Dr Vandana Shiva, Navdanya/ Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, is the coordinator for the South Asian Women’s Network on the Environment.
Coordinator’s Report for the South Asian Women’s Network on the Environment
1. Climate Change and Gender Justice : Women centered Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies.
South Asia is not a major contributor to climate change, but South Asian people are the most impacted by climate change. Melting of snows of the Himalayan glaciers will lead to decline in river flows, aggravating the already serious water crisis, of which the burden falls on women. The melting of Arctic and Antarctic ice, which is already contributing to an annual rise of sea level of 3.14 m/year and could reach between 1m to 6m by the end of the century, threatens the coastal regions of South Asia especially Bangladesh as well as Maldives. On Maldives’ initiative the UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution by consensus which asserts that climate change undermines the human rights of millions of people, especially in vulnerable countries like Maldives.
Women are most vulnerable when natural and man-made disasters occur. Women have also made the least contribution to climate change. A gender sensitive climate adaptation and mitigation policy is needed for South Asia.
Action : Organise a work-shop to evolve a South Asian Women’s Charter on Climate Change before the Copenhagen Conference.
2. Renewable Energy :
Small scale, renewable energy options are necessary for reducing women’s burden as well as reducing greenhouse gases. The best practices in renewable energy need to be disseminated across the region.
Action : Evolve a project to spread renewable energy in women’s hands.
3. Biodiversity Conservation & Biodiversity Based Sustainable Livelihoods.
Biodiversity is women’s capital. Women are also the biodiversity experts, both in health care and agriculture. Conservation of biodiversity can enhance women’s livelihood opportunities.
Action : (i) Create a South Asian Women’s Seed Savers’ Network.
(ii) Promote organic farming.
(iii)Create a South Asian Federation of Women’s Self Help Groups creating biodiversity based natural products.
(iv)Improve women’s access to technology, finance and markets.
1. Coordinator : Dr Vandana Shiva, Navdanya/Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, INDIA
2. Ms Ayesha Grewal, Co-founder and Managing Director, Kurmanchal Organic Ventures Pvt Ltd; Co-founder and Managing Director, Environment, Energy and Enterprise Ventures Pvt Ltd, INDIA
3. Ms Reejuta Sharma, ANSAB (Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources), NEPAL
4. Ms Saraswoti Rai Gurung, Himalaya Bio Trade Private Ltd (HBTL), NEPAL
5. Ms Reema Nanavaty, Chairperson, SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre, SEWA, Ahmedabad.