Kick-off meeting for Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action!
This week more than thirty representatives from organisations from all over the world are coming to Amsterdam. What do they have in common and why do they meet? They all work – in their own contexts – on sustainable development, the environment, protecting human rights or specifically on gender equality and women’s rights. And they are all somehow connected to the three organisations that work with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in ‘GAGGA’, the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action.
Rural women in Ndu, Cameroon (photo Both ENDS)
GAGGA is one of the 25 strategic partnerships that the Ministry started in 2016 with civil societyorganisations. It is a collaboration between two Dutch organisations, MamaCash and Both ENDS, and the Nicaraguan women's fund, FCAM, which coordinates the partnership.
There are many organisations in the world dedicated to protecting the environment and to sustainable development, and there are organisations that focus on gender equality and women’s rights. ‘But these “worlds” often largely operate independently from each other,’ says Tamara Mohr of Both ENDS. Together with Annelieke Douma, she is responsible for the GAGGA programme at Both ENDS. ‘In developing countries and emerging economies, women in particular depend on natural resources such as land and water because they are responsible for providing their families with food and energy. If they no longer have access to water, because it is polluted or obstructed by a dam, for example, or if the land on which they grow vegetables is grabbed by a palm oil company, this directly affects their position and the welfare of the entire family.’
Although women use natural resources far more than men in daily practice, they often have no say in how these resources are being managed. Generally speaking, women in local communities are barely involved, if at all, in the development of policies that impact their environment. ‘This is not only unjust, it is also not smart,’ says Annelieke Douma. ‘After all, it is women who often know best how to manage land and water resources sustainably, and they are usually the ones at the forefront defending their environment. Female environmental and human rights defenders are under enormous pressure, while funding and political space for women’s organisations are decreasing. That is why it is so important that the environmental movement and the women’s rights movement join forces to secure women’s rights to water, food and a healthy environment. They can learn a lot from each other and can have a greater impact by working together. This is what GAGGA is trying to achieve.’
Kick off in Amsterdam
Though staff members of the three organisations in the alliance have been in close contact for a long time, many GAGGA partners have never met in person. GAGGA will work primarily through regional women’s funds and environmental funds, so-called ‘small grants funds’. These funds provide small-scale, flexible funding to grassrootsgroups that are either resisting unsustainable developments or policies, or offering alternatives. They know best what grassrootsgroups need, and GAGGA develops its programme based on these needs. The women’s funds and environmental funds in question will meet in person for the first time next week in Amsterdam! Together they will explore common agendas and challenges, and discuss how they can strengthen the lobby capacity of many grassroots groups in the coming five years and link up to relevantnational and international policy processes.
Please see the GAGGA project information for more background
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