In acknowledgement of the urgent need for more effective and interlinked regional feminist responses from the economic south involving and in support of women advocates working in areas of gender and development, DAWN is organising a series of regional consultations and training institutes on “Strengthening Policy Analysis and Advocacy on Gender, Economic and Ecological Justice” in three regions - the Pacific, Africa and Latin America - in 2010 and 2011.
This advocacy is part of DAWN’s on-going effort to help promote awareness on and resolution to three major challenges highlighted in global governance debates: The first challenge is the existence of double standards in the response to the triple crisis. An unequal playing field in key policy areas is a major obstacle to coordinated response. The second challenge is the search for a sustainable model of economic recovery, growth, and development. The focus on financing climate change mitigation and adaptation is too narrow given the significant resource flows needed for developing countries to shift from high carbon, fossil-fuel energy to low carbon, renewable energy sources; to address the food crisis exacerbated by extreme and frequent climate events, floods, droughts, storms, loss of arable land and biodiversity; and to provide social protection for groups most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change including disease, landlessness, migration, poverty, and much more. Thus, far solutions to all these challenges have tended to be market- or technology-oriented and driven by corporate interests, which have created new inequalities between the North and the South. The third challenge is the inconsistencies between international trade rules (both WTO and regional trade mechanisms) and international environmental agreements.While economic south governments and civil society acknowledge some of these converging crises, as in other regions of the globe the inter-linkages between them are often ignored.
This project brings together actors working in various spheres of the areas of gender, economic and climate justice in the three regions of the Pacific, Africa and Latin America, in settings where people can raise difficult questions and political challenges in an atmosphere of trust and collective reflection. Specifically, participants include researchers and analysts from academia and civil society; policy makers from government, inter-governmental and regional institutions; and young and local women activists. The training institutes and consultations aim to provide venues for sharing information on a range of global and regional responses to the world multiples crises, including new initiatives that challenge hegemonic thinking and systems in finance, trade and monetary, and environmental policymaking, as well as for mapping current measures, mechanisms and programs at national and regional levels; and discuss possibilities, constraints and contradictions. The women’s rights activists from local and regional organizations will have their own facilitated input process.
Through the process, DAWN also hopes to encourage young feminists and women’s rights advocates to increase their engagement in transforming global economic and climate change governance structures; build capacity in policy analysis and advocacy on key gender, economic and climate justice issues, and their interlinkages; and encourage solidarity and support to contribute to policy proposals and social movement activism toward and during regional and global policy advocacy targets including the Tarawa Climate Change Conference (Kiribati, Nov 9-12 2010), CBD COP 10 (Nagoya, 27-29 October 2010), UNFCCC COP 16 (Mexico, Nov 29-Dec 10, 2010), Rio+20' Earth Summit (New York, May 2012), UNFCCC COP 17 (South Africa) and others.*
The GEEJ series began in the Pacific last September 2010, followed by Africa in November 2010, and to be continued in Latin America in March 2011.
Africa Regional Consultation and Training Institute on Strengthening Policy Analysis and Advocacy on Gender, Economic and Ecological Justice
A regional consultation and training institute on Gender, Economic and Ecological Justice (GEEJ) was held in Accra, Ghanafrom 20-23 November 2010. This event was the 2nd in a regional sortie of Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN). For this segment, Ghana-based Third World Network – Africa (TWN-Africa) collaborated with DAWN.
The human expression of structural economic distortions and policy failures of African economies, in particular were magnified by the global crises, reinforcing unequal power relations by further skewing production, distribution and consumption, and thereby magnifying differences between various social groups and men and women. The poor, the powerless and the vulnerable social groups - of which women constitute the large majority - thus continue to bear the brunt of the global crises.
Exacerbated by severe food, energy and climate crises, the global financial and economic crises have gravely penalised women. Jobs and means of livelihood have been lost and the public revenue reduced ; social services have become out of reach of an increased number of impoverished people; and social protection systems are under threat by neoliberal policies, such that women serve ever-increasingly as the surrogate safety nets for families and communities affected by the negative impacts of the triple crises.
Moreover, finance, food and climate challenges are still separately addressed in their distinct policy silos against a backdrop of continuing lack of political will for public action on global problems at a global level. The growing distrust of development aid and the sluggish pace of international cooperation on climate change illustrate this critical failure in global governance.
Given these persisting challenges, DAWN and TWN recognize the urgent need to analyze the ways in which gender and other social implications are inter-linked with issues of economic justice, particularly as it relates to the key issue of the structural transformation of African economies.
Academics and civil society members from the Africa region, including12 young women activists, worked alongside DAWN facilitators from India, Philippines and Madagascar, building on shared knowledge of linkages between gender, economic and environmental justice, and enhancing intergenerational capacities within women’s movements at the regional level.
Indeed, one of the key lessons learned from the triple crises is that the predominant sources of growth in Africa – relying mainly on primary commodity exports - do not only deplete natural resources. They have also generated an immiserizing growth for many, especially women, whose fate in the post-crisis context hinges on the policy space and commitment of African governments to address the enduring structural weaknesses of their economies, which existed even before the global economic crisis and have prevented the creation of more equitable African societies.
The achievement of the inter-linked goals of gender, economic and environmental justice will depend on political will to devise approaches to growth and development that can best achieve, simultaneously, the twin-goals of structural change of Africa’s economies, as well as equity, as the necessary foundations for sustainable economic development in Africa.
This meeting therefore brought together key regional actors in various spheres of advocacy around gender, economic and environmental justice, in a setting of trust and collective reflection. At this 2nd round of DAWN Gender, Economic and Ecological Justice (GEEJ) regional consultations and training Institutes in Ghana, Africa, discussions focused on: Feminist responses in the African context; Africa in the international economic division of labour and the global financial and economic crises; Policy mechanisms and challenges in relation to regional and global institutional processes; and Strengthening advocacy platforms towards gender, economic and environmental justice in Africa.
The DAWN GEEJ series commenced in the Pacific region in September 2010. The final regional event is scheduled to take place this March 2011 in Latin America, with further regional and inter-regional advocacy throughout 2010-2012.
Click DOWNLOAD for the GEEJ Africa Regional Concept Note
GEEJ Pacific and Africa discussions are available at DAWN Informs December 2010 issue
For more information on GEEJ, click HERE
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