Welcome to the April 2013 GenderCC newsletter, which aims to keep the gender and climate change community up-to-date on our activities and provide the latest news from the gender and climate change community as a whole.
In this issue, we will take the opportunity to introduce the new project co-ordinator, Conny van Heemstra, who joined the team at the Berlin Secretariat at the beginning of the month.
This edition of the GenderCC newsletter also has a special focus on new publications emerging on the topic of gender and climate change. It will feature our first book review, written by our motivated intern Ellen.
For more information and updates, please visit our website at www.gendercc.net. We would also like to encourage you to contribute to the newsletter – please send your articles to newsletter[at]gendercc.net.
We hope you enjoy reading this issue of the GenderCC newsletter.
Kate and Ellen
for the GenderCC team in Berlin
As of this month, GenderCC has joined facebook and will be posting regular updates on activities and news from the network and the broader gender and climate change community. The GenderCC facebook page is in need of more “fans”, so please “like” us if you are active in facebook and suggest it to your friends and networks, so that we can reach an even wider audience.
In addition, the literature database on the GenderCC homepage is in the process of being updated. A large number of new publications can now be found and information has been added for many of the older publications.
Although an increasing amount of research on climate change and gender has been conducted over the past few years, certain topics have received more attention than others, resulting in substantial gaps in our knowledge on the linkages between climate change and gender.
One aspect which has been neglected until now is the topic of climate change and gender in urban settings. Therefore, GenderCC is very pleased to announce that we are currently preparing a publication on gender in climate policy of cities. Based on an earlier study on climate change, gender and cities by GenderCC board member Gotelind Alber in 2011, it is to serve as a guidebook for both practitioners working on local climate policy, and women’s groups and gender experts. The brochure will be published in collaboration with GIZ and UN-HABITAT.
We are currently in the process of collecting case studies to be incorporated in the handbook. If you happen to know about projects that might be of any relevance for us, or if you know anyone who might be able to help us in the process of bringing together existing experience, please get in contact with us at g.alber(at)gendercc.net or secretariat(at)gendercc.net.
Women living in poverty across South Africa need support to adapt to climate change and to take an active part in the transition to a low carbon economy.
A briefing has been put together by GenderCC Southern Africa wit the support of Oxfam. It sets out the context of climate finance in South Africa and provides recommendations to policy makers in South Africa for helping women to access and to benefit from climate finance.
To download the paper, click here.
At COP 18, Parties adopted a decision on loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in developing countries. The final decision defines the way forward on loss and damage under the Convention. COP19 will establish institutional arrangements on loss and damage. UNFCCC Secretariat will carry out three intersessional activities under the work programme, prior to SBI 39 through which two technical papers on non-economic losses and on gaps in existing institutional arrangements within and outside of the Convention are expected to be developed. The SBI is asked to take into account the further work needed as specified in the decision, including, inter alia, work to enhance the understanding of the risk of slow onset events and approaches to address them; non-economic losses and damages; and how impacts of climate change are affecting patterns of migration, displacement and human mobility.
The current discourse on L&D does not give adequate considerations to gender concerns that are extremely important for understanding residual climate impacts beyond adaptation and the resulting differential L&D needs for vulnerable women, communities and countries. There has been much scope to explore potential activities targeted for women and vulnerable communities while addressing the issues of non-economic activities. In the discourse of extreme weather events, women and gender concerns are often addressed (though briefly). However, there exists hardly any understanding on how women have been differentially affected through slow onset events. The current L&D discussion offers room to address these issues. The members of women and gender constituency under UNFCCC process must take up this opportunity.
GenderCC members Sharmind Neelormi and Ahsan Uddin Ahmed have published a study titled "Loss and Damage in a Warmer World: Whither Gender Matters?".
Last month, the 3rd meeting of the Board of the Green Climate Fund took place in Berlin, laying the groundwork for future proceedings of the GCF and what is described as a ‘paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development’.
With decision 3/CP.17, the GCF made history as the first global climate finance mechanism to include gender equality concerns at its inception. A number of concrete recommendations have been made by observers on ways to work towards a gender-sensitive approach in the GCF by building on and expanding the best practices of existing funds and financing instruments in its processes and governing structures, as well as gender mainstreaming experiences in sustainable energy initiatives. A report prepared by Liane Schalatek, Boell Foundation Washington, can be downloaded here (PDF).
For further reading, please see her brief overview of the GCF and her further report on gender and climate financing.
The United Nations Climate Change secretariat is calling for activities for selection under Momentum for Change: Women for Results. The aim is to showcase various women-led activities that address climate change. These “lighthouse activities” will demonstrate measurable impact on the ground, and the potential for replicability and scaleability at the local, national and international levels.
The first round of Momentum for Change: Women for Results “lighthouse activities”, will be showcased at COP 19/CMP 9 in Warsaw, Poland. Applications opened on the 8 March 2013 and will be ongoing until 26 April.
For more information, click here.
On the 8th of March 2013, the Center for Human Rights and Climate Change Research in Nigeria held a celebration for International Women’s Day with the theme “Measuring Gender Progress in Nigeria”. The workshop was facilitated by GenderCC member Odigie-Emmanual, Omoyemen Lucia, who delivered a welcome address. The main task was to measure gender progress in Nigeria and identify goals and gaps. After a general brainstorming session on gender terms and concepts, participants engaged in a review of Score Card Parameters for measuring gender progess in certain sectors. For example, “Gender in Climate Change Action” was assessed as having made little to no progress, with more sensitization needed. .
Other results were that immediate action is needed in mainstreaming a gender perspective into actions to halt bush burning, land grabbing, loss of biodiversity and its economic uses, gas flaring and impact of climate change of local people, unregulated chemical disposals leading to deaths(reference to 50 deaths in a location in Anambra state) and deforestation. Participants also called on women to utilize political spaces without fear of stigmatization.
Participants concluded that more action is needed in mainstreaming gender in Nigeria societal life and sectors; and that a gender policy without continuous gender analysis and adequate allocation of funds is same as no action. Civil society is called to action in measuring progress and ensuring accountability. .
To find out more and see some photos, read this short report (PDF).
At a meeting in February 2013, the Executive Director of the Institute of Environment and Water Management and GenderCC member Annabell Waititu called for increased empowerment of women to enable them undertake more sustainable, greener agriculture in Kenya.
The meeting in Nairobi brought together rural women from around Kenya with the aim of promoting natural resource management and sustainable agriculture in various Kenyan counties.
In an interview, Waititu said that changes in policies are needed, as existing policies do not adequately address barriers to women when applying for water permits and or connections. There is need for government agencies to link up with rural women to ensure successful implementation of climate mitigation and adaptation projects at the grassroots level.
To find out more, read this interview with Annabell Waititu.
Last October, a research project on the interplay among household decision-making, gender relations and climate change adaptation policies was started, with evidence from a quasi-experimental impact study in the Morogoro, Tanzania. According to the researchers, until now there has been little cross-reading among climate change adaptation research and intra-household allocation literature.
Some fragments taken out of the project description:
‚ […] thus far micro-level adaptation policies are generally targeted at households, and thus implicitly assume that households act as neutral intermediaries among policy-makers and individuals. This is in sharp contrast to [what has been demonstrated] in intrahousehold allocation literature […]. Strongly diverging preferences and behaviour, often structured along gender lines, have been recorded in many areas, including in how to adapt to climate change, and in how to manage and conserve natural resources.’
’We will in particular zoom into agricultural and water related adaptation interventions in the Rwenzori region in Uganda, [and] compare the impact of interventions targeted at households with interventions targeted at individuals, more specifically women.’
The research project will be conducted by three researchers from the University of Antwerp in Belgium over a duration of four years. GenderCC is eagerly awaiting the findings of this study.
There are a range of new projects and events emerging on the topic of gender and climate change in different regions of the world. In the past months, these have included:
The Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project: prioritizing gender
Gender will be a key consideration of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change Project, which works to help 14 Pacific island countries build resilience to climate change with on the ground projects and activities. When designing national adaptation activities, gender-sensitive criteria and indicators are one of the key sets of information that allow the project to measure impacts or benefits of the activities at national and community levels.
'Harnessing Climate Change Mitigation Initiatives to Benefit Women'
This project is being implemented in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam over the next three years. It will pilot a model to develop low carbon projects with gender-equality benefits and demonstrate how climate financing can provide benefits to women for their contributions to GHG reductions.
Project launching workshop ‚Climate Change Project for Improving Livelihoods of Rural Women’
On 13 March 2013 a workshop took place with the purpose of introducing a new 15 month project from the Cambodian Climate Change Alliance (CCCA), called ‚Climate Change Project for Improving Livelihood of Rural Women’, which is being implemented by the Cambodian Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The main objective of the project is to improve the livelihood and adaptive capacity of rural women in six communes in Cambodia through capacity building and improved access to information on climate change and natural disasters.
Mainstreaming gender in climate change adaptation: training course
In March, a training course on gender mainstreaming and climate change adaptation took place in the Philippines, organized by the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR). The course focused on disaster mitigation and adaptation to climate change responses within a gender framework, for a more gender responsive programming and planning to decrease disaster risks and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Usha Nair has been actively associated with All India Women’s Conference for over twelve years. After a successful career as officer in the Information Technology Department of a government Bank, she joined as a voluntary worker in the Central Office of AIWC at New Delhi. After being in charge of the AIWC Library and editing the quarterly journal of the organization Roshni, she was elected to the post of Treasurer in 2011. She has also been in charge of the programs related to Climate Change Advocacy in AIWC.
All India Women’s Conference was founded in 1927. Over the years, AIWC has developed into a large organization spread all over India. It has nine Zones, 600+ branches and more than 120000 voluntary members. At international level, AIWC has consultative status with United Nations (ECOSOC), was a Member of UNICEF Executive Committee, is Member of CONGO, World Renewable Energy Network (WREN), International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE) and Global-Water Partnership. It is also affiliated to the International Alliance of Women (IAW), and Pan Pacific South East Asian Women’s Association (PPSEAWA).
AIWC has been involved in Rural Energy Technologies (RET’s) for the last 28 years and now implements RET projects in almost all the Indian States through its branches. Solar energy devices covered range from solar parabolic cookers to lanterns, charging stations, solar heaters, and solar dryers for fruit, vegetables and condiments.
AIWC has devised a training methodology with experts to benefit women (self help groups) and teenagers. The trained women / girls are now able to do the initial survey, installation and maintenance, assembling of devices including solar lanterns,homelight systems, assembly and repair of parabolic cookers etc. A project entitled ‘Solar driers for income generation for women’ was conceived, and implemented jointly by India and Nepal.
Promoting energy efficiency, popularizing alternate energy, waste management, herbal gardening, water harvesting etc are some of the activities promoted by AIWC to help in mitigation of the effects of climate change. During the last decade AIWC has stepped into the area of Climate Change Advocacy. National Workshops, awareness programs, seminars and advocacy efforts have been taken up to bring voices from the grassroots to the policy makers through surveys, interactions with villagers and organizing platforms for the common people to interact with policy makers etc.
AIWC members have been regularly attending Climate Change Conferences. At COP17, COP18 and Rio+20, AIWC members were attending the daily women’s caucus, and sessions of GenderCC and other women’s groups.
Conny van Heemstra is coordinating the ongoing project 'Gender in Adaptation and Low Carbon Development', funded by the International Climate Initiative through the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. As part of this project, she will be contributing to the Global Learning Platform for GenderCC.
Conny is an anthropologist and historian. She received her Bachelor degree from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, as she was traveling, volunteering and studying there for six years. Upon her return to Germany she pursued a Master degree from University Leipzig, Germany.
Since then she has been working at various NGOs, focusing on the effects of globalisation, environmental politics and gender. Before joining GenderCC at the beginning of the month, she was working on the link between care and sustainable economies at Berlin-based NGO LIFE.
Her main interests lie in climate change, gender, globalisation and international solidarity.
Ellen Billiet is a philosophy student and feminist activist from Belgium. A few months ago, she developed a strong interest in climate change and gender. After attending the COP18, she felt the urgent need to make a contribution to the activism and research concerning climate and gender justice, and therefore applied for an internship at GenderCC. In the future, she plans to stay actively involved with GenderCC as a volunteer. Currently, she is writing a research paper on climate change discourses from a feminist perspective, with a focus on the discourse of green consumerism and lifestyle changes. Next year, she will be conducting research on climate change discourses, feminist epistemology and intersectionality.
by Ellen Billiet
In this book, Seema Arora-Jonsson focuses on two towns, the first in India, a country known for its high degree of gender inequality, and - in contrast with the former - Sweden, the country that is supposed to almost have reached the highest possible level of equality. Both of the investigated communities are involved in local forest management, and in both of them women’s groups were established, because women feel that their voice is not being heard in the male-dominated forest organisations.
Using participatory research and in-depth fieldwork, Arora-Jonsson examines the negotiations of gender and power relations in these places and seeks to gain knowledge about how they shape environmental governance as well as development action. Placing the politics of knowledge production at the center of her analysis, and by outlining linkages between the two contexts, she attempts to advance thinking on the construction of domination and possibilities for emancipation in both communities. Also, Arora-Jonsson aims to analyse the ways stereotypical assumptions about development and gender equality come into being in connection with collective and individual agency.
By moving beyond the common view that looking at the gender dimensions of climate change is only relevant in relation to the South, Arora-Jonsson gives an import signal to researchers working on climate change and gender, namely that we need to broaden our research agenda. Currently, most research is focused on showing the vulnerability and poverty of women in the South. But power imbalances and gender inequalities have far from disappeared in the North. Furthermore, we should not forget about the fact that even in our (over)developed societies, high numbers of economically and socially disadvantaged – and thus vulnerable - groups continue to exist.
GenderCC hopes that more researchers will follow in the footsteps of Arora-Jonsson and others who did similar efforts, and start exploring the numerous themes in the research field of climate change and gender that have not yet received the attention that they deserve.
Seema Arora-Jonsson (2012), "Gender, Development and Environmental Governance: Theorizing Connections". Routledge.
In this paper, the results of fieldwork conducted in two rural communities in Mexico are presented to explore the significance of power relations in the production of knowledge, resource distribution, and decision making. Feminist standpoint theory and geographic conceptualizations of social reproduction are utilized to argue that adaptation policies must understand how gender affects differential access to resources and decision-making in the context of climate change.
Margaret Alson & Kerri Whittenbury (eds.) (2013): Research, Action and Policy: Addressing the Gendered Impacts of Climate Change
This book is composed out of a collection of articles, with topics ranging from gendered adaptation strategies, to examinations of the interactions between neoliberal policy, gender and the environment. Representing the voices of women from every continent, this book offers a global perspective on the challenges that climate change imposes on women. Present throughout the whole book is the insistence on the inclusion of a gender framework in climate change research and policies.
Nicky Broeckhoven (2013): Gender and Climate Change in EU Law and Policy
In this presentation, an assessment of the integration of gender into the climate change law and policy of the European Union is made. The author paid special attention to recent developments, in particular to the European Parliament resolution of 20 April 2012 on women and climate change and the Council conclusions on gender equality and the environment of 21 June 2012.
This master thesis presents an analysis of the ways in which the category "woman" is constructed in climate change discourse by utilizing data from the micro-blogging site Twitter.com in the 60 days surrounding the COP17. Women are represented through imageries of violence and victimization, while simultaneously constructed as mythical heroines who will save humanity from the climate crisis. Using transnational and postcolonial feminist theory, Brinker criticizes these representations and examines the consequences of the narrow representations of women in climate change discourse.
Rajendra Bhandari & Kalyan Pantha (2013): Climate Change Impacts on Women of Central Mid-Hills of Nepal: A Case Study from Mahadevsthan VDC of Nepal
In this report, 31 years long data of temperature and precipitation recorded in Mahadevsthan VDC, Nepal are analyzed along with questionnaire survey to assess the impacts of climate change on women.
Nathalie Holvoet & Liesbeth Inberg (2013): How gender-sensitive are the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) of Sub-Saharan African countries? A gender-scan of 31 NAPAs
Through this study, an investigation has been made on the 31 available Sub Sahara African NAPAs, looking at whether and to what extent they integrate a gender dimension into the different phases of the NAPA cycle and the different sectors that are especially related to climate change. Additionally, they analyse the degree of participation of women and gender experts in diagnosis and decision-making as well as the gender sensitivity of the format used for participation.
Christian Dymén, Måns Andersson & Richard Langlais (2013): Gendered dimensions of climate change response in Swedish municipalities
In this article, the gendered dimensions of climate change response in Swedish municipalities are discussed. The potential causal relationships between a high level of awareness of the gendered aspects of climate change and the levels of climate change response were investigated. Also, the authors asked whether there is a positive relationship between gender awareness and the quality of the communities' climate change policies and practice.
Samiul Islam (2013): <link typo3 papers.ssrn.com sol3 delivery.cfm _blank linklist>Consequences of Climate Change and Gender Vulnerability: Bangladesh Perspective
The authors of this working paper look at climate change impacts, vulnerability and gender in the Khulna region of Bangladesh. They assert that prevailing societal norms and practices, and women’s limited access to resources and decision-making processes increases their vulnerability to climate change.
ICRAF (2013): Addressing gender in climate-smart smallholder agriculture
This policy brief focuses on the constraints that are preventing women from participating in smallholder carbon and climate-smart activities, thereby presenting experience from the SACC project carried out in Kenya. It underscores the importance of social norms and intra-household decision making in influencing whether and how women are able to participate in, and benefit from, sustainable agriculture.
Margaret Alston (2013): Gender mainstreaming and climate change
This paper outlines an argument for gender mainstreaming of climate change policy and for policies focused specifically on women's empowerment. Gender mainstreaming is essential in ensuring that climate policies and programs are comprehensive, and women-focused policies are needed to ensure that women are supported and empowered to take action on their own behalf.
David Edmunds, Jade Sasser & Eva Wollenberg (2013): A gender strategy for pro-poor climate change mitigation
This CCAFS working paper proposes a gender strategy for climate change mitigation and the promotion of low emissions agriculture, as to meet the goals of poverty alleviation and food security in ways that benefit poor women materially, personally and socially.