As many of you are no doubt aware, at the weekend an historical agreement was reached in Paris – after two weeks of negotiations, 195 nations decided to adopt the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Many are celebrating the deal as a diplomatic success, as states managed to agree to keep warming under 2°C and to endeavour to limit it to 1.5°C – a more ambitious goal than expected before the summit.
Yet, can the deal in Paris really be considered a victory? Many of us are left feeling uncertain, particularly given that the Agreement spectacularly fails to outline how this goal is to be achieved. Even if they stick to their word, states have currently offered emissions reductions targets which will set us on the path towards a 3 °C world, meaning widespread devastation and loss of life.
As advocates of gender equality and human rights, COP21 has also left us with little reason to celebrate. Much work has been done in recent years to highlight the necessity of enshrining these fundamental principles at the core of a fair and ambitious climate agreement. Yet in Paris, a small number of states refused to accept more than a tokenistic reference to the importance of human rights, gender equality, indigenous rights, intergenerational equity, just transitions and decent work, food security and the need to protect the integrity of ecosystems.
Together with other members of the Women & Gender Constituency, GenderCC issued a statement on the final day of COP21, declaring that lofty goals and empty promises will not deliver the change we need urgently to avoid disastrous climate and human impacts.
Despite these setbacks, this edition will highlight our activities at COP21 and the incredible amount of work that was done on the ground to ensure that women’s voices were heard in Paris.
Our work will continue and we look forward to your contributions in the coming year. The outcome of Paris has arguably highlighted the need for stronger action where it counts – in our different local and national contexts, in our communities and in networks.
We hope you enjoy this issue! If you would like to contribute to the next newsletter, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
from the GenderCC Secretariat team.
GenderCC was extremely well represented in Paris, despite having faced the usual challenges relating to limited funding and registrations in the months prior. Our booth in the observer hall of COP21 gave us the opportunity to share information about our network and talk to many individuals who stopped by to find out more about our work and members.
We hope that many of those who signed up for the newsletter might consider joining our network. It’s easy to become a member – just fill in a form and send us an email telling us about your work and your interest in gender and climate-related issues.
Furthermore, at the GenderCC 2015 Annual General Meeting held in Paris, it was decided that our fee structure and membership rules will be revised. All members are now invited to make pay membership fees on a voluntary basis, which we hope will allow our network to grow in the coming months.
As a result, we have decided to offer new members the opportunity to be featured on the start page of our brand new website (if you haven’t already seen it, be sure to take a look) and our Facebook page. If you recommend a new member, we will be sure to feature you too!
In the wake of COP21, it is arguably now even more crucial to think about how climate policies can be implemented more comprehensively at the local and national level, as well as how we can create a stronger focus on the need for social change.
Our most recent project GenderNETCLIM therefore couldn’t be timelier. On March 1, 2016 in Berlin, we will be hosting a conference titled “Climate needs change: fostering the potential of gender research”. Researchers and practitioners will share their expertise with participants and discuss how climate politics can contribute to the goal of gender justice, particularly in light of the recent agreement in Paris.
The conference language will be German. View the program and register here.
On December 10, in the German Pavilion at COP21, GenderCC officially launched the “Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiative”, a new project which seeks to integrate gender into mitigation and adaptation policies at municipal level.
Urban action on climate change is receiving growing attention, with cities increasingly considered to be key actors for the implementation of climate policy. However, until now gender issues have rarely been addressed in this context. The project will therefore address this gap, working with project partners in several pilot cities in India, South Africa, and one further country to be confirmed. It is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
The side event was opened by Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, German Parliamentary State Secretary (BMUB), with an introduction to the project provided by Gotelind Alber (GenderCC). Further inputs were given by Dorah Marema (GenderCC Southern Africa), Kalyani Raj (All India Women’s Conference) and Christina Soentoro (Aksi!, Indonesia).
For photos of the launch, click here.
On behalf of the Women and Gender Constituency, GenderCC hosted a side event on Day 1 of COP21, together with LIFE e.V., APWLD - Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development and IBON International.
The panellists addressed the urgent need for a system change in order to tackle climate change and existing inequalities. Speakers gave examples of transformative solutions that are already being developed by women at the local and national level.
For a more detailed summary and photos, click here.
As at previous COPs, the UNFCCC Secretariat organised a Gender Day during COP21 on December 8. Multiple side events were held both within the official 'Blue Zone' and in the Climate Generations Area, which was open to the wider public. Several GenderCC members were involved in these events. The full programme of Gender Day at COP21 is available here.
Highlights in the 'Blue Zone' included the event Gender just climate solutions, hosted by Women’s Environment Program (WEP), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) and the Women’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO). It sought to highlight concrete examples of gender-responsive climate policies and actions, as well as success stories from around the world and a number of key recommendations for the new Paris agreement.
The Momentum for Change – Women for Results event hosted by the UNFCCC Secretariat was a fitting opportunity to launch the GCCA publication 'Roots for the Future: The Landscape and Way Forwards on Gender and Climate Change'. Chapter 5, 'Into the cities: Developing and supporting resilient, sustainable, and gender-responsive urban environments' was authored by Gotelind Alber and Kate Cahoon from the GenderCC Secretariat, with contributions from A.E. Boyer and Margaux Granat. It is available for download here.
A further event hosted by the Women and Gender Constituency took place in the Climate Generations Area, with the title Policy & Action for a Just World. In the first part of this interactive 3 hour event, panellists, including Ulrike Röhr and Lisa Göldner from GenderCC, as well as several other GenderCC members, addressed the multiple linkages between gender and climate change. In the second part, women’s advocates from around the world shared their stories of solutions and struggles on the ground.
For photos from Gender Day, click here.
Civil society groups showed great dedication and solidarity during COP21 and joined forces to push for a fair and ambitious agreement. Together with human and indigenous people’s rights organisations and youth representatives, the Women and Gender Constituency conducted several actions within the “Blue Zone” where the negotiations took place in order to raise awareness for their shared demands.
On December 7 an action was used to highlight the substantial pillars for a fair and ambitious Paris agreement: human rights, indigenous people's rights, inter-generational equity, food security ecosystems, a fair transition, and gender equality. Participant demonstrated that the Paris Agreement runs the risk of crumbling and becoming ineffective if one of these core principles is removed.
For Gender Day, December 8, women’s and gender advocates came together for a powerful action, in which women from around the world shared their stories, danced and sang together and raised their voices to demand the integration of gender equality in the new climate agreement. See photos and a short video.
Shortly after a new draft version of the agreement had been released on December 9, several hundred civil society observers came together for a massive, spontaneous sit-in in the heart of the conference centre. Chanting “We are unstoppable, another world is possible!” they demanded climate justice and urged the negotiating Parties to come up with an ambitious and fair agreement. See photos and a short video.
On Friday, December 11 women’s activists came together for two final actions at COP21. The first was to protest against nuclear power and the massive lobbying of the nuclear industry at the conference. Activists spoke out against this false and harmful “solution” to climate change and called for environmentally and socially sound technologies. The second called for attention to the danger climate change poses for peace. If the states fail to mitigate climate change, conflicts are expected to arise and worsen all over the world. At the same time, emissions from military activities are still not counted into nations’ total GHG emissions.
In the midst of the climate negotiations, hundreds of people gathered in front of Eiffel Tower on December 6 2015 in the heart of Paris to demand a just agreement which must involve an immediate transition to 100% renewable energy.
GenderCC members, alongside with representatives of various other civil society organisations, like Greenpeace and the Women’s Environmental and Development Organisation, sat down together to form a message of hope and peace.
The aerial art installation was designed by artist John Quigley and renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Photos of the action can be viewed here.
In recent weeks, the GenderCC Secretariat in Berlin has organised a number of events to highlight our involvement in COP21 and broaden our networks within Germany.
An information evening, held on November 19 in the context of the Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice, resulted in a number of interesting discussions between members of the press and civil society, highlighting some of the key issues surrounding gender and the new climate agreement.
For the “Women’s run for climate justice”, held on November 22 2015, a team of volunteers together ran 42.195 kilometers in the wind and snow to raise awareness of gender and climate change issues. A summary – with photos and a short video – can be found here.
Have you already seen the photos we have received from members and friends of GenderCC as part of our Global Call for Climate Justice?
Photos have been sent in from all over the world, from Nigeria to Germany, from the USA to Sweden, featuring the demands of women who are leading the way by adapting to the impacts of climate change, by mitigating further impacts and finding fair approaches to climate justice.
The good news is that it’s not too late to make a contribution! Find out how.
At COP21 in Paris, our current intern Lara Eckstein interviewed GenderCC members to find out what drives them to fight for gender justice in climate politics, looking beyond COP21.