In 2002, ICIMOD organised the international conference ‘Celebrating Mountain Women‘, as the only global event during the International Year of Mountains to focus on mountain women in the context of sustainable mountain development. It brought together 250 participants from 35 countries around the world. A decade later, globalisation, climate change and other drivers of change are creating new challenges and dilemmas, as well as opportunities, for mountain women and men. In light of these changes, emerging concerns, and persistent challenges, the Bhutan+10 conference will bring together mountain women and men, researchers, policy makers, and development practitioners from the HKH region and around the world in a post-Rio+20 world for a comprehensive update, stock-taking, and new agenda setting.
The gathering is expected to have both regional impact and international significance. By providing opportunities to share the voices and experiences of normally excluded but critically important sectors of society, it can ultimately lead to policy change in national, regional, and global spheres, at an opportune time after global environmental challenges and opportunities have been debated at Rio+20.
Gender Issues in Mountain Contexts
Despite successive yet often under-resourced gender ‘mainstreaming’ efforts over time, mountain women and men have not always had equitable access to development resources and opportunities in an increasingly globalised world. Women and men experience changes differently. In particular, women in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas experience changes acutely and disproportionately, in particular because upland and mountain contexts are highly fragile, inaccessible, vulnerable to hazards, and differentiated by gender, class, caste, ethnicity, and other domains of difference. Often, women are most affected by multiple drivers of change owing to socially constructed norms and practices such as limited ownership and access to resources, multiple roles and responsibilities, skewed gender divisions of labour, and exclusion from decision and policy making processes.
At the same time, women often have critical knowledge and experience in adapting to climate change and managing natural resources in the context of high rates of male outmigration, land use change, and other drivers of change. They sustainably manage, generate, conserve, and use natural resources such as water, land, forests, pastures, and biodiversity within and across diverse environments. They are also the backbone of mountain agriculture, livelihoods, and natural resource management.
The conference will include plenary sessions, panels, and discussions on the following six themes:
- Climate Change: Gender and Adaptation
- Livelihoods: Inclusive Sustainable Development
- Governance: Gender-Responsive Policies and Plural Institutions
- Gender-Positive Change: Successes, Challenges, and Agenda-Setting for Gender ‘Mainstreaming’
- Ecosystems: Benefit Sharing, Access, and Equity in Diverse Environments and Common Property Regimes
- Water: Equitable Access, Control, and Benefits of Water Resources
The conference will bring together stakeholders from the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region and beyond to:
- Set new agendas and strategise the way forward for gender-positive change and responsive research, policies, and institutions in a changing world
- Share new and state-of-the-art knowledge and best practices on gender and natural resource management
- Focus on equitable and inclusive ways of integrating gender analysis, methodologies, and best practices into sustainable mountain development
- Take critical stock of the fragmentation, successes, and challenges of gender ‘mainstreaming’ efforts
- Strategise ways to address lack of traction and unequal power relations
- Share innovative adaptation strategies, approaches, and methods and the ways in which women and men are negotiating their own futures in culturally specific mountain contexts
- Sharing of new, emerging, and state-of-the-art knowledge on gender issues related to natural resource management, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development in mountain contexts
- Critical stocktaking of successes, best practices, and challenges faced by gender ‘mainstreaming’
- Formulation and charting of new agendas and innovative strategies for strengthening the traction and integration of gender issues
- Strengthened frameworks for integrating gender into policies, institutions, and programmes
- Strengthening gender networks of mountain practitioners and partners for the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region
- Key messages, recommendations, and ways forward for policy practice related to gender and emerging issues in mountain contexts in a post-Rio+20 world
- Celebration of the International Day for Rural Women by development practitioners from around the world