Providing Refuge for Climate Refugees in International Law
August 10, 2023 | 2 PM EDT
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Shahin Ashraf, Head of Advocacy, Islamic Relief Worldwide

Shahin Ashraf MBE is an exceptional and accomplished civil society leader with over 25 years of experience in humanitarianism, development, and civil society. Her exceptional expertise in topics such as gender, faith, and climate make her a strategic communicator. She currently holds the prestigious position of Head of Global Advocacy at Islamic Relief Worldwide, where she drives the organization’s key advocacy strategies for gender, refugees, and climate change. Shahin has also co-founded and led faith-based organizations, focusing on women, refugees, and disability rights, with an emphasis on minority communities in the UK and the US. Her efforts are focused on raising awareness, influencing policy, and mobilizing action through lobbying, campaigns, media engagement, and partnerships with stakeholders.

Shahin is also actively involved in promoting effective collaboration between actors in the Global South and Global North through her roles as Chair of ICVA and Board Member and sits on the IASC Principles and Deputies in Geneva. Her remarkable contribution to society was acknowledged by the Queen, who
awarded her an MBE for her services to Interfaith and Community Cohesion. As an elected councilwoman, Shahin serves as Deputy Leader for Solihull Green Party on policy and strategy and is the opposition spokeswoman on health.

Cynthia Juárez Lange

Cynthia Juárez Lange is a daughter of immigrants who is passionate about our future. Cynthia
has over 30 years of experience in leadership, strategic growth and advising international
organizations on global mobility programs. She began her career at the U.S. Department of
Justice as an INS trial attorney in the Attorney General Honors Program. Cynthia was also a
longtime Adjunct Professor at Southwestern University School of Law, where she taught for 18
years. She is a thought leader in the industry and dedicates much of her time to pro bono work
and is a long-time board member of non-profit organizations dedicated to help the lives low-
income immigrants and others in need.

Itza Castañeda, Equity Director for the World Resources Institute (WRI- México)

Itzá Castañeda is the Equity Director for World Resources Institute Mexico. She is a biologist and studied a master’s degree on Environment and Integrated Development. Has a certificate on Environmental Problems from a Gender Perspective and a Diploma on Social Impact and Prior Consultation. Between 1997 and 2000, she received a leadership scholarship from the MacArthur Foundation to work on “Strategies for Mainstreaming Gender in Environmental Policy in Mexico. Since September 2019 is member of the Gender Task Force of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and since 1995 is member of the Gender and Environment Network of México.

From 2001 to 2003 she worked as Director of Gender Equality and Environment in Mexico’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). She developed the Gender Equity, Environment and Sustainability Program 2002-2006 and oversaw its implementation at the national level. 

From 2004-2011 she served as Senior Gender Advisor for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Mexico. From 2011 to 2021 she worked as independent consultant on gender and sustainable development for diverse development agencies, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) UN-Women, the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), Eurosocial+ and GIZ. She is co-author of more than 25 publications and has coordinated several publications on gender, natural protected areas, climate change, disaster risk reduction, water, gender-based violence and human development.

Frances Namoumou

Ms Frances Namoumou is from the province of Nadroga Navosa in Fiji. She currently works at the Pacific Conference of Churches as Programmes Manager for the Ecological Stewardship and Climate Justice Programmes. She is passionate in her work to address climate change issues, especially the relocation of communities due to climate change impacts, and advocacy at the local, regional and global level for urgent climate change action by governments.

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