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Gender and climate struggle in discussion at the II Forum of Intermediate Cities

The Forum of Intermediate Cities, organized by UCLG in the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, on July 20, hosted the dialogue session on “Gender Perspective on Climate Change”. The space provided reflections among women officials from the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCoM), ICLEI South America and UN Women, identifying relevant solutions for the insertion of women in the planning and valorization of climate action plans of intermediary cities. 

The coordinator of the Global Compact of Mayors Helpdesk in the Americas, Valentina Falkenstein, represented the project and highlighted the various initiatives and incentives for gender perspectives to be considered in the climate action plans of cities, as well as within the GCoM. 

Among the examples of gender perspective transversality in Covenant actions, Falkenstein highlighted the new Mayors Forum that is being constituted based on gender equity and presented the success cases of the action plans of the cities of Alberti and Chocón in Argentina, which have already considered the gender perspective in their climate actions. 

“If on the one hand we are still far from achieving gender equality in the environment, there are small steps to celebrate. Discussions about the environment, wage equality, and the same number of participants in meetings should be rights guaranteed and encouraged by local governments,” Valentina said.

To move towards the construction of a Climate Action Plan with a gender perspective, women must be recognized as a population group vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. An example of this is the number of people killed in the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami. According to Alison Vásconez – Program Specialist representing UN Women, about 77% of the dead were women and children. “Due to religious issues women are subjugated only to domestic services, not being allowed for example to go out of the house. Soon many of them don’t know how to swim and so they are more vulnerable in these big disasters”, she exemplified. 

About the Middle Cities Forum 2022

It is widely known that cities are gaining more relevance in the international scenario, not only because they are home to more than 60% of the world’s population, but also because they have become laboratories where actions are being implemented to face the main challenges that humanity faces today. 

One of the biggest, no doubt, is the fight against climate change and the serious consequences it is bringing to cities and their inhabitants. Therefore, the city of Cuenca seeks with this second Continental Forum of Intermediate Cities to draw attention to successful climate change mitigation and adaptation actions that are born and applied in intermediate cities. 

Among the commitments and working priorities of this second Forum, which is framed within the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda, are climate finance, gender perspective in climate actions, technical training to measure and reduce the carbon footprint in cities, as well as strengthening the role of intermediary cities as essential actors to rethink value and food chains. 

Amid a pandemic whose consequences have challenged climate action, local governments are called upon to seek innovative, resilient, inclusive and supportive solutions. The event is framed within the Sustainable Development Goals of Climate Action, Zero Hunger, and Sustainable Cities and Communities.

About Cuenca, the host city 

Cuenca, an intermediate Latin American city, is part of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, and has even received medals of recognition for its actions in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Ratifying its commitment with the climate, the city has hosted one of the Thematic Conferences prior to the Habitat III World Conference on “Intermediate cities: urban growth and renewal”, whose results were directly used for the construction of the New Urban Agenda. In addition, Cuenca also had an important participation in the conferences held during Habitat III in Quito, seeking to strengthen the voice of intermediate cities in this process. 

In 2018, Cuenca hosted the Continental Forum of Intermediate Cities of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) network, where macro issues were addressed: gender equity, urban mobility and citizen participation. In this space, the greatest difficulties faced by the region’s intermediary cities and the mechanisms needed to overcome them were discussed.


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