The Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiative meets in Mumbai

GenderCC held the international meeting of the “Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiative” (GUCCI) project in Mumbai, India, from 26 to 28 of February. Hosted by the All India Women's Conference (AIWC), the meeting also brought together the project partners from Equidad de Género, ciudadanía, trabajo y familia from Mexico, GenderCC Southern Africa from South Africa, Aksi for gender, social and ecological justice and Solidaritas Perempuam from Indonesia and GenderCC’s international secretariat from Germany.

The three-day meeting was marked by an intense exchange of experiences and peer-learning exercises among the participants, who reviewed the implemented activities of the project in Delhi, Mumbai, Jakarta, Makassar, Johannesburg and Tshwane, and looked forward into the next steps, especially on the eight new pilot cities, and the work at the national level in Indonesia and South Africa. On the first day, GenderCC’s secretariat presented the updated chronogram with the list of activities included in the extension of the project, which will run until December 2020. Through an interactive session, participants were able to visualize where they stand in the project timeline, which activities have been completed so far, which are ongoing and the ones still to be implemented. “The exercise was very helpful not only to see what we need to do by next year in Kolkata, but also to learn the paths of other cities and countries in implementing GUCCI” commented one of the participants from All India Women’s Conference.

Participants presented the implementation status of the project in their respective cities, as well as the achievements and challenges they have faced so far. Later, a peer-review session focused on the results of the “Gender Assessment and Monitoring of Mitigation and Adaptation” (GAMMA) methodology applied in the first phase of the project. A debate followed on how the methodology serves to identify entry points in urban climate policies in the cities, form advocacy strategies and draw recommendations so that such policies are responsive to gender aspects. “It is much clear now how GAMMA feed into the policy recommendations we elaborate. The gaps we find through the interviews and gender assessments are actually the key to our advocacy work with policymakers”, said one of the participants from Solidaritas Perempuam.    

The next day started with a round of presentations on the new pilot cities included in the extended phase of the project. Participants showcased socioeconomic and environmental data of the cities of Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Chennai, Kolkata, Yogyakarta, Mexico City and Tlaxala, while presenting the challenges such diverse cities face with the increased impacts of climate change. Throughout the presentations, participants realised that the challenges were rather common along the different cities. For example, air pollution was highlighted as one of the most striking hazards affecting Mexico City, Ekurhuleni and Kolkata. Participants also pointed out that the current political changes within the municipal and national governments in their own countries pose challenges to their advocacy and campaigning work. By the end of the day, those who are involved in the project since 2015 introduced the pilot actions they have developed in the first phase of GUCCI. The action piloted by GenderCC Southern Africa in Johannesburg and Tshwane, “the integration of gender into food and energy nexus”, raised a lot of interest among all participants, who wanted to know how the action supports women’s income generation and entrepreneurship, whose communities are disproportionately affected by food insecurity and energy poverty.

The meeting was also an opportunity to plan future engagements of the GUCCI project, including the participation in international events on gender, cities and climate change, such as the 2020 World Urban Forum which will take place in Abu Dhabi. There, the project participants plan to share the results of the “Gender Assessment and Monitoring of Mitigation and Adaptation” (GAMMA) methodology, based on the experiences in each city where the project has been implemented. The participation in the international climate talks of 2020 was also agreed as highly strategic. As the project concludes next year, participants will showcase the key results, methodologies and outcomes to the broader audience, as well as reach out to local and national governments working towards gender-responsive climate policies during these international events.

Gotelind Alber, who leads the GUCCI project at GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice, commented on the main takeaways of the Mumbai meeting: “the opportunity to have these meetings where everyone exchanges experiences is key. It is actually one of the main goals of the project, to enable the sharing of knowledge and promote learning among the international partners on gender and climate change in their cities. It is always very enriching to see how the project is being differently implemented, from Mumbai to Makassar or Johannesburg, even though all the partners use one methodology”.

On the last day of the meeting, the group took a day-trip to different places of the megacity. Participants got to know small-scale climate-resilient initiatives, such as a mangrove conservation site located in the middle of Mumbai, a sewage water recycling plant at the Indian Institute Technology. The participants also visited the All India Women’s Conference building in Mumbai, where a hostel for more than 100 working women is in place. That same day, a solar power plant was inaugurated at the rooftop of the building. The GUCCI participants had the pleasure to take part in the ceremony, which was concluded with a savory lunch with Upama, Dhokla and Gulab jamun, some great South-Indian specialties. Participants finally headed back to Mexico, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa with a lot to work on after the meeting, but certainly also with a lot of inspiration and tasteful memories from Mumbai.

The International Secretariat thanks all the GUCCI participants for their engagement in the meeting. This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU), based on a decision of the German Bundestag.