Costa Rica, October 10, 2019. "We want to ensure that governments are committed to addressing the challenges faced by women

against climate change," commented Nancy Henrriquez, leader of the Coordination of Territorial Women Leaders (CMLT), in the panel "Territorial women leaders activate alarm on climate change," which took place under the framework of PRE COP 25, organised by CMLT, a division of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB).

The panel sought to reflect on living experiences and challenges faced by women living in harmony with forests, and to highlight their role in the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity in the region.

Women on the panel described the vital link between women's empowerment and the goals of economic and food security and cultural heritage.

Sara Omi, lawyer and leader in the Emberá community in Panama, spoke of the importance of providing opportunities for women to contribute to decision-making nationally, but also within their communities, to ensure that the particular challenges they face are addressed.

"Women must have a voice in decisions about the maintenance of community lands and natural resources," Omi said. "These contributions have been shown to play a significant role in combating poverty and enabling community subsistence.”

With the disruption caused by the impact of climate change, valuable traditional knowledge may be lost, with damage not only to the community but to a world that increasingly recognises the importance of this knowledge in addressing climate change.

The panel made it clear that women's decisions regarding resource use have significant support in maintaining biodiversity and reducing forest carbon emissions. And this is also at risk if there are no investments in the ability to overcome the growing threats to food security and the extreme floods and droughts that plague their communities.

"Food security must be a priority if we want to keep girls in school. The solution is to improve and strengthen community livelihoods, ensure that community land tenure covers women's rights, and create new ways to support women as entrepreneurs," concluded Nancy Henrriquez.

ICCO Cooperation,  with the support of the European Union and the EUROCLIMA+ programme, supports the management of the AMPB, which jointly implement projects that strengthen community forest governance and the development and strengthening of communities for the development of livelihoods that respect the forest in Mesoamerica.

More photos of the event here

Learn about the project implemented by ICCO Cooperation in  Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras here.

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