Peruvian indigenous women in the face of climate change

Peruvian women during a prior consultation

In 2019, the Ministry of Environment of Peru incorporated the gender approach in the process of prior consultation on the Regulation of the Framework Law on Climate Change. Photo: MINAM

The consequences of climate change affect women differently, deepening the existing gender inequality gap. In the case of indigenous populations, community representation is generally associated with the exclusive participation of men. For that reason, women are often overlooked. This is made worse as they also carry out activities that limit their participation, such as childcare, household and community activities.

“I think that in this country of inequality, we have to learn to respect our rights. Indigenous peoples are in a vulnerable position, however even more vulnerable are the women. And yet, indigenous women have a very important role in their communities.” - Melania Canales, president of the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Women of Peru (ONAMIAP).

In 2019, the Ministry of Environment of Peruincorporated the gender approach in the process of prior consultation on the Regulation of the Framework Law on Climate Change. Prior consultation is a process whose purpose is to reach an agreement, free and informed, between the State and indigenous peoples on a specific issue. It is a right of indigenous peoples established under Peruvian legislation and recognized in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization. As a result, exclusive spaces were stablished for the participation of indigenous women as a measure of positive discrimination. For example, one of the 2-day workshops was exclusively for women. In addition, from 1,433 indigenous representatives, which participated in the process, 63% were women. Likewise, two of the seven participating organizations are composed only of women. These are the National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous, Native and Salaried Women of Peru (FEMUCARINAP) and ONAMIAP. This was done with support from the "NDC Peru: Support for the Implementation of the National Climate Change Strategy", project, funded by the International Climate Iniative (IKI) and implemented by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

For the process, a “Wawa Wasi” – a nursery – was initiated, which allowed mothers to fully participate in the dialogue workshops. “I think this is an example for all ministries. Emphasis should be placed on the gender issue. We talk about gender, but gender comes with all its components and the issue of women is broad, especially when we are mothers.” - Lourdes Huanca, president of FEMUCARINAP.

Among the 152 agreements registered in the minutes of the dialogue phase, affirmative gender actions were considered, such as considering parity in the conformation of the Indigenous Climate Platform and the explicit incorporation of the gender approach in the description of Integral Climate Change Management in the regulation.

In addition, some lessons learned were identified. These include taking into account the importance of holding informational workshops for women only and thus reduce the information gap on the subject, considering the design of indicators of the progress of participation of indigenous women in prior consultation processes and contemplating the logistic coordination for the children of the participating women (mobility, accommodation, food and nurseries).

The process of prior consultation of the Regulation of the Framework Law on Climate Change has set a milestone on the processes of gender inclusion in the country and the Peruvian State has assumed the commitment to constantly improve the processes.