Arunachali delegates attend Asia Women and Rivers Congress

ITANAGAR, 9 Jun: Over 120 women leaders attended the Asia Women and Rivers Congress, 2024 in Chiang Rai, Thailand, from 4-6 June.

The congress aimed to facilitate transboundary cooperation across Asia for the women leaders in riverine communities, co-creating a vision for the future and building a network.

The Congress was attended by an Arunachal Pradesh team comprising Bhanu Tatak of the Siang Indigenous Farmer’s Forum (SIFF), the anti-dam forum in Siang, and a steering committee member of the Asia Indigenous People’s Network on Extractive Energy (AIPNEE). She was awarded the annual Bhagirath Prayas Samman by the India Rivers Forum for her “exceptional work in river conservation,” last year.

Tatak was accompanied by Karry Padu, an independent filmmaker known for the films I am Property (2020), The Vivid Project (2018) and Canada Di Flight (2016).

Ajoh Mihu, an independent researcher and member of the Dibang Resistance also attended the congress.

Tatak raised concern and stories of the anti-dam movement spanning over 15 years in Siang and Dibang districts.

The Asia Women and Rivers Congress brought together women leaders from riverine and indigenous communities, civil society, academia, and policymakers to discuss water, energy, and climate change challenges that are faced in transboundary river basins that flow across South and Southeast Asia.

The participants shared their experiences and knowledge, and planned collaborative strategies for women-led river protection campaigns and responses to the challenges they face.

A press release stated that “water conflict in Asia has largely been between river developers and local communities adversely impacted by development projects. This is increased by the challenges of climate change.

“In spite of clear linkages between gender, water, energy, and climate change, women’s roles and leadership have not been a significant part of the discourse in transboundary water management,” it added.