Wednesday 3 March, 04:00 – 05:30 pm, VIP 1

Mountain women and men use, manage and conserve natural resources in diverse ways in increasingly fragile and rapidly changing environments. High rates of male outmigration and the social and power relations structuring access to productive resources put undue pressure on women who are often singularly responsible for household livelihood security in the absence of men. Limited mobility and socio-cultural norms shape women’s participation in decision-making processes and access to the wider information-communication arena. Building off the Bhutan +10-conference on women and sustainable mountain development (ICIMOD 2012), this session critically examines innovative and market-driven seeds of good practice on engendered adaptation to climate change, water and food security in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, which also challenge cultural norms underlying gender inequality.

From improved millet cultivation, a climate-resilient and highly nutritious staple, to its processing and value addition by women entrepreneurs in the mid-hills of Nepal, to increased participation in water governance and disaster risk reduction in Chitral, Pakistan to women’s role in local tourism in Lijiang, China, the seeds presented by participants in this session illustrate the diversity of mountain women’s engagement in sustaining livelihoods. Participants examine key enablers including local, national and regional development actors and organizations, an empowering learning environment facilitated by collaborative research, visionary leadership and clearly dedicated resources for mainstreaming gender. Yet challenges in taking seeds to scale persist—violent conflict, repeated natural disasters, the limited life-span of project resources and the deepening of gender inequality—shape the landscape of resilience.

Chair: Sara Ahmed


  • Arjumand Nizami (Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation): Climate change and impact on women’s vulnerabilities—A case study from the Pakistani Highlands
  • Delia Catacutan (ICRAF): Shifting gender roles and land-use preferences—Implications for mountain futures
  • Yufang Su (CMES/KIB): Gender assessment of vulnerability and capacity to adapt to climate change: Yunnan case study
  • Chanda Gurung Goodrich (ICIMOD): Women as leaders in adaptation
  • Qun Zhao (YASS): Adaptation strategies around crop production from a gender perspective in Jianchuan County, Yunnan, China
  • Mona Sherpa (Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation): Facilitating women’s participation in water planning and management in Nepal
  • Yahui Zou (YASS): Analysis on the impact of financial remittance towards origin family/recipient family under the context of climate change: A case study of Southwest Yunnan
  • Xiao’ou Ou (YASS): Women migrants, climate change and adaptation—A case study from Yunnan

Rapporteur: Sara Ahmed