Our work on gender and climate change adaptation policy has been recognised by Gender-Just Solutions Awards. A photo-documentation based on the same work was released by the Environment Minister at the India Pavilion at Conference of Parties21 (COP21) in Paris.
“The Department of Women Welfare has been trying hard to bring all the women welfare related programmes and schemes under a single one. However, we have also been facing several challenges. Moreover, there is no interdepartmental coordination within the government. For instance, with regard to agriculture and livestock benefits for women, the Department of Women Welfare doesn’t have any linkage with the Department of Animal Husbandry.” (October, 2013).
"Central sector insurance schemes for crops and livestock must address the holistic issue of climate change vulnerability, agriculture and gender through a portfolio insurance for livelihoods because adaptive farming is about a basket of diverse agriculture-based activities. Development sector schemes contribute towards coping with climate change but adaptation expenditure is about building ecological and livelihood resilience. We need to address this matter." (March, 2014).
"There is now a lot of talk on climate change but agricultural impacts on women following climate change have been ignored. Women do suffer more than men. They do most of the back-breaking work. I do support the findings of Alternative Futures' research on this issue. If we talk about inclusiveness, then women need to be given more voice in capacity building, decision-making and ownership of land among other things. I feel more research should be carried out on this issue" (March, 2014).
"Seed is a very serious constraint after droughts when farmers are unable to plant crops in rainfed areas. In the last 10 years we have seen 3 droughts - very widespread, significant droughts. Availability of seed is critical to adaptation. I think farm-saved seeds are key for adaptation following droughts and women have a great role to play in this.” (March, 2014).
"Womens self-help groups can act as farmer producer groups to access credit, seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) provides for this. The benefits of dairy programmes mainly go to women as they perform the major labour though generally, I agree, more women-centric schemes are needed. It will be good to introduce gender budgeting as this will help departments evolve more gender-centric provisions." (May, 2013).
Madhya Pradesh: The Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project (MPRLP) is being implemented in nine districts of the State. Grain banks are one such initiative that is helping small and marginal farmers at the time of drought and crop failure.
Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal: Grain bank is based on the traditional concept of keeping aside a little grain everyday for use in times of distress. Grain banks are being promoted in the flood-prone regions of Gorakhpur district in Uttar Pradesh and in the Sunderbans in West Bengal.
In the last few years, malnutrition among the small and marginal farmer families in the Sunderbans, West Bengal, has further deteriorated. This has followed more frequent climate change-induced disasters like floods and cyclones which have destroyed acres of cropland.
Small and marginal farmers, especially women took up cropping of multiple food crops on the small plots around their homes to ensure them food and nutritional security through the year. Both in West Bengal and in the floodplains of Gorakhpur, East Uttar Pradesh, women farmers used their small front yard and/or backyard to grow different kinds of grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits through intercropping and crop rotation. Around 15-20 varieties of crops, including leafy and other vegetables, legumes, roots and tubers, spices and herbs, are grown in these gardens throughout the year. The different food crops fix soil nutrients.
West Bengal: Marginal and landless farming families of West Bengal suffer from chronic shortage of food, fodder and firewood, leading to male migration, which in turn increases the burden of work on women. The rapid disappearance of grazing lands along with reduced access to forests or common lands is creating an acute crisis for fodder. Conversely, common properties like fallow lands, water bodies, river and pond banks, embankments of irrigation canals, roads and railway tracks etc. either remain unutilized or are degraded due to overuse by communities, resulting in soil erosion and disruption of the local ecosystem.
About six years ago, a local initiative began to revive fallow and degraded lands for use by local communities. Currently, across the State, this ‘common property resource (CPR) management’ has spread to over 50 groups comprising 1,055 members.
Uttarakhand: Abode of all rivers, the hilly regions of Uttarakhand are nevertheless beset by water scarcity. Villagers in districts Almora and Nainital are taking up roof rainwater harvesting with the help of a local organisation. Climate change, with erratic rainfall, higher temperatures, delayed snowfall and early drying of ponds, has further aggravated the problem. Rainwater harvesting has helped conserve water during monsoons for later use and also controlled soil erosion.
West Bengal: The Chhotonagpur range in the western region of West Bengal gets rain only for 2 months and faces drought the rest of the year. The soil on this undulated topography is rocky lateritic with very low water retention capacity. Excavation of ponds is difficult and expensive because the rocks are almost impenetrable. So the ponds are usually very shallow and, after the monsoons, cannot hold water till next summer. Wells also dry up in summer. Women have to spend 5 hours walking 5 Km daily to get water for their daily needs.
Sarpanch Balkesh from Budheli village (Uttar Pradesh) explains how women shoulder 75% of the agricultural tasks in his region, thereby being more vulnerable than men to climate change impacts.
“When I came into this village as a 13-year-old bride, it was green. We never had problems getting fodder. Over the years, I have seen our forests vanish. Thankfully, things are slowly recovering. Two years ago, I joined the van panchayat samiti and have seen what we can achieve if we work together. Thanks to the fodder I now get from our protected forest, these days I earn most of my income from the milk I sell.”
“In this pond, men share our work. But roasting fish and sorting it before sending them to the market is solely done by us women. At the market, we often sell our fish at better prices than men because we have sorted and graded the fish and we know their value better; and because we often negotiate harder with our customers. So we manage to save some money. But men get lower prices and then often just drink their earnings away!”
“The burden of troubles at home as well as on the field falls on the shoulder of women, in order to address these challenges we women need to be empowered as informed decision-makers through awareness and training women for record keeping and maintaining accounts. Government or institutions like CHEA should take up initiatives such as constructing more mangers at the block level, promoting horticulture mobile teams, constructing more biogas plants like UREDA Biogas plant, providing resources and support for roof rain water harvesting to address the issue of water shortage.”
This is a unique collection of photographs showing women’s vast and varied relationship with India’s environmental resources – land, water, forests and biodiversity – and how this relationship is being affected by climate change.
Aberrations in the weather parameters, now a regular phenomenon has an influence on the agriculture based livelihoods. The study undertaken documented viable adoption models in three vulnerable climatic zones viz., Andhra Pradesh (drought prone), Uttar Pradesh (Flood prone) and West Bengal (Cyclone prone). In each state five villages were selected and in them five organic-agriculture practicing farmers and five conventional (chemical) practicing farmers were selected.
The paper highlights that in the changing climate scenarios Indian policy makers need to look at adaptation with a gender lens and build support systems for farmers to facilitate it. It also brings out the need to prioritize ecological farming practices and understand the weather variations .The authors have used the case of groundnut crop from Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh to highlight the same.
This policy brief highlights the gender dimensions of climate change in the context of India’s State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs), some of which are available on State government websites.
This research report explicitly highlights the causes and concerns of women due to changing climate. It rightly points out that climate change would put an extra pressure on women activities ranging from agriculture, fetching water to fodder collection; and critically analyses the implications for women livelihoods generation. The research was carried out during 2010-2011.
This training manual is designed for rural women and rural elected women leaders in South Asia to enhance their capacities and skills required to deliver 1.5 days training programme on 'Gender, Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security' at the grassroots level. The manual, supported by CGIAR-Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) programme (http://ccafs.cgiar.org/), flags impact of climate change on local agriculture, the gender impacts of climate change on women farmers and what local women and elected women leaders can do.
‘Think global act local’. The odd-even scheme of the Delhi government illustrates this dictum. Aditi Kapoor in her latest blog highlights how the scheme is not just about reducing Delhi’s pollution but also delivers co-benefit in reducing fossil fuel emissions which is the main goal of the global climate agreement reached in Paris last month.
Aditi Kapoor, Director Alternative Futures, recaps her experiences from an event on gender and climate change at the India Pavilion at COP21. Alternative Futures has been a partner of CDKN working on gender and climate change in India.
Despite 196 nations giving their ‘aye’ to the global climate agreement adopted in Paris on Saturday, the agreement does not really spell a win-win situation for all. Except for the French Presidency, which has ensured that between contact groups and spin-off groups meetings behind closed doors, indaba consultations, bilateral telephonic calls between heads of States and a continuous flow of draft agreements, the final adoption of a global climate pact would occur.
The need to incorporate gender concerns and women’s rights in climate change was discussed at a side-event organized by Alternative Futures and TERRE Policy Centre at the India Pavilion on Tuesday, 8th December, 2015, even as the climate negotiators in adjoining rooms gave scant importance to gender in their draft negotiating texts.
It was definitely a trip that changed my perspective. I had never thought that our farmers, especially women farmers, would have this kind of understanding and awareness about climate change impacts and adaptation measures.
Millions of farmers in Chhattisgarh were duped to the tune of Rs 335 crore by private insurance companies acting hand-in-glove with the agriculture department. Several farmers like Hirasingh Markam found premium deducted from his KCC though he had not availed the loan-cum-insurance scheme against the card.
Aditi Kapoor, co-founder Alternative Futures and Fellow, Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD), spoke to Anupam Hazarika of OneWorld Foundation, India on how climate change and gender issues are interrelated, how civil societies can contribute to disseminate awareness and knowledge, how renewable energy can substitute fossil fuels and other related topics.
The UNFCCC's Women and Gender Constituency, representing women from all over the world, unequivocally expressed their agony and frustration towards the failed COP 20, Lima summit in Peru. The representatives urged the nations to concentrate on "System Change" before focusing on "Climate Change".
The IPCC synthesis report, released on November 1, outlines the effects of climate chnage on all regions of the world. Given below are the implications of climate change specifically for India and Asia, with observations from the synthesis report and the draft IPCC assessment report (AR 5).
India slipped 13 spots from its last year’s ranking of 101 on the Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum. It has performed poorly in removing gender-based disparities, ranking 114 out of 142 countries in World Economic Forum’s 2014 gender gap index, scoring below average on parameters like economic participation, educational attainment and health and survival.
Recognizing the important role that women play in the development of society and growth of the nation, Government commits to provide 33% reservation to them in Parliament and state legislative assemblies.
Impact of climate change on the lives and livelihoods of rural women in Uttarakhand.
Of course, the ground reality is that there are still gaps in women’s participation in the VPs and at the core of this is a lack of awareness about the rules as well as policy inadequacies. In a bid to analyse government policies that can help communities, and especially women, adapt to climate change, Alternative Futures (AF), a New Delhi-based development, research and communication group, has collaborated with CHEA.
Alternative Futures and India Habitat Centre collaborated to present the first lecture in the series Pathways to Visionary Futures. The lecture 'The End of Growth?' was delivered by Mansoor Khan on 22nd April 2016, Friday at 6.30 p.m. at the Gulmohar, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110 003
The video of the event is availalble at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlVk16GPcjg
A half day Consultation to Propose Indicators for Climate Change-related SDGs and UNFCCC Bonn Debrief was organized by Alternative Futures (AF) in collaboration with Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), Action 2015 and Women 2030 Network on 10th September, 2015 in New Delhi focusing on four climate change-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7,12,13 and 15. Participants proposed modifications in indicators existing suggested ones and also added indicators. These are being communicated to representatives of government and the civil society engaging with the SDGs process.
Alternative Futures, New Delhi is organising a half day roundtable on ‘Gender, Agriculture and State Climate Action Plans: Policies and Practices’, on March 13, 2014, from 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm at India International Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi.
The two day conference focuses on the most urgent challenging and emerging key issues within the global and national climate discourse.