Chile and Uruguay developed a methodology to mainstream gender and Environmental Education (EE).
Development challenges are multidimensional and complex, and they require collective action and concrete instruments to leave no one behind. Climate change, for example, has a greater impact on vulnerable or fragile populations such as women and girls. According to UNDP, women are fourteen times more likely than men to die in a climate disaster (UNDP in UNFPA, 2021) but they are also key subjects for the preservation of life:
For millennia, women have had a special relationship with nature. They contribute enormously to the well-being and sustainable development of their communities, as well as to the maintenance of the planet’s ecosystems, biological diversity and natural resources (UN, 2021).
In addition to focusing on those most in need to ensure inclusion, it is also essential to generate a pedagogy focused on people’s greater co-responsibility towards their environments, through Environmental Education (EE). In this regard, at the beginning of 2020, Chile and Uruguay initiated the implementation of a Bilateral SSC project which objective was to strengthen technical capacities for the implementation of climate change policies including gender and EE.
To achieve this, professionals from both countries exchanged knowledge and analyzed progress and challenges in terms of gender inequality and climate change. Activities included working meetings, webinars and on-site visits to learn, for example, about good practices in electricity generation (AGCID, 2020). According to AGCID, these exchanges revealed that “women are the most affected by climate change and the least represented in the decision-making bodies that fight against the phenomenon (…) the challenge is to reverse this inequality through a fair and inclusive energy transition” (AGCID, 2020).
In addition to capacity building for officials of the Ministry of Environment of Chile and the Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay, one of the major outcomes of this Bilateral SSC initiative was the launching, in March 2023, of the Methodological Guidelines for Environmental Education for Climate Change: a didactic approach for community participation.
The document is aimed at teachers and technicians who are specialized in environmental issues, and its elaboration was based on a diagnosis that resulted from a general consultation with teachers, technicians and environmental educators. Thus, theoretical and didactic resources related to climate change were generated for the use of participatory methodologies and EE, based on the experience, needs and knowledge installed in the region (Ministry of Education and Culture, MEC by its Spanish acronym, 2023).
According to the document, these guidelines “are not intended to be a recipe with steps to be followed (…) the purpose is to strengthen community resilience through the understanding of Environmental Education as a permanent and critical education process” (AGCID, AUCI and MEC, 2022, p. 7). The document also has a specific chapter on participation, gender and citizenship in which the gender perspective is addressed as a matter of equity, recognizing women as key subjects in the defense of nature and society and, thus, demanding a greater inclusion of their rights and needs in public policies.
Through this project, Chile and Uruguay contributed to the achievement of SDG 4 (Quality education), SDG 5 (Gender equality) and SDG 13 (Climate action).
Source: SEGIB based on AGCID (2020), AGCID, AUCI and MEC (2022), Ministry of Education and Culture of Uruguay (2023), UN (2021) and UNDP in UNFPA (2021).