At an international forum on community and land resource rights in Lima on 16 July, indigenous women from 15 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America gathered to call for the inclusion of indigenous women’s perspectives and their direct participation in the dialogue around national and international climate change adaptation and mitigation policies.

The forum focused on three key issues: 1) the effective participation of indigenous women in decision-making on climate change policy at national and international level; 2) the collective rights of women to rights of tenure; and 3) the integration of indigenous women’s vision and management of natural resources in public policy.

Gladis Vila Pihue, President of the National Organisation of Andean and Amazonian Women of Peru (ONAMIAP), highlighted that “women play an undeniable role in conservation” and that indigenous people have been practising effective climate change adaptation strategies for years – such profound knowledge that the Peruvian government has not made adequate use of.

Women produce nearly half of the food grown in the developing world and are often burdened with the responsibility of having to adapt to climate change for the sake of providing for their families. Despite this, the role that they play in the management of a community’s resources is often overlooked and ignored; women are excluded from national initiatives which directly affect them as a result.

It is hoped that the forum will pave the way for further discussions leading to the participation of indigenous women and their communities in combating climate change; particularly in the run up to the COP20 in which indigenous women’s, as well as men’s, proposals will be vital to ensuring the development of a realistic and effective global climate agreement.

The event was co-organised by ONAMIAP, the Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP) and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).