Writes: Rebeca Cabezas
“Women are the protectors of the forest. To combat climate change we have to reforest the hills with native species that grow in our jungle. "
Hilda perez mancori, National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru ONAMIAP
"There are still not enough reasons to celebrate, but we want to remember each one of the women who transmit wisdom and watch over the sovereignty of food in their territories, territories that are the guarantee for life on the planet."
Nery zapata, national indigenous leader of the Yine People
"Ensuring the rights of indigenous peoples, and in particular indigenous women, is crucial to the success of conservation work."
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples for the United Nations
The Amazon river basin is at risk of suffering losses of tropical humid forests as a consequence of the accelerated climatic transition towards drier conditions that prevent the reestablishment of the forests. According to the Fifth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Experts on Climate Change (IPCC) published in 2014, the turning point of the phenomenon would occur when the temperature of the globe increases from 3 ° C-5 ° C, and indigenous peoples, especially indigenous women, will suffer the greatest impacts from the climate crisis, as their traditional livelihoods will lose their special physical and biological characteristics.
The indigenous population represents 5% of the world population, approximately 370 million people, and 50% of that total are women. In Peru there are more than 330,000 Amazonian indigenous people, 48% are women, and they occupy 30% of the humid forests. In the context of the climate crisis and the urgency to sustainably manage forests, ancestral knowledge based on trial-and-error experimentation for innovation, adaptation and organization of indigenous territories, make these actors key agents of change in this scenario . However, it is not possible to recognize the primary role of indigenous populations in land management and adaptation to climate change, without considering the reduction of indigenous inequality gaps (men - women) for effective participation as agents of change.
In this regard, gender inequalities in the country were recently explored in two studies carried out by INEI and the international cooperation gender table, these show (using the Gender Inequality Index - IDG) a large gap between adult women and men older people with a native language, reaching the first 28.6% compared to the 6.9% achieved by men. This is reflected in the limitations that indigenous women have to access productive economic resources; dependence on water, firewood, crops, and other natural resources to provide for their families; less access to credit, capital and work; high levels of illiteracy, lower levels of schooling, information and training; little autonomy and reduced access to decision-making in communal life. Added to this, few women have land and these are of minor or low quality extensions, and only 20.3% of the total agricultural units are directed by women; worse still, only the 4.7% have title deed. The latter becomes important when we take into account that women are the ones who grow much of the world's food. According to United Nations reports, if women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry people in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
Peru has taken great steps to improve the situation and position of indigenous women, has generated new management instruments in the environment sector, in response to the conventions, agreements and declarations that we have historically and internationally signed, and the approach gender as a transversal axis to all public policy; some examples of this are: Anticipated and Determined National Contribution (iNDC, for its acronym in English); the Plan of Action on Gender and Climate Change (PAGCC-Peru); National Strategy for Climate Change (ENCC); National Plan for Gender Equality (PLANIG 2012-2017); National Forest Policy (under construction).
Even though the signing of international conventions and the adoption of commitments to formulate adaptation and mitigation strategies for climate change in Peru is recent and it is not possible to observe an outstanding impact on the lives of women, especially indigenous women, The inclusion of a gender and intercultural approach in State Policies and the debate generated around it are laying the foundations to integrate ourselves into an egalitarian society, although the road is long and the real challenge begins at the home of each of the Peruvians. .
Despite this, our perception is that in a large part of the statistics on gender inequality or the omission that has been made of it for the incidence of State Policies in the different sectors, patriarchal thoughts are still institutionalized and have an echo In societies like ours, by the way, less marked in recent years, where gender inequalities are still minimized, considering women's problems as a personal or individual or unimportant issue, and whose social, political, economic and environmental implications they are not visible.
This perception gained more strength a few months ago, in the first regional workshop for the construction of the National Forest Policy, where: an official from the municipality of Maynas called the gender approach a "little topic" that was explained by the representative of the Forest Service to Wildlife, SERFOR, as a State Policy that is also transversal to the forestry sector. The official interrupted the presentation by stating that he agreed with a national forest policy but that the gender issue should be set aside as it is highly politicized.
Along these lines, it is undeniable that gender gaps in the Amazon are not a “little issue”, since around the world it can be observed that, in those countries with a greater gender gap, in the event of climatic disasters, women are the most affected. This is the case of indigenous women, whose poverty factors are linked to the extractive industry, the change in the use of the territory and the reduction of their sources of consumption, ancestral knowledge for the sustainable management of their resources and their resources to adapt to climate changes are also threatened. In this way, the implementation of a gender and intercultural approach continues to be a challenge not only at the level of decision makers in the government, but also for each Peruvian in the recognition of the privileges that men have with respect to women. women, and of these, with respect to indigenous men and women.
From CEDIA, working hand in hand with women, young people and adults, is a transversal axis to all our lines of action. In the Matsés Native Community, the recent implementation of the tourist activity "Tambos Matsés" has managed to train more than 20 young women, who, despite their commitments and agreed roles with the home, the farm, the education of their children, They rotate among themselves to support the young people of their youth association in caring for the tourists who have visited their hostel.
Meanwhile, the Capanahua women in the basin of the Tapiche and Blanco rivers, in the Province of Requena, the Ashánikas and Machiguengas women in the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro River Valley (VRAEM) and in the Upper and Lower Urubamba River basins They have participated decisively in the construction of their Life Plans, scheduling and prioritizing the security of the communal territory, the care of natural resources and educational and health issues, over extractive and monetary components.
In fisheries management and aquaculture enterprises, women have found new spaces to improve their status within the community, they participate, in the monitoring and surveillance committees of agreements, as fish registrars, as suppliers of food for the fish raised in ponds, vigilant of the good state of conservation of the fishing infrastructures, among others.
Meanwhile, in the management of protected areas and the establishment of Regional Conservation Areas, female participation has been less, however, over time, and with greater capacity building, they will be key allies of these spaces that host ecosystems. unique and representative for the Amazon region.
It is CEDIA's commitment to continue on this path and, through our activities, contribute to reducing gender inequalities and increasing the resilience of indigenous women in the face of major threats such as climate change.
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