Gender and the Green Climate Fund

Transitional Committee

At COP 16 in Cancun in December 2010, the COP decided to establish a Green Climate Fund. The Fund is intended to support projects, policies and other activities in developing country parties using thematic funding windows. The Fund will be an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC, and its establishment will have significant bearing on the future direction of climate financing.


In accordance with the terms of reference set out in the Cancun Agreements, a Transitional Committee - comprised of 25 members from developing country parties and 15 members from developed country parties - was set up to develop the design of the Fund. The Transitional Committee met four times throughout 2011 in order to develop documents to present to COP 17 in Durban in November. The Heinrich Boell Stiftung has drafted comprehensive summaries of each meeting.


  • Meeting 1: Mexico City, April 2011 (Summary)
  • Meeting 2: Tokyo, July 2011 (Summary)
  • Meeting 3: Geneva, September 2011 (Summary)
  • Meeting 4: Cape Town, October 2011 (Summary)


At its fourth meeting, the Transitional Committee was unable to reach consensus on the design of the Green Climate Fund, and its report will be presented to COP 17 merely for consideration, rather than adoption.

Striving to Finance Climate Solutions

By Gotelind Alber

While the climate negotiations for future commitments to succeed the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period are advancing alarmingly slowly, and the question is open as to if and when they will come to a satisfactory conclusion, the process to design the Green Climate Fund is underway. A “Transitional Committee” (TC) has been created to design the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This Fund will be designated as the operating entity of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC and will presumably have to govern large amounts of funding coming from developed countries to support adaptation and mitigation actions in developing countries. Over the course of a number of meetings in 2011, the Transitional Committee, guided by terms of reference adopted at the last COP in Cancun, is to develop a structure for the GCF, to be presented to COP17 in December in Durban, South Africa, for approval.

Observer organisations to the UNFCCC are allowed to attend the TC meetings and submit their ideas and proposals to the TC. Women and Gender observer NGOs, thanks to the status recently granted them as observer constituencies (groupings of observers with certain privileges to allow for better access and interaction with negotiators), have attended the two meetings held so far and prepared submissions and statements, calling for a gender responsive approach to climate finance. Several governments and development NGOs are supporting these demands, including Iceland and Malawi. This is a crucial moment of opportunity in the history of climate policy to overcome the gender blindness of existing climate funds and financing instruments by integrating gender equality and gender justice as overarching principles in the GCF. This must go beyond gender parity in the bodies governing the fund, and include compliance with a Human Rights Framework and the mainstreaming of a gender perspective across all funding windows and instruments. Furthermore, direct access to the Fund should be possible, including for sub-national actors, for instance local governments and community groups, guided by gender-equity considerations and involving women and women’s and gender groups as important stakeholders. Gender justice should also play a role in defining the funding windows, priorities and programmes. From our perspective, taking women’s preferences into account means that, for instance, risky technologies must be excluded from funding, and also processes that might harm low-carbon, climate-resilient and gender-equitable development objectives, reinforce stereotypical gender roles, add an extra burden on women, or violate human rights, including women’s human rights, in the recipient countries.


Solutions needed to be financed
Adaptation funding must take into account the needs and requests of vulnerable groups, local communities and ecosystems, as well as the contributions of holders of traditional and indigenous knowledge. It must be gender responsive, in terms of objectives, approaches, processes and actions; start at household and community levels and involve smallscale solutions. However, community-based adaptation alone cannot ensure lasting resilience- building efforts without appropriate institutional facilitation, and large-scale adaptation efforts are often beyond the capacity of local communities. Therefore, increasing efforts for institutional adaptation must be combined with community-based adaptation in order to achieve greater resilience. Infrastructure and services which benefit women should be prioritised, including improvements in shelters, water supply and sanitation in disaster prone areas, as well as gender sensitive early warning systems. Moreover, adaptation strategies that really build community resilience must address the underlying causes of vulnerability, such as poverty, discrimination, and exclusion. Existing tools, such as gender indicators, social and gender analysis, gender-differentiated data sets, gender-responsive project financing, as well as gender monitoring, auditing and budgeting, must be applied. Mitigation funding needs to include projects and programmes that support women’s access to energy and transport services. For instance, urban planning and design, efficient ways of heating and cooling buildings, investing in, and maintaining infrastructure and services for local public transport systems are all crucial areas for working towards energy efficient buildings and living environments, minimising the demand for transport and offering options for low-carbon mobility. These solutions, prioritising demand- side approaches, will benefit women more than large-scale supply-side investments. Policies at the national level are not sufficient to achieve deep cuts of greenhouse gas emissions. Local and regional authorities, as well as private entities and consumers also have to play significant roles. Multi-level approaches and arrangements, providing guidance and incentives to local and regional actors and enabling them to contribute to mitigation in a measurable, reportable and verifiable way are an essential element of effective climate policy. Such approaches will, in addition, open up opportunities to improve the involvement of women in climate policy-making, as women’s access to participatory processes and decision-making positions tends to be better at the local level, though it should not be limited to this.

Funding should include capacity-building, focusing on appropriate technologies for mitigation and adaptation, and on skills for programme development, implementation and evaluation under the GCF. Finally, special funding streams should ensure that women’s priorities are sufficiently resourced.


The Article has originally been published in NIKK Magazin 2.2011: Gender and climate change: Solutions.

Oxfam Gender and Green Climate Fund

Women are on the front line of coping with and adapting to the effects of climate change. Both climate change impacts and mitigation and adaptation responses affect women and men differently. Yet current climate finance institutions almost entirely ignore gender issues. The Green Climate Fund cannot afford to make the same mistake. Many agree the new fund must be innovative, building on the lessons of climate finance and of other funds to date. To be an effective and legitimate tool in the fight against climate change, the Green Climate Fund must have the concerns of women at its heart.
Key recommendations from the report:

  • Put gender balance at the heart of the governance structures of the fund
  • Specify gender equality as a guiding principle of the fund’s work
  • Ensure gender equality and women’s leadership are central to the development and implementation of national strategies

For further information click here.

Cross Constituency Submission to the Transitional Committee

Men and women, largely due to their gender roles and respective rights (or lack thereof) have differing vulnerabilities to climate change and contribute differently to harmful global GHG emissions. They have differentiated capabilities to mitigate emissions and have different perceptions and preferences regarding policies and measures to reduce emissions as well as differing coping and adaptation strategies. These gender differences in mitigation and adaptation need to be taken into account in climate financing instruments. However, existing climate funds and financing instruments have been largely gender-blind. Gender equality has not been considered as an important contributing factor to ensure low-carbon, climate-resilient development in countries receiving climate funds, thus undermining the effectiveness and efficiency of existing climate funding. The Green Climate Fund needs to be innovative and overcome this short-coming by integrating gender-equality and gender justice as overarching principles for its governance and operations in accordance with existing conventions on human rights, including women’s rights.

This is a first introductory joint submission of several civil society from the environment (ENGO) and women and gender constituencies concerned with ensuring that gender considerations are adequately considered and mainstreamed in the work of the Transitional Committee and that gender equality is taken up as a cross-cutting issue and guiding principle for the new Green Climate Fund. It is by no means comprehensive. Further joint and individual submissions elaborating various issues to be addressed in all four work streams are planned.

For more details and to download the submission, click here.

Key principles for integrating gender into the Green Climate Fund

The Green Climate Fund has an opportunity to distinguish itself from existing funds by being the first to integrate a gender perspective from the outset. This will help ensure that the Fund addresses issues of equity, equality and human rights while simultaneously promoting effective and efficient governance and disbursement of funds. Gender as a cross-cutting issue must guide the Transitional Committee’s discussions about the scope, governance and operational guidelines of the Green Climate Fund.

To download a summary of the joint submission by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Women's Environment & Development Organisation click here; if you are interested in the full report click here.

Women Gender constituency intervention during the TC meeting in Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan - The second meeting of the Transitional Committee (TC) to design the Green Climate Fund (GCF) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was held 13-14 July, 2011. At COP16 in Cancún, 2010, the Green Climate Fund was established to provide further assistance to developing countries.

GenderCC and the UNFCCC Women’s Constituency are working hard to ensure the equitable and effective allocation of these funds, and for the integration of gender equality.

The women and gender constituency had the opportunity to deliver an intervention, stating: “Gender equality as a cross-cutting issue must inform the Transitional Committee’s discussions about every aspect of the fund – from the statement of principles to statement of governance, from the fund’s scope to beneficiaries, from actual gender-balanced representation in the Fund’s Board and other decision-making bodies to the institutionalization of monitoring and evaluation and redress mechanisms. The Green Climate Fund must be created as a gender-responsive climate finance mechanism by mainstreaming a gender perspective across all funding windows and funding instruments.”

To read the full intervention, click here.

Engendering the Green Climate Fund - An Opportunity for Best Practice

Gender considerations are currently not systematically addressed in existing climate financing instruments; where gender appears, it is in bits and pieces.  Probably the main reason for this is that gender was not integrated into the design and the operationalization of these financing mechanisms from the very outset – as is the case for the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) as well as for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) or the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) administered by the Global Environment Facility, and even the Adaptation Fund, which only started project funding last year.  This is where the Green Climate Fund, currently designed by the 40 members of the Transitional Committee, has a chance to do better:  It has an opportunity to be truly transformative and distinguish itself from existing funds by being the first to integrate a gender perspective from the outset. Gender as a cross-cutting issue must guide the discussions about the scope, the governance and operational guidelines of the Green Climate Fund in the Transitional Committee.

But a formal gender policy or a gender action plan for a climate financing instrument in itself is not enough. Equally important is the systematic integration of gender equality in a fund’s governance structure as well in its public participation mechanisms. For example, while of the existing multilateral climate funds the AF is the most representative in terms of countries’ inclusion (with a majority of seats for developing countries and a dedicated board seat each for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing Countries), none of the multilateral climate funds seeks a gender-balance on the board. Also, most don’t allow for an active participation of members of civil society in the respective fund’s board either.

Gender advocates are therefore putting forward some key recommendations to the Transitional Committee to ensure that gender is adequately considered in the ongoing deliberations on the design of the future Green Climate Fund. Among the most important gender equality considerations for the new Fund are:

  • Gender-responsive funding guidelines and criteria
  • Explicit gender criteria
  • Funding Windows
  • Gender-balance in all decision-making bodies
  • The GCF Secretariat must include gender expertise
  • Input and participation of women as stakeholders and beneficiaries
  • Regular gender-audit of funding allocation

To read the whole article by Liane Schalatek, Associate Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America, click here.

Who we are

GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice is the global network of women and gender activists and experts from all world regions working for gender and climate justice.