On 14 September 2023, Special Representative of UN Secretary General for Central Asia Kaha Imnadze took part in a landmark Forum of the Women Leaders’ Caucus (WLC) convened in parallel with the 5th Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
The Women Leaders’ Caucus was launched in late 2020 with the support of UNRCCA and UNDP as a platform committed to boosting political, economic and social participation of women in Central Asia.
With its focus on women’s role in countering adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation, the Forum provided the WLC members with an ample opportunity to discuss gaps in implementation of the WPS agenda in the region, exchange experiences of including gender perspective into climate change adaptation policies and explore avenues for strengthening regional co-operation in this field.
In his address, SRSG Imnadze stressed the significance of the meeting as a milestone achievement testifying to increasing promotion of gender equality and growing importance of women’s role in enhancing cooperation and connectivity in Central Asia. He underscored importance of continuous analysis of the linkages between climate change and conflict prevention from a gender perspective, and uncovering new entry points for advancing gender equality, improving climate resilience and sustaining peace.
Highlighting the role of women in peacebuilding and conflict prevention in the region, he averred that: “…the WLC has influence and expertise to significantly contribute to the discussion and resolution of a broad spectrum of complex issues concerning the impact of climate change on regional security.”
In the same vein, the Deputy Chairperson of the Majilis of Kazakhstan and Chairperson of the Women Leaders’ Caucus in 2023, Dania Espaeva highlighted importance of solidarity and cooperation between women of Central Asia at all levels in the face of the multitude of global risks, challenges and threats.
The Forum featured a video message by the Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) and former SRSG for Central Asia, Ms. Natalia Gherman who paid particular attention to the plight of women in Afghanistan and called on the Caucus to fully use its leverage to address the situation of women and girls in the country.
The moderator of the Forum, a representative of Tajikistan in the WLC, the Chairperson of the State Committee for Women and Family Affairs of Tajikistan, Ms. Hilolbi Qurbonzoda, also stressed the Caucus’s potential to engage on the issues related to the situation and express solidarity with women and girls of Afghanistan.
The meeting ended with adopting the WLC address to the Heads of State of Central Asia, appreciating their commitment to regional cooperation in implementation of the women , peace and security agenda and the SDGs in general, and support to the Central Asian Women Leaders’ Caucus in particular. ///UNRCCA, 14 September 2023