Gender, climate change and agriculture: Guatemala leads regional dialogue

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food led a process to incorporate the gender perspective into public policy and initiatives related to climate change. Photo credit: Manon Koningstein (CIAT)

The Ministry of Agriculture of Guatemala leads a process to incorporate the gender perspective in the climate change initiatives in Central America.

Agriculture is regarded as essential for the economic development of Central American countries, and is one of the key integration topics of the Central American Integration System (SICA). It is also one of the sectors where many complex cross-cutting themes converge, such as perspectives on gender and climate change.

There are great challenges to strengthening the participation and empowerment of women in the development of the agricultural sector, since great differences are observed in terms of access to financial services, securitization of property and participation in decision-making processes. Furthermore, climate change affects rural women and their role in society differently. In this context, Guatemala, headed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA), decided to lead a process to help incorporate the gender perspective into public policy and initiatives related to climate change and explore mechanisms through which gender gaps in the region can be reduced.

Together with the Central American Agricultural Council (CAC), the Council of Ministers of Women of SICA (COMMCA), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), MAGA facilitated a discussion around the issue of gender and climate change. They also presented their initiative to develop a manual that could help diverse actors put these issues into real contexts and at different scales.

CCAFS and CIAT are part of the process providing research inputs within the framework of the project “Generating evidence on gender-sensitive climate-smart agriculture to inform policy in Nicaragua and Guatemala” funded by the International Development Research Center (IDRC). The dialogue was held within the framework of the meeting of the CAC’s Gender Network with the presence of the COMMCA Secretary, Alicia Rodriguez, last March in Guatemala City.

This initiative has an important component related to the strengthening of the processes of formulation and implementation of public policy, as a facilitating mechanism for gender actions and climate change in agriculture. This is where the expertise of CCAFS and CIAT researchers is also playing a key role through the project "Shaping equitable climate change policies for resilient food systems across Central America and the Caribbean". Strengthening the capacities of actors from the local to the regional level to understand how to achieve inclusive policy instruments is fundamental to reduce gender gaps and address equitably the challenges of climate change in agriculture in the region.

The results of the dialogue were reflected in the Agreements of the Gender Network in the framework of the initiatives that Guatemala will promote during its pro-tempore presidency. The manual on gender and climate-smart agriculture will be developed initially for Guatemala, and will serve as an input for its adaptation to the contexts of the other SICA countries. At the same time, this instrument is part of the implementation of the Regional Strategy for Climate-Smart Agriculture for the SICA region (EASAC).

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Deissy Martínez Barón is Regional Program Coordinator for CCAFS Latin America.