On 28 April, 2021, the seminar on “Empowering Women: The Key for Enhancing Agrobiodiversity and Food System Transformation in Adaptation to Climate Change” was held successfully in Beijing. More than 60 representatives from government, universities, research institutes, enterprises, social organizations, and international organizations such as UN entities in China participated in the seminar. The event was jointly hosted by UN Women, UNEP-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and coordinated by the Farmer’s Seed Network.
Ms. Smriti Aryal, UN Women China Head of the Office, Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP, and Mr. Quanhui Wang, Division Chief of the International Exchange Department of the Rural Energy and Environment Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, delivered opening remarks at the seminar.
As one of the implementation units of the project, Director Zhang extended her gratitude and welcoming remarks to the guests. Firstly, she emphasized the important role of women in food security, agrobiodiversity protection and COVID-19 and climate change adaptation. Secondly, she pointed out that the Qinghai women's empowerment project was jointly organized and coordinated by a number of UN entities and implemented through close cooperation between governments and NGOs. Its successful experience has practical significance for similar inter-agency cooperation in the future. We hope that the policy recommendations and joint action plan that will be formed during this meeting could provide support for the next three major international summits, including the first UN Food System Summit, the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) that will be held in Kunming in October, and the 26th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UFCCC COP26) that will be held in Glasgow, UK, in November. Finally, Director Zhang stressed that the women group is one of the main agents of change and transformation, so it is of great significance to create the necessary conditions to empower women.
Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP, delivering the opening remark
There are three sessions in the seminar. Participants engaged in heated discussions around three themes, including "gender related food system policies", "experience from government and the civil society", and "how to better serve rural women through stakeholder exchange".
In the first session, Ms. Yanyan Zhang, one of the representatives of UNEP-IEMP who led the project, made a presentation titled "transformation of women, seeds and food systems in the context of crisis and climate change". She shared the experience and achievements of a series of projects on community participation in agricultural diversity protection and livelihood development carried out by UNEP-IEMP over the years. She also took actual cases to show the leadership and potential of women in the community, especially in rural areas, and how the "From Seed to Table" initiative promoted the transformation of the food system by strengthening the interaction between urban and rural areas. Her report highlighted the importance of women's empowerment to drive the development of themselves and their communities.
UNEP-IEMP representative, Ms. Yanyan Zhang, presenting at the seminar
Since 2018, with the support of Chanel Foundation, UN Women China Office, together with UNEP-IEMP, IFAD, Qinghai Poverty Alleviation and Development Bureau and Qinghai Women's Federation, jointly launched the "Strengthening Qinghai women farmers’ income security and resilience in a changing climate". The project was implemented with deep cooperation with projects of IFAD in Qinghai, presenting strong synergy effect. Up to now, the project has provided training and capacity building services to more than 360 government and private service providers, directly benefiting more than 55000 women in economic vulnerable areas. Ten women farmers representatives from Qinghai Province were invited to share their project activities and lesson learned.
Qinghai women farmer representative sharing experiences at the seminar
UNEP-IEMP Director Linxiu Zhang, Qinghai women farmer representative, and their handmade products
Representatives at the seminar