GS18 (2020) Africa

Gender Summit 18 – Africa
Agriculture through the Gender Lens: from Surviving to Thriving in a Climate Changing World

GS18 Mission

The Gender Summit 18 – Africa will pick up and build upon the evidence discussed at the previous Gender Summit-Africa, in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2018, whose theme was: Climate Change through the Gender Lens. The aim in Nairobi is to shift the discussion to focus on agriculture, as a sector of immense importance in Africa and hugely relevant to Climate Change and gender issues. The purpose of GS18 is to apply a scientific perspective on the interactions between agriculture, climate change and gender issues, and also to identify cases of best practice in innovation, development interventions, education, entrepreneurship, and policy measures relevant for Africa.

While Africa contributes less than four per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, it remains one of the most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change. Rising temperatures, severe drought, and flooding have increased the risk of famine, diseases, and increased poverty, threatening the livelihoods of millions of people dependent on agriculture for survival, and women in particular.

The vast majority of African women depend on subsistence farming for their survival and to supplement their livelihoods. The impacts of climate change, including mass crop failure due to water shortages, pests and changes in soil quality, will not only increase food insecurity and water scarcity, but also intensify social problems that put more women and girls at risk for early marriage, gender-based violence, and other forms of exploitation. Although progress has been made in integrating considerations of gender into agriculture research and practice, most of this has been downstream in the knowledge delivery. Women continue to be underrepresented in the science knowledge production and applications space. This directly feeds into amplifying the negative impact of climate change on women in the agriculture sector. Further, at the entrepreneurial level, women continue to be confined to the micro-level and perpetuating a cycle of survival tactics.

The GS18 will strive to answer: in a time of climate change, how do we shift the paradigm in agriculture from one where women and marginalized groups strive to survive to a sector where they have the skills, space, and opportunity to harness knowledge and technology to fuel their empowerment? The GS18 will address these gaps by focusing on how scientific understanding of biological and ecological factors, together with knowledge of socio-cultural conditions, can be effectively deployed to transform farming practices and the lives of women into sustainable endeavours conceptualized as strategies that go beyond ‘survival’ issues to interventions create opportunities for women farmers to prosper in the new and changing world of agriculture.

GS18 Key Themes

1 – Applications of research can draw on interconnected disciplinary perspectives (e.g. for resilient seed production: genomics, nutrition, breeding, behavior, and climate science considerations)
2 - Technology development takes into account understanding of when, why and how biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) factors can differentiate outcomes (e.g. connecting emergence of zoonotic diseases, vaccination strategies for farmed animals, climate change, and food security)
3 – Enterprise/scale-up opportunities of evidence based practices (e.g. sustainable seed production, production of climate-smart agriculture such as solar-powered cold storage units to reduce post-harvest losses)
4 – Policy decision to secure advancement and sustainability of evidence based practices (e.g. to achieve the socio-economic development envisaged by the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030)

GS18 Expected Outcomes

The concrete outcome from GS18 will be a Call to Action formulated as a strategy for change with achievable near- and longer-term objectives. The Call objectives will be based on scientific evidence, available scholarship, and tested best practice, examined and agreed to jointly by the experts and practitioners attending GS18.

GS18 Aims

1 – Bring together scientists, gender scholars, policy makers, educationalists, and stakeholders from across Africa and beyond to examine available evidence, identify where improvements are needed in research and in practices, and to establish consensus on what actions should be taken, and by whom. This will include showcasing women and gendered research that demonstrates best practices and potential ways forward to secure a more gender equal future in response to climate change.
2 – Introduce new perspectives into the discussions of the issues of power relationships in agriculture in Africa, whose knowledge is considered valid (especially regarding women- and indigenous-generated knowledge), and how to move forward in creating more inclusive, equitable, and Africa-focused knowledge systems.
3 – Use evidence and multi-stakeholder consensus to challenge deeply entrenched socio-cultural attitudes and assumptions that act as barriers to societal learning and to Africa fully benefiting from research knowledge and innovation potential.

GS18 Format

The two-day, 18th Gender Summit programme will be a combination of keynotes, eight plenary and six parallel sessions, with 20 poster presentations, an exhibition, and many opportunities for participants to network, share knowledge and experience, and explore opportunities for collaboration in research, innovation and development.

PLEASE NOTE: Registration for GS18 Africa is not yet open.  Please continue to monitor this website for updates.