On September 16, 2022, within the framework of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the EU-LAC Foundation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Latin America and the Caribbean, through the EU-LAC Women's International Network (EU-LAC WIN), successfully held the dialogue "Leadership and inclusion of women in decision-making process on the implementation of climate action". This dialogue represents the first in a series of interregional dialogues on gender and climate action in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries, the European Union (EU) and its member countries. On this occasion, the aim was to generate a space for discussion on the challenges and opportunities in recognising and promoting the empowerment of women as agents of change in climate action and disaster risk reduction in EU and LAC countries. The hybrid event was attended by more than 300 participants from both regions.
The event was opened by Leire Pajín Iraola, President of the EU-LAC Foundation and promoter of the EU-LAC WIN, and Luis Felipe López Calva, UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Both stressed the urgency of renewing the commitment to multilateral agendas in the fields of gender equality and climate change and keeping generating spaces for exchange between both regions to jointly face the current global challenges.
The welcoming remarks were followed by the presentation of good practices in the process of women inclusion in decision-making spaces regarding climate actions in the EU and LAC. Anna Barrera, Senior Programme Manager of the EU-LAC Foundation, presented the W4RES initiative, an EU project aimed at including gender approaches and increasing women's participation in energy transition actions through trainings, consultancies, campaigns and other activities in Belgium, Denmark, Greece and five other partner countries. Ana María Tribín, Public Policy Specialist at the UNDP Regional Center for LAC, presented the progress made in promoting equal access and visibility of women in community water management, as one of the activities of the project for strengthening the capacities of Rural Aqueduct Associations (ASADAS) to face the risks of climate change in water-stressed communities in northern Costa Rica.
Leire Pajín Iraola moderated the dialogue between the experts invited to discuss common challenges and opportunities related to the promotion of gender-transformative climate agendas. The guest speakers were Raquel Lagunas, Director of the UNDP Gender Team; Anna Collins Falk, International Coordinator and Senior Consultant of the Swedish Agency for Gender Equality and National Focal Point for Gender and Climate Change of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); Claudia Taboada, Director of Science, Technology and Environment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic; Hortencia Hidalgo, Coordinator of the Gender Unit, Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC); Adélaïde Charlier, Climate Activist, Fridays For Future Belgium; Diana Ojeda, Associate Professor in Sustainability, Environment and Development, Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia; and Antonella Cavallari, Secretary-General of IILA. The panelists agreed on the benefits for institutions and society of ensuring the presence of women leaders in decision-making with respect to climate change and recalled that the participation of women in leadership positions represents one of the first steps to achieve gender-transformative climate agendas. They also highlighted the importance of designing a new social and environmental pact that involves more young women, indigenous women and environmental leaders as protagonists in climate governance. At the same time, they identified the need to connect local and global movements for a better use of capacities and knowledge in the design of policies and strategies related to climate change.
The panel with the experts was followed by an interactive dialogue with those attending the event moderated by Andrea Quesada, Gender, Sustainable Development and Environment Specialist at the UNDP Regional Centre for LAC. During the dialogue, an interactive tool was made available to gather the opinions and perspectives of many of the participants. The dialogue was focused on three guiding questions: concrete actions to promote feminist leadership in decision-making and climate actions, cooperation programs between LAC and the EU to promote women's participation and leadership, and the role of the EU-LAC WIN in generating the enabling conditions to promote feminist leadership in climate governance.
In conclusion, Leire Pajín Iraola and Guillermina Martin, Gender Team Leader of the UNDP Regional Center for LAC, emphasized the need to strengthen synergies between the gender and climate change agendas and to work as a community to advance towards this joint agenda. As Guillermina Martin said, "we cannot speak of a green transition without a violet transition". They also recalled the important role of the EU-LAC International Women's Network as a tool for exchange with decision-makers and for generating alliances between women and people committed to gender equality in Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean. Finally, they invited the participants to join the Network.