Arunachal women team projects anti-dam spree in AWRC-2024

ITANAGAR, Jun 9: Around 120 women leaders attended the three-day Asia Women and Rivers Congress-2024 (AWRC) at Thailand’s Chiang Rai, which concluded on June 6 last.

The Congress was attended by Arunachal Pradesh team included Bhanu Tatak of Siang Indigenous Farmer’s Forum (SIFF), an anti-dam forum in Siang and steering committee member of Asia Indigenous People’s Network on Extractive Energy (AIPNEE), who was awarded Bhagirath Prayas Samman-2023, an annual award of India Rivers Forum for exception works in river conservation.

Bhanu was accompanied by Karry Padu, an independent filmmaker known for films I am Property (2020), The Vivid Project (2018) and Canada Di Flight (2016)m besides Ajoh Mihu, an independent researcher-cum- Dibang Resistance member.

Bhanu raised concern by highlighting activities of anti- dam movement spanning over 15 years in Siang and Dibang districts.

After the participants shared their experiences and knowledge, now plan collaborative strategies for women-led river protection campaigns and responses to the challenges confronting the people.

The AWRC is a forum to bring together women leaders from riverine and indigenous communities, civil society, academia and policymakers to discuss water, energy and climate change challenges that are faced in trans-boundary river basins that flow across South and Southeast Asia.

Water conflict in Asia has largely been between river developers and local communities, who are adversely impacted by development projects, which has been aggravating due to climate change impacts. In spite of clear linkages between gender, water, energy and climate change, women’s roles and leadership have not been a significant part of the discourse in trans-boundary water management.

Asian women manage and disproportionately bear the negative impacts of water and energy provisioning fundamental to household and community sustenance needs. Although women have experience, ideas and knowledge of how to manage these resources, their views are rarely sought by the decision makers.

Understanding the ways in which gender shapes policy over sustainable management of natural resources when faced with climate change, differing needs and positions of women and men, is crucial to addressing poverty and ensuring sustainability.

The AWRC aims to facilitate trans-boundary cooperation across Asia for women leaders in riverine communities, co-creating a vision for the future by creating a network. Thus, it celebrated World Environment Day with great zeal to reflect its commitment to the cause.

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