Gender activities leading up to COP21 in Paris

Mobilisation for Paris

During SB42, women and gender advocates met several times to discuss plans for a Global Women's Mobilisation for Paris 2015. Hosted by the Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO), the strategy session brought together a variety of ideas and concepts to strengthen the collective voice of women in the lead up to the new climate agreement.

In the aftermath the Global Women's Call for Climate Justice was launched. This global campaign was collectively organized by a group of regionally diverse women's rights and feminist organizations, brought together by the urgent need for just action on climate change.

GenderCC participated in the Call for Climate Justice with a photo campaign on women's visions of climate justice.

ADP Meeting, Aug/Sept 2015 in Bonn

With less than 10 days of negotiations left before Paris, women and gender advocates made their presence felt at the ADP2 in Bonn. Representatives from GenderCC, the Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Asia-Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and other women and gender advocates have held strategy sessions and regular caucus meetings.

Based on the Women and Gender Constituency position paper, advocates have been developing positions and key priorities to discuss with delegates in the lead up to Paris. Many countries have made statements in support of including gender equality as a key overarching principle, however, the challenge will be to ensure that strong references are included in the operative paragraphs of a strong and binding agreement. 

SB42 Meeting, June 2015 in Bonn

The GenderCC team was represented at the SB42 meetings in Bonn, where work on the future climate agreement continued.

Side Event: "Women’s Perspectives on Just Climate Policy: COP21 and Beyond"

What are the different perspectives that women’s rights activists can bring to the table when it comes to ensuring just climate action? This was the broader question addressed in the shared Women & Gender Constituency side event on June 4th, 2015, hosted by by WEDO, GenderCC and LIFE e.V.The panellists provided regional perspectives on key elements ranging from appropriate climate finance to safe and sustainable technology transfer and development.

The event was opened by Bridget Burns (WEDO/co-focal point), who presented the Women & Gender Constituency position paper on the 2015 new climate agreement. As a collaborative effort, the position paper lays out the key requirements of a just and gender-responsive climate agreement and is shaped by a variety of experiences, which were highlighted by the speakers in turn in a panel facilitated by Kate Cahoon (GenderCC):

Tess Vistro (Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development) called attention to the impacts of disasters on women and the need for capacity building in the Philippines, accompanied by a moving video. She highlighted the resilience of women and the powerful movement they built in the wake of Haiyan.

Queensley Ajuyakpi (Women Environmental Programme) shared information about her work on projects relating to adaptation and improving energy access for women in Nigeria, stressing the need to provide adequate finance to support women and ensure that their traditional knowledge is utilized.

Building upon these concrete examples, Sabine Bock (Women in Europe for a Common Future) drew the link to technology transfer and the need for safe technology that meets community needs and is socially sound and sustainable, both in developing and industrialized countries.

Ulrike Röhr (LIFE e.V.) expanded on the role of industrialized countries and the importance of not limiting the discussion to technological solutions, but also addressing and researching the gender dimensions of consumption and energy use, and tackling the issues of behavioral change and power relations.

Finally, Pashpanzhu Vitery Vacaccela, an Quichuan indigenous woman leader from Ecuador shared experiences of implementing mitigation and adaptation projects in the Amazon, particularly engaging with indigenous women and their traditional knowledge and technology to promote food security and respect territorial management.

To start the discussion, respondents from other Constituencies were invited to provide their feedback, led by a trade union representative from the UK who stressed the need for a strong shared voice from civil society in the lead up to Paris. Other audience members discussed with panelists land-use issues and the challenge of providing rights protections in existing and planned market-based mechanisms, given that these have proven to be harmful to women in many contexts. Participants decided that there is an ongoing need for further clarity on gender-related concepts and detailed policy recommendations, which will no doubt be the part of the ongoing Lima Work Programme on gender within the UNFCCC.

In-session workshop on gender - a missed opportunity?

As a key action item emerging from the Lima Work Programme on Gender, an in-session workshop was held at SB42 to address "gender-responsive climate policy with a focus on mitigation action and technology development and transfer".

The full room of participants was greeted on the first day by the Deputy Executive Secretary Richard Kinley, with Veronica Nonhlamhla Gundu from the Ministry of Environment Water and Climate in Zimbabwe facilitating the event. The first session aimed to set the scene by providing terms and concepts related to gender responsive policy, with presentations by Bridget Burns (WEDO) and Lorena Aguilar (IUCN). In the second session, the importance and benefits of mainstreaming gender in mitigation action and technology development and transfer were addressed, primarily focused on a number of case studies. The following day sought to cover gender in the UNFCCC processes and mechanisms related to these topics, highlighting a number of challenges and opportunities for future action, as well as ways to enhance gender responsiveness.

While it is undoubtedly a positive step that gender issues are now being tackled in a substantive manner within the UNFCCC context – moving beyond gender balance into discussions of gender-responsive policy and implementation – some organisations were disappointed that the workshop failed to tackle the larger questions of gendered roles, power relations and the need for structural transformation. GenderCC issued a statement on the in-session workshop which can be downloaded here.