Addressing Gender Dynamics: Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change

A woman fills water into a watering can

Photo © GIZ / Sumi Teufel

How does gender intersect with climate change and human mobility? Looking into this question, on August 17th 2020, the GIZ Global Programme Human Mobility in the Context of Climate Change (HMCCC), financed by German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, organized a discussion and invited practitioners, policy makers and researchers.

The discussion was opened by Dr Dorothea Rischewski, Head of Programme, and facilitated by Kristina Lunz, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy. To cover a wide range of aspects, the panel included speakers from multiple levels: Julia Lehmann, head of the Division for Human Rights, Gender and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, provided an overview of the engagement from the global community and Germany in this field. This was followed by a presentation of gender-specific challenges and opportunities within international frameworks by Kristina Lunz. The discussion was then enriched with practice-oriented experiences from Gabor Sasvari, GIZ Fiji, and Ravulo Na’ulumatua, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Focal Point and Social Specialist, Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, Fiji. Finally, those inputs were commented from a civil society perspective by Gotelind Alber, Co-founder and Board Member of Gender CC.

The inputs to the following discussion revealed that there are still few practice-oriented solutions which address gender-related issues directly – even though international policies and documents on climate change and human mobility (understood as migration, forced displacement and voluntary and planned relocation) incorporate quite a number of gender dimensions and aspects already. Nevertheless, international and regional frameworks offer a basis for more involvement in this field.

The Pacific Gender Compendium for example, a portfolio of best practices, lessons learnt and tools for Pacific practitioners developed by GIZ, provides concrete examples for gender-responsive approaches. Thereby, the compendium is exemplary for minimizing the gap between policy and implementation through intense cooperation on and with the communal level. It was highlighted that approaches should be developed according to different social contexts while linking stakeholders across sectors. That is also why a thorough gender analysis and risk assessment is indispensable before planning and programming specific activities.Furthermore, even though gender dimensions address all gender and should increasingly grow towards a broader understanding, the importance of women and girls in the context of human mobility and climate change was pointed out particularly. Women and girls should not be considered as either victims or agents of change – instead, the multitude of their possible roles should be taken into account more strongly. Women hold already formal and informal leadership positions, have great knowledge on local coping strategies and, as a consequence, often become actively involved in processes of climate risk management, for example.

With this in mind, the GIZ Global Programme has developed its own gender strategy, which presents definitions and approaches as well as a vision, a mission, goals and activities to be taken into account in the programme’s context and is looking forward to continuously work on the nexus of gender and HMCCC.

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