Interview with Ms. Eva García Balaguer, General Director of Environment, Department of Rural Development, Environment and Local Administration, Government of Navarra. She leads the #ActiveAgainstClimateChange initiative, which seeks to promote actions and policies that boost women’s role in tackling climate change.

At present, women’s work is the best force in the fight against climate changeMs. Eva García Balaguer

Regions4: Last October, Navarra held the workshop “Policy, Women and Climate Change”, which resulted in the  #ActiveAgainstClimateChange Declaration. Could you briefly explain the key points of this declaration and what inspired it?

Eva García: Our starting point was the key role that women – 50% of the world’s population – play in the fight against climate change. Our desire was to give value to it, make it visible and highlight it. Secondly, we wanted to achieve a commitment that would involve policy-makers and social agents, and that could also be subscribed to by all the women of the world.

Navarra’s efforts regarding climate change have a solid line of work reflected in our Roadmap 2017-2050, which contemplates, among other things, the implementation of actions with a gender perspective, but we still felt that we needed to further integrate and foster women’s contributions to the fight against climate change by giving them more visibility. That is why last October, the Department of Rural Development, Environment and Local Administration with the leadership of Minister Isabel Elizalde, organised the meeting “Women and Climate Change, Navarra 2018” in Pamplona/Iruña. The aim was to give visibility to the actions developed by women in regards to climate change from the fields of politics, academia and civil society, inviting them to an active reflection from the public’s point of view. We started with a working session of 40 political women, parliamentarians, ministers, congresswomen, senators and mayors from Navarra and other autonomous communities (Madrid, Basque Country, Extremadura, Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia and Baleares), divided into five working groups that developed the final text of the Declaration #ActiveAgainstClimateChange(#EMAKUMEOKLIMA).

The goal of the Declaration is to give visibility to, recognise and foster actions developed by women in the fight against climate change. Along the text, the declaration includes five thematic chapters and gives a series of recommendations and commitments to further catalyse the planning, management and action in regards to climate change and the role of women. The Declaration begins with a preamble summarising the situation of climate change and the contributions of women, and stresses that “climate change is an opportunity to demonstrate and highlight the strength of women’s contribution to society,” as this will contribute to the necessary “Transition towards a more egalitarian and respectful model with nature and people, especially with women”.

Among the specific aspects highlighted, there are commitments for: the empowerment of women in decision-making and climate change; education based on a new culture of sustainability; research and programs on the impacts of climate change on health, especially on women; social policies adapted to the climatic vulnerability of different groups; and new employment opportunities for women in mitigation and adaptation. 150 women have adhered to the Declaration to date, especially politicians and technicians from different local entities, professional associations, women’s groups and other organisations, as well as civil society. The adhesion to the Declaration can be made via the web here.

The meeting, which was inaugurated by the President of the Government of Navarra Uxue Barkos, also served for speakers and attendees to share their knowledge, concerns and achievements in relation to climate change at its different levels.

Regions4: The Network of Women Active for Climate Change was created as a result of the Declaration, as a tool to strengthen and support cooperation. Could you explain what will be the actions developed by this Network?

EG: That’s correct. In that session, the General Directors of the different departments of the Government of Navarra (Mertxe Leranoz, of the Navarra Institute for Equality, Inés Francés, of the Navarra Agency for Autonomy and Development of People, Gema Mañu, of Inclusion and Social Protection , Mari Jose Pérez Jarauta, of the Institute of Public Health and Labor, Maitena Ezkutari of Tourism, Adela Gonzalez, Deputy Director of Youth, Nekane from Academia) committed ourselves to developing the Network of Women Active for Climate Change. We are currently working on its organisation, and we have proposed ourselves to strengthen and promote its extension, incorporating other European regions into it.

At present, the Network has an assigned a budget to start working, beginning with the dissemination of the Declaration on our website. The objectives of the Network have been defined and are:

  • In addition to giving visibility and dissemination, to promote the exchange of knowledge, experiences and good practices between women’s’ groups and public administrations, as a way to strengthen the actions and achieve an effective commitment from the public administration in the fields of women and climate change
  • Promote knowledge, visibility and responsible action of public administrations and civil society in regards to vulnerability to climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable groups, with special attention to girls and women
  • Collect concerns, contributions and recommendation from women in regards to climate change to establish synergies with other networks and projects to promote women’s action and leadership
  • To invite men to reflect and take responsible action to fight climate change with a gender perspective

Other future activities of the Network have been also defined and include public presentations at congresses, regional parliaments and conferences. Another fundamental line of work is the establishment of partnerships and collaborations with other international networks and, of course, its dissemination and expansion through Regions4.

Regions4: Last year, Navarra approved the Climate Change Road Map HCCN-KLINA. What actions does this roadmap contemplate in regards to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals?

EG: The HCCN-KLINA Climate Change Roadmap includes a series of actions aligned with the Paris Agreement, specifically in two fields: mitigation and adaptation. The first one contemplates mitigation actions in the energy sectors, aligned with the Energy Plan of Navarra 2030. It also includes mitigation actions for primary sectors and waste, aligned with the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 and the Waste Management Plan of Navarra 2017-2027, so it includes the integration of different government plans. On the other hand, for the adaptation field, we have developed the LIFE-IP NADAPTA-CC 2017-2025 project, which aims to transform Navarra into a resilient territory. That is to adapt natural, social, and economic systems, as far as possible, so that our ecosystems become resilient to climate change. It contemplates actions of monitoring, sustainable water management, forests, agriculture, health, infrastructure and territorial planning.

Evidently, these actions are aligned with SDG 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) and SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), although they have a transversal relation to other SDGs. As the implementation of the SDGs by the Government of Navarra has been developed in parallel with the Roadmap, the coordination between the two has been simple.

Regions4: Has there been a coordination process to integrate and link both agendas?

EG: One of the advantages of being a small region is that coordination with different actors is easier. Thanks to the coordination and collective work between the different departments of the Government through the interdepartmental work committees, which has made things easier. In addition, and as it was mentioned before, the two processes have been developed in parallel, so synergies have been developed naturally.

Regions4: In May 2019, the Government of Navarra is planning to launch a compilation of indicators for the SDGs. Could you briefly explain what the process has been to develop this compilation?

EG: The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Navarra has been done through the following steps: In the first place, the Parliament of Navarra, through a resolution in November 2016, urged the Government of Navarra to face the challenges of the Agenda. This resulted in the creation of an Interdepartmental Commission led by our Department of Rural Development, Environment and Local Administration and Social Rights with the involvement of all other departments.

This commission has assessed to what extent the different SDGs affect their actions and plans. From there, a map of interrelations between the SDGs and the Government’s policies have been drawn up, as well as a table of indicators of the state of our community in relation to all the goals and their targets. These indicators have been adapted to Navarra’s current situation, following the guidelines of the European Statistics Agency (EUSTAT), comparing our situation to the Governments of Spain and Europe. These indicators have been transformed graphically into maps that represent the distribution of the corresponding indicator at a municipal level, showing its geographical distribution through Navarra’s territory. With all this information, a VISOR has been developed to show the results to the general public and a plan has been established so that the Statistical Institute of Navarra can update the data on a regular basis. This will allow the assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its compliance with total transparency. This VISOR will be presented to the public in the near future.