Supporting local women with knowledge on climate change - Latin America
Researchers are working with local communities to integrate science with local knowledge in
stimulating women-led management of natural resources. This activity, called “A learning
arena to support local women with knowledge on climate change,” focuses on three case studies
where environmental challenges are being made more urgent by climate change. The research involves
local women in identifying key variables of environmental problems and developing sustainable
- 11 research and civil society organizations involved in the learning arena
- Three different case studies in Latin America
Research is often disconnected from practical application and policy, while local knowledge is often not
adequately considered in development of policy. Governance problems frequently arise as a result of the
lacking interface among research institutions, local communities, and policy-makers.
“A learning arena to support local women with knowledge on climate change” – initially
triggered by the Community-based Management of Environmental
challenges in Latin America project – links research institutions, local women, and policy-makers
in analyzing environmental problems and developing solutions. The project focuses on three case studies:
water and biodiversity in Afro-Colombian communities on the Pacific Coast in Colombia; forests in Oaxaca,
Mexico; and coastal areas of the Bahia Blanca estuary in Argentina.
With a special focus on the needs of women and their role in communities, the project aims to create an
arena for exchange, with the ultimate goal of women-led, sustainable, community-based governance in natural
Helping the planet
Better management of natural resources in the case study areas would help conserve freshwater resources,
biodiversity, forests, and coastal areas there. Natural resource management also needs to be adapted in the
face of climate change, and potential new problems anticipated to allow for mitigation and/or adaptation.
Research aspects of the project include modeling to consider various potential environmental scenarios,
which contributes to a science-based approach to natural resource management.
The project’s participatory approach, involving workshops and field trips, promotes involvement of
local communities in policy-making. Better natural resource management will ensure that the communities can
continue to depend on them and survive in the face of climate change. Case studies on the Colombia coast
and in the forest of Mexico include common property rights, which are being integrated into resource
management models. Preserving common property rights could help ensure that communities remain owners of
traditional lands, and continue to benefit from them. And, adding a gender perspective to natural resource
management policies specifically benefits and empowers women.
Such learning arenas can be developed at other locations with similar communities and problems to those in
the case studies. The method could also be applied to other communities that have different problems. Local
knowledge can be combined with scientific research to develop women-oriented policy in many fields around
Images owned by the activity partners, all rights reserved.