Gender and Climate Change Activities @ COP17 - Durban 2011

From our point of view, the enthusiastic reaction of some media to the Durban outcome (referring to it as a "breakthrough") was not justified. Even though a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol had been adopted, it covered only a relatively small fraction of the global GHG emissions. Canada had left the Protocol, the US had never even joined, and Russia, Japan and Australia had rejected the second commitment period. Moreover, the targets of the remaining "Kyoto Club" remained yet unclear.
Even though an "Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action" had been established to adopt a legal agreement until 2015, this new agreement won't enter into force before 2020. Even though, the Green Climate Funds' basic design was adopted, its success remained very uncertain. Even though gender was mentioned in the AWG-LCA documents, it was removed from the text on shared vision. Ultimately, we consider the Durban outcomes a breakdown, not a breakthrough.

Official establishment of the Women and Gender Constituency

Shortly before COP17, the UNFCCC Secretariat granted the Women and Gender Constituency full status as an official NGO constituency within the UNFCCC process.
Following a two-year provisional period, the formal approval of the Constituency was a testament to the hard work and vision of many people and reflected the increased recognition that was given to gender issues within the UNFCCC process and within international climate policy-making in general.

Daily women's caucus

The Women and Gender Caucus – comprised of members of the Women and Gender Constituency and others interested in gender – met daily to discuss progress in the negotiations. Some caucus members formed working groups to further discuss specific topics, including mitigation, adaptation, finance and feminist approaches. One working group on feminist approaches developed a discussion paper on a feminist perspective on the negotiations.

Side Event

On December 1st, GenderCC – in cooperation with the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) – hosted a very successful side event entitled "Gender responsive adaptation and low carbon development – including the role of rural and indigenous women".
Three women gave presentations on behalf of GenderCC: Elizabeth Letlhaku from South Africa talked about her experiences as a member of the Siphephile Waste Recycling Co-operative, which undertakes projects on recycling, waste management and urban agriculture. Ulamila Wragg of the Cook Islands and Ruiti Uriano Aretaake of Kiribati talked about adaptation and low carbon development in the Pacific. Ulamila gave an overview of GenderCC's three-year project on gender in adaptation and low carbon development, which is implemented and run by the Secretariat for the Pacific Community. Ruiti then talked about adaptation strategies in Kiribati, including alternative ways in which women can earn income in response to the changing climate. In addition, there were two presentations on behalf of APWLD. Vernie Yocogan-Diano presented on rural women's adaptation strategies and indigenous practices in the Philippines, while Kurukulasuriya Antanat Roshanthi Fernando talked about the adaptation strategies of women in small-scale fisheries in Sri Lanka.


GenderCC was directly involved in two interventions at COP17:
Emily Tjale held an intervention in the AWG-KP on behalf of GenderCC. She emphasised the need to listen to the concerns of grassroots women and communities, whose voices are too often overshadowed by those of corporations. Emily encouraged governments to put their power to good purpose and negotiate a strong climate deal that sees immediate cuts in global emissions.

Eunice Warue of GenderCC made an intervention in the high-level segment on behalf of the Women and Gender Constituency. She urged parties to secure a global climate change agreement with substance, and noted that there is little point promoting a gender-sensitive approach within a framework that is empty and ineffective. The intervention also emphasised that steps to include gender in the text of international agreements must translate into real change for women and men on the ground.

A third intervention was given by Rachel Harris on behalf of the Women and Gender Constituency.

Grassroots Women's Conference on Climate Change

On November 24th and 25th, 2011, over 50 women from South Africa and other world regions came together in Durban for the Grassroots Women’s Conference on Climate Change. The conference was jointly presented by GenderCC and the Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA) and was supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

The participants of the Grassroots Women's Conference on Climate Change developed a statement summarizing their key demands for the negotiations. is available for download .

Sally Wilkinson, GenderCC published an interesting article on grassroots women's involvement at COP17.