UNFCCC’s Process Towards Gender Inclusivity

6th of May 2018 by Tove Lexén

While the pace towards gender inclusivity is too slow, we’re happy that UNFCCC finally seems to take this aspect seriously. Last COP-meeting in Bonn 2017, UNFCCC adopted a Gender Action Plan. At this spring’s intersessional meeting focus is on priority area E which focuses on monitoring and reporting, with an emphasis on sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis. We are looking forward to follow and contribute to the advancement of this during our presence at the conference.

The Rio Earth Summit in 1992 from which the UNFCCC emanated, was also the beginning of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). While the founding documents of these two conventions already confirmed the vitality women and inclusivity, the UNFCCC did not. The UNFCCC was silent on gender and so, the subsequent Conference of the Parties (COP) have been including that later on. In this regard there are a few COP decisions that have been more important for advancing gender inclusivity. It should also be said that the decisions made in the UNFCCC proceedings are nor isolated from other UN processes, such as the Beijing Platform for Action, the UNCCD or the CBD, but is very interlinked with the advancement of gender issues that have been done there. However, this blog post will focus on the decisions made under the UNFCCC and where we are now in the spring of 2018.

The first important decision to mention here is decision 36 from COP 7 in Marrakech 2001. In this decision the parties were officially urged to take on a multi-level approach for women’s full participation in decision-making.

The second important decision (decision 1) came 9 years later, in 2010 on COP 16 in Cancún. By this decision the parties advanced from solely talking about women participation to also recognise that climate change impacts strike differently depending on sex and age. Followingly, it said there was a: “need for gender-sensitive and participatory approaches to adaptation and mitigation policy and action, stating that climate change adaptation should follow a country-driven, gender-sensitive, participatory and fully transparent approach and that mitigation responses to climate change should take fully into account the consequences for vulnerable groups, in particular women and children

The third important decision is the 23rd from COP 18 in Durban in 2011. By this, the convention decided on a goal of gender balance in the parties’ delegations and in constituted bodies to improve gender-responsive climate policy etc. In the years after this decision, the secretariat was also requested to bring in data on the gender composition of the UNFCCC proceedings and also spread information about it.

At COP 20 in 2014, the Lima work programme on gender was adopted. It invited the different relevant stakeholders to support training and awareness-raising of delegates. There was also a specific focus on building capacities and strengthening skills of female delegates.

At COP 21 in Paris 2015 the parties recognised, among other things, that they should always respect, promote and consider gender equality and women empowerment when addressing climate change.

These presented decisions have lead up to the following two other decisions guiding this year’s intersessional conference in Bonn:

Decision 21/CP.22 from COP 22 in Marrakech on gender and climate change, is part of its decision to continue and enhance the Lima work programme on gender. It has been decided to hold annual in-session workshops in conjunction with the first sessional periods of the subsidiary bodies in 2018 and 2019.

At COP 23 in Bonn last year a Gender Action Plan (GAP) was adopted to advance gender mainstreaming into all elements of climate action and to support the implementation of gender-related decisions and mandates in the UNFCCC processes. The GAP contains five priority areas, with activities that will drive the achievement of its objectives, and timelines for implementation between 2018 and 2019. In Bonn last year it was decided (decision 3/CP.23) that this year intersessional meeting should hold a workshop concerning priority area E.1 of the GAP. Priority area E focuses on monitoring and reporting, with an emphasis on sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis.

Last Wednesday the first part of this Gender and Climate workshop took place. Presentations were held by representatives from UN bodies, countries and organisation. The speakers and the participants shared knowledge and lessons learnt about how to inform on gender-responsive climate policy and action, how to take in gender when budgeting for climate policy, how the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) could be gender responsive, etc. The presentations and the outcomes can be found here.

During this year’s intersessional meeting there are two more events focusing on gender. The first is held Saturday the 5th. It is a Gender Dialogue with the topic: Constituted bodies and the integration of gender considerations. The coming Wednesday, the 9th the subsequent in-session workshop on Gender and Climate will take place. This time polices, plans and progress in enhancing gender balance in national delegations will be in focus. The outcomes of those meetings will be posted on this blog, so stay tuned 😊

And lastly, for the really interested reader, the full GAP is listed below. The five priority areas are indicated by character A-E.

Priority area A: Capacity-building, knowledge sharing, and communication, with two activities:

A.1 Workshops and technical assistance to enhance the capacity of Parties and stakeholders to develop gender-responsive climate policies, plans, and programmes

A.2 Submission and dialogue on the systemic integration of gender-sensitive and participatory education, training, public awareness, public participation and public access to information into all mitigation and adaptation activities implemented under the Convention and the Paris Agreement

Priority area B: Gender balance, participation and women’s leadership, with four activities:

B.1 Promotion of travel funds to support the participation of women in national delegations at UNFCCC sessions, including from grass-roots, local and indigenous peoples, developing countries, and SIDS

B.2 Include in regular notifications to Parties at the time of nominations to UNFCCC bodies the latest report on the gender balance

B.3 Organize and conduct capacity-building training on leadership, negotiation, facilitation and chairing in the context of UNFCCC process for women

B.4 Cooperate in, promote, facilitate, develop and implement education and training programmes focused on climate change, targeting women

Priority area C: Coherence, with three activities on consistent implementation:

C.1 Dialogue for Parties and observers, with the chairs of UNFCCC bodies to discuss outcomes of the technical paper and

C.2 Provide capacity-building to chairs and members of UNFCCC bodies and technical teams of the secretariat, supporting the integration of gender into their work

C.3 Promote e􀁷orts and share information to support synergies with other processes, especially 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Priority area D: Gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation, with three activities:

D.1 Invite the Standing Committee on Finance to host a dialogue on the implementation of its commitment to integrating gender considerations into its work

D.2 In cooperation with UNEP DTU Partnership and the Climate Technology Centre and Network, invite interested stakeholders to share information on the incorporation of gender into technology needs assessments

D.3 Strengthen the capacity of gender mechanisms, including for parliamentarians, the IPU, commissions, funding ministries, NGOs, and CSOs, for the integration of gender-responsive budgeting into climate finance

Priority area E: Monitoring and reporting, with four activities:

E.1 Make a submission, including sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis:

(a) Information on the di􀁷erentiated impacts of climate change on women and men

(b) Integration of gender considerations into adaptation, mitigation, capacity-building, Action for Climate Empowerment, technology and finance policies, plans and actions

(c) Policies and plans for and progress made in enhancing gender balance in national climate delegations

E.2 Prepare a synthesis report on the submissions under activity E1

E.3 Update report on how the Climate Technology Centre and Network, working with the Technology Executive Committee, contributed to accelerating the development and transfer of technology with gender considerations

E.4 Encourage knowledge exchange activities among the secretariat sta􀁷 across all thematic areas to update on gender work

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