Women in Drina basin have power to solve environmental threats

Women from the political sphere, scientists, activists, and professionals concluded at a workshop organized by GWP-Med that the Drina river basin has a great potential for the benefit of the society in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia, though they warned the environment is under threat by uncontrolled investment projects and waste. They said an increasing number of women from different spheres are becoming active in efforts to protect the environment and that they have the enthusiasm and energy to combine their strengths to create models for sustainable development with a particular focus on gender issues.

An online workshop titled Gender dimensions in the sustainable management of natural resources through a Nexus approach in the Drina River Basin was held in the framework of the project Promoting the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in Southeastern Europe, through the use of the Nexus approach.

It is financed by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and implemented by the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean (GWP-Med) in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Environmental factors disproportionately affect women

The Drina basin connects Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. Workshop participants agreed environmental factors like biodiversity loss, climate change, natural disasters, and energy developments disproportionately affect women, their households, and businesses, particularly in services and agriculture.

They pointed to huge opportunities for sustainable development in the region but also highlighted environmental threats – from Rio Tinto’s lithium project in Serbia, hundreds of tons of solid waste that end up in rivers and lakes to small hydropower plants, but also bigger projects of the kind.

The idea was to bring together women to discuss the challenges in their everyday work with regard to gender topics and environmental protection and existing and potential solutions.

Authorities in three Drina basin states need to reach official agreements

Participants of the workshop stressed women in the Drina river basin must participate in decision making and join forces in the development of sustainable solutions which are considering the gender dimension.

The participants concluded they don’t lack either necessary energy or will and that women must be empowered to achieve what they believe in. Speakers at the workshop said women from all walks of life are becoming active in efforts to protect the environment.

During the introductory part of the workshop, GWP-Med’s gender experts Fiorela Shalsi and Liza Debevec presented the gender dimension in sustainable management of natural resources and efforts to introduce gender equality in the main social processes.

GWP-Med’s Senior Programme Officer Tassos Krommydas spoke of the Nexus assessment process in the Drina basin. Authorities should translate recommendations to political commitments and formalize some of the aspects of flow regulation, he said.

Nexus approach enables the creation of models for the reconciliation between sectors such as energy and agriculture as they compete for scarce resources like water. They are closely connected, so activities in one area affect the others and it is in the interest of stakeholders on each side to create mechanisms that protect the environment and allow human and business activity at the same time.

Sticking point in Buk Bijela hydropower project

One of the important elements in the economic development of a country is the cross-border impact of projects on its territory.

Vice-president of the Parliament of Montenegro Branka Bošnjak said she is worried about the effect of the Buk Bijela hydropower plant project in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the upstream rivers of Tara and Piva, which create the Drina. There will certainly be an impact and the countries in the basin need to reach an agreement, she said.

A balance must be achieved between economic interest and the environment, in Bošnjak’s words.

The Parliament of Montenegro is working to achieve gender equality as there are not many women in positions of power, she said.

Minister of Environment and Tourism of the Federation of BiH Edita Đapo stressed the Balkans are expected to face frequent extreme weather events. Women will be more affected as they run most of the small farms and agrotourism businesses, she said, and added women don’t have as much access to microfinancing and technology.

“Women bring positive change,” Đapo stated and pointed to the example of the women in the village of Kruščica who guarded their river for two years and managed to stop two small hydropower plant projects. The minister noted they won several global awards.

Editor of Balkan Green Energy News Branislava Jovičić said that according to the recent survey on gender perspective in sustainable management of the natural resource in the Drina river basin, a healthy environment is perceived as the most important aspect of sustainable development.

75 percent of the survey participants stated that neither official policies nor initiatives exist to encourage the participation of women and the public, in general, to participate in the decisions on projects and investments with potential impact on the environment.

For the full article visit Balkan Green Energy News

Geographical focus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Serbia
  • WBC
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on July 7, 2021
Modified on July 7, 2021