The Ministry of International Cooperation and UNDP Egypt co-organized a two-day workshop on Empowering Women in Green Sectors

June 18, 2023


The Ministry of International Cooperation and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Lab in Egypt jointly organized a two-day workshop titled "Reimagining the Future of Egyptian Women in Green Sectors." The workshop showcased the findings of the lab's foresight activities, conducted in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Center and the social initiative "Refuturism." The objective was to identify transformative solutions that would prepare women in energy and agriculture for any future uncertainties. The workshop also explored the opportunities and challenges related to Agritourism and climate-smart crops for small female farmers and showcased the lab’s big data analytics activities that aimed at exploring the microfinance challenges faced by small farmers, especially women, and their need for having innovative financial solutions. These areas are seen as potential drivers of climate change impacts, and the workshop endeavored to identify the necessary transformative solutions to ensure successful intervention within the system.

The workshops also featured the educational experiments conducted by the lab, utilizing foresight-driven approaches. One such initiative was the "Future Fit Accelerator," a collaborative effort between the lab, the European start-up "Future of Work Lab," and the British University in Egypt. The primary objective of this program was to equip female undergraduate students with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the emerging green sectors. Additionally, the workshop showcased the "N Imaginers" education experiment, developed in conjunction with "Refuturism," aimed at fostering environmentally conscious behavior among female teenagers in schools. The lack of skills among women to engage in green sectors, coupled with cultural barriers, has hindered their participation and adoption of green practices. Hence, there is a pressing need for innovative educational solutions at both university and school levels to address these challenges.

During the two day workshops, governmental panel discussions included Advisor to the Minister of International Cooperation on Innovation, Digitalization and Entrepreneurship, Mr. Tamer Taha,  Ms. Sherihan Bekhiet, Assistant to the Minister for Cooperation with the Americas and Europe, Dr. Sherine Kamal Assem, Deputy at the Agricultural Research Centre for Research Affairs from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ms. Angy El Yamany, Director of the Financial and Digital Inclusion Program at the National Council for Women, Dr. Gihan Kamal, Assistant to the Minister of Education for Educational Research Affairs, Dr. Nashwa Talaat, Assistant to the Minister of Tourism on Sustainable Tourism, Ms. Samah Salah, Gender Focal Point at the Ministry of Environment, and moderated by Ms. Engy Abdelwahab, Head of Exploration, UNDP Egypt Acclab, with the objective of exploring the Government Vision towards Future of Women in Green Sectors, as well as Future of Women in Agriculture.

Given the government's focus on the concept of "building forward better" and global climate change mitigation efforts, greening the economy has emerged as a key priority. However, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in most green sectors, particularly the agricultural sector where they face the greatest disparities. The risks associated with climate change further exacerbate the existing inequalities faced by women.

“En route to a sustainable and inclusive future, the Government of Egypt places a high priority on the transition towards a green economy as a crucial aspect of our commitment to mitigate global climate change. Within this endeavor, lies an opportunity to promote the participation and readiness of the women in green sectors. Identifying four areas of focus for transformative solutions: collaboration, access to finance, connectivity, and technical support, the “Reimagine the Future of Egyptian Women in Green Sectors” workshop co-hosted by the Ministry of International Cooperation and UNDP tackles exactly that, with a focus on designing transformative projects to visualize and unlock new opportunities that support the role of women in green sectors. Among many promising ideas on smart crops and agri-tourism, one specific example that stands out is NEAT, a new Nexus for Environment, Agriculture and Tourism, that is inspired by Egypt’s NWFE Program,” said Minister of International Cooperation H.E. Dr. Rania A. Al-Mashat.

UNDP Egypt Resident Representative Mr. Alessandro Fracassetti said, “We must come together with a plan that leaves no one behind. It is time to reimagine new possibilities and who gets to participate and benefit from our climate action. Despite Egypt's minimal contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions, women and vulnerable communities face its biggest impacts. In agriculture, women tend to work in smallholder farms, micro-businesses, and the informal sector, often at the lowest end of the value chain. Climate change poses pressing challenges to crop quality, yield, and the livelihoods of small farmers, including women. However, we can find solutions through climate smart crops and agri-tourism, driving social, economic, and cultural change. We must seize this opportunity to build a better and more inclusive future, ensuring women play a vital role in Egypt's green transformations."

From her side, “There is no better time than this to take advantage of the full participation of women in the sectors of green development, green economy, and scientific research, not as a secondary player, but rather as a primary representative and a real actor as a proactive step to confront the negative impacts of climate change. Because of the weakness and vulnerability that woman face, it was necessary to confront and reform them soon to ensure, not only her willingness for facing future challenges, but also the efficiency of its role in development and confronting the challenges of climate change, which will help the Egyptian society to encounter effectively and successfully. In respect of women flexibility in changing, accepting and learning many skills, that can help creating Innovative solutions such as the use of smart crops, and new jobs from the green economy and agritourism sectors, which are effective and positive transformations towards a more stable future in confronting the challenges of climate change and unstable economic conditions and crises.”, reaffirmed Dr. Rania El-Sawy from the Agricultural Research Center

The workshops concluded by identifying key pillars for designing a project that implements transformative solutions to empower women in green sectors and equip them to face future uncertainties with innovation and resilience. These pillars include, promoting access to finance for women in green sectors, with a specific focus on tailored financial solutions for women in agriculture, promoting education and awareness to foster energy and green behavior among women, supporting women-led tech businesses in the energy sector, creating a new Nexus on Environment, Agriculture, and Tourism (NEAT) that promotes agritourism and climate smart crops, empowering women across the agricultural value chain and providing technical support specifically tailored for women in agriculture.

Participants including representatives from the United Nations Development Programme, the Ministry of International Cooperation, and the Agriculture Research Center, acknowledged the significance of implementing transformative solutions that empower women in green sectors and enhance resilience and adaptive capacities.