Highlights from case studies in Bolivia and Kyrgyzstan

Between 2019 and 2021, Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) and its partners in Kyrgyzstan (BIOM, EKOIS) and Bolivia (Reaccion Climatica) studied the situation of hazardous chemicals and waste and gender impacts, on request of the Secretariat of Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

Case studies were carried out in 2019 to document gender dimensions of chemicals and waste issues with a focus on the implementation of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions. Multistakeholder dialogue sessions with civil society, governments and the private sector were organised in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and La Paz (Bolivia).

The project partners visited numerous hotspots of chemical pollution. In Kyrgyzstan, a visit was carried out to a large hazardous waste site near the capital city as well as the asbestos-cement factory in Kant. Meetings were also organised with retailers of pesticides, those selling banned products, as well as environmental protection groups, women’s organisations and other concerned stakeholders. In Bolivia, the partners visited illegal waste dumpsites near the capital city as well as a natural park where small-scale gold mining exploration is taking place with the use of toxic mercury. The results of the scoping studies were discussed with different authorities and stakeholders, and recommendations for gender-responsive measures to reduce chemical pollution were formulated and introduced.

The partners also documented gender dimensions of the case studies on film and proposed gender measures for national governments to integrate into policymaking and institutions. They worked with networks of civil society partners on joint policy recommendations and advocacy during the Conferences of the Parties to the BRS Conventions. The partners also organised dialogue meetings with decisionmakers on reducing pollution from chemicals and wastes as well as disseminating information for stronger policies through TV and social media. They also worked on promotion of safe alternatives to reduce waste and exposure to harmful chemicals, such as reusable feminine hygiene products.