The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Renaissance (ARDD), to mark the International Women’s Day, organized a dialogue under the theme “She is the earth, she is the green future”, highlighting women’s leadership role in addressing climate change challenges.
The dialogue, moderated by Senior Adviser on Gender Justice at ARDD Dr. Sana Jelassi, brought together activists to discuss leading local experiences in Indonesia and Tunisia, and launched ARDD’s latest report “Green Economy and Circular Economy: The UN as a Catalyst of Change for Refugees? “
Taking part in the dialogue were: Partnership Manager and Treasurer of Tunisie Recyclage Reingard Bretèche; Greenisiatif EcoProject Coordinator from Indonesia Maria Bianca Vega; and ARDD Senior Adviser on Migration, Forced Displacement, and Statelessness Francesca Albanese.
Discussants shared what prompted them to get engaged in various initiatives after becoming aware of the need to protect the environment. In Jakarta, Indonesia, for example, Vega joined a network providing green alternatives and supporting ecological projects, and campaigns for individuals and businesses. The network raises awareness about the socio-environmental issues and works to find real solutions, pushing for more community ownership to ensure the sustainability of the projects and livelihood for beneficiaries. The network ensures that everything is complementary to existing communities and provides real solutions to their needs.
Shedding the light on the importance of partnerships with the local and international civil society as well as schools to nurture an environmentally friendly culture, Bretèche introduced Tunisie Recyclage, a Tunisian association that collects and recycles waste in northern Tunis. The association raises awareness about the 5R principles in safeguarding nature (Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Repurpose, Recycle) and pays specific attention to selective sorting of waste. She added, “Women occupy an important role in all activities the organization launches and supports”.
Albanese presented ARDD latest report on the green economy, circular economy, and the intersectionality with humanitarianism, development, and national plans and priorities, which makes recommendations on how the United Nations can contribute to furthering the protection of the environment. “This report sheds light on some of these ideas, inspiring UN agencies like UNRWA, together with engaged civil society, to play a pioneering role in promoting an effective environment culture, and governments with which they work can learn from, participate in and benefit from it. It aims to urge humanitarian and development actors working in resource vulnerable countries to extend the principle of ‘do not harm to the environment” she added.
The dialogue raised interesting questions and ideas on how to foster women’s leadership in the protection of the environment and come up with income-generating activities that are based on green and circular economies. The participants highlighted the importance of the role the civil society plays in needs assessment, launching initiatives, and future planning, they also stressed the need for consolidated efforts and collaboration between the government, the private sector local and international NGOs to ensure the sustainability of green initiatives and to drive the shift towards green and circular economies.
“Our role in ARDD, will be to reflect on these rich local experiences and examples and how they relate to women and youth in terms of civic engagement and economic empowerment” concluded Jalassi.