National Women’s Institute of Mexico. The panellists highlighted the need to invest in resilient infrastructure, technology and knowledge transfer, and capacity building to advance in the mitigation of climate change. In this sense, they indicated the need to include feminism and ecology as the basis of the reconstruction of our societies since the effects of climate change are stronger on women, especially on indigenous, rural and afro-descendant women. Moreover, they emphasized women’s fundamentally different vision of care for earth and nature and that learning from these visions could enrich future environmental policies. Therefore, the women leaders advocated for environmental multilateralism and feminism to promote gender-sensitive climate action and raise awareness of gender-specific effects of climate change.

The second panel was moderated by Ana María Tribin, from UNDP’s Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean and concentrated on the strategic line of action “EU-LAC Women as Key Actors in Climate Action”. The invited speakers included Pilar Cancela Rodríguez, Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain; Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Directorate-General for International Partnerships at the European Commission; Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; Antonella Cavallari, Secretary-General of the Organizzazione Internazionale Italo-Latino Americana (IILA); Maria Noel Vaeza, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for UN Women; Ana Güezmes, Chief of the Division for Gender Affairs of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); Almut Möller, State Secretary and Representative of the City of Hamburg to the European Union; and Paloma Costa, Youth Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on climate action. The panellists agreed on the importance of involving women and their perspectives in the design and implementation of environmental policies and climate action and highlighted the EU-LAC Women’s International Network’s important role in the advancements of these matters. They identified great opportunities and potential for the network by providing a space for exchange, generating knowledge and raising awareness, and putting both topics high on the agenda of decision-makers in Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The launch of the EU-LAC Women’s International Network was concluded by Leire Pajín Iraola, who introduced the annual working plan for the EU-LAC Women’s International Network in 2022. Henceforth, the network will dedicate its work to the strategic line of climate change and women as key actors in climate action. Throughout the second half of 2022, the Network will expand its work and focus on the strategic line “EU-LAC Care About You: Formalisation and Professionalisation of Care Work”. While doing so, the members of the network will join efforts to exchange and make proposals on the necessary conditions to move towards more gender equality and women empowerment, thus contributing to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.