Women warming up! Building resilient, grassroots feminist movements for climate justice in Asia-Pacific

Tanya Lutvey et. al. (eds)


Climate change disproportionately affects the Global South and women. The Asia-Pacific region is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, while a combination of patriarchal practices and global injustices mean women are at greater risk during a natural disaster and are more likely to experience the effects of natural resource degradation. This paper reports on the stories and findings from the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development’s Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) project. It argues that climate justice requires the participation of those most affected by climate change, women from the Global South, in local social movements and highlights the ways it has supported feminist, community-led initiatives in contributing to national and international policy discussions. It suggests a number of people-centered, rights-based participatory recommendations to achieve climate justice.

The FPAR project aimed to facilitate a democratic learning space as part of a larger aim for social transformation. It supported the work of grassroots women from across the region to document experiences, responses and needs. Research design was developed in consultation with all stakeholders and included women-only spaces to facilitate free discussions.  A range of participatory methods were used: focus group discussions, narration of personal histories and the use of diaries, and a range of mapping tools (participatory problem structuring, power mapping and community mapping).

FPAR strengthened women’s collective action across the region in three main ways:

  • Amplifying women’s voices through attending conferences, meetings and events usually attended by men and participating in existing groups, structures and decision-making bodies. For example, Village Rapid Response in Vietnam.
  • Fostering women’s movements. For example, women’s movement documenting REDD+ struggles in the Kalimantan region of Indonesia.
  • Facilitating local individuals involvement in international-level For example, Agnes Kinaka of the Carteret Islands’ attendance at the People’s General Assembly in New York in 2014.

The paper recommends a number of actions to build resilience and drive system change for an equitable and sustainable future. These include: gender-responsive adaptation; recognising the link between the level of adaptation required and mitigation efforts; understanding loss and damage as distinct from adaptation in international policy events such as COP21; a long-term objective to reduce the ecological footprint of everyone everywhere to within the per capita bio-capacity of the planet; a clear road map on developed countries’ commitments; review and compliance mechanisms to check progress on these commitments.

All these actions require (i) commitment to people-centred economic models and policies, (ii) respect for the rights of all, including indigenous peoples, to gender equality, access to energy, and food security, (iii) the active participation of those most-affected, (iv) and a binding private sector regulatory framework.


Lutvey, T., Lappin, K., Risler, C. & Familiara, A. (eds). (2015). Women warming up! Building resilient, grassroots feminist movements for climate justice in Asia-Pacific. Chiang Mai, Thailand: Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development.