Building an initiative to include a gender focus in public policies on climate change, from the bottom-up

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How can we help contribute to policymaking that takes into account the interests and needs of women and men smallholder producers, to promote enhanced climate change adaptation and mitigation in Colombia? 

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) seeks to provide decision-makers with scientific information that helps to promote policies and institutions that generate climate-resilient food systems in Latin America. An important component of this work is supporting decision-makers to take into account gender considerations, such that men and women producers’ priorities and interests are taken into account in climate change planning. Gender-sensitive climate change policymaking is particularly urgent in Colombia, given the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which pledge greenhouse gas reductions of 20% by 2030. 

During a workshop, participants discussed how we can help contribute to policymaking that takes into account the interests and needs of women and men smallholder producers. The workshop, 'Co-constructing a proposal for capacity-building and knowledge exchange on gender and climate change in Colombia', was organized on 23 September in Bogota by CCAFS Latin America.

The idea for the workshop originated in a seminar held by CCAFS, the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana and various rural women’s organizations the year before. Results of last year’s seminar highlighted a consistent lack of incorporation of local men’s and women’s interests in policymaking on agriculture and natural resource management, and the resultant need for more “bottom-up” policymaking processes. In order to address these knowledge gaps and enhance policymaking processes on climate change, the CCAFS gender and policy group organized this year’s workshop to propose a project involving knowledge exchange platforms and capacity building on gender and climate change. The workshop sought to evaluate key actors’ interests and goals in relation to the initiative, determine potential partners, and develop a plan of next steps.

Workshop discussions highlighted that a key result desired, from a project like the one being proposed, was the creation of space for meaningful dialogue between communities and the state. Omaira Bolaños, from the Rights and Resources Initiative, highlighted with regards to the role of academic and non-governmental organizations in this: “Research provides key information that permits local actors to strengthen their capacity to influence policy.”

Along these lines, better articulation of scientific information with local or traditional knowledge would also be fundamental. Participants furthermore emphasized that local institutional strengthening would be an important expectation for the project, in order to promote policymaking that reflects local experiences in gender and climate change.

We would hope, as a result of the project, for a state that truly incorporates a gender focus in public policies.” Diana Lucia Maya Velez, Pontifica Universidad Javeriana.

Participants included representatives from diverse institutions with interests in gender-inclusive climate change policymaking in Colombia. These included bilateral organizations such as Oxfam and the World Food Program (WFP); rural women’s organizations like Anmucic, Mujer y Café, and the Mesa de Incidencia Política de Mujeres Rurales; academic, environmental, and international development organizations such as the Pontifica Universidad Javeriana, the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), and Aecom International; and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR). As a result of the workshop, participants agreed on a draft plan for developing and providing feedback on a project proposal, which will incorporate participants’ considerations and goals for equitable and effective policymaking on climate change.