This newsletter – the first of 2015 – marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for GenderCC and an important year for the gender and climate change community.
COP20 in Lima delivered a Work Programme on gender, building on the recent commitment to ‘gender balance’ in the UNFCCC and offering important opportunities for further progress on gender issues. Yet, as the GenderCC team and others have insisted for many years, it is clear that there will be no gender equality on a dead planet – meaning that stronger commitments to tackling climate change and addressing its impacts are urgently required.
Will 2015 be the year to deliver much- needed change? GenderCC representatives will be present at the upcoming SB sessions in June and COP21 in Paris, where Parties are expected to sign a new climate agreement. We hope to follow this process together with members of our network and the Women and Gender Constituency.
This edition will also feature a number of updates on upcoming events and updates from the gender and climate change community at large.
After a period of reflection, GenderCC is looking forward to beginning a number of new activities and projects in 2015, including a re-launch of our homepage. At the GenderCC Secretariat, we are hoping that our network will continue to grow and flourish this coming year and would ask readers to consider how they would like to be involved in this process. If you would like to contribute ideas and suggestions, please get in touch at email@example.com.
We hope you enjoy this issue!
Kate, Gotelind and Georgia
from the GenderCC Secretariat
The GenderCC AGM was held during COP20 in Lima, attended by a small but motivated group of members from a range of countries. The board was largely re-elected and now consists of Gotelind Alber (Germany), Patricia Glazebrook (USA), Dorah Marema (South Africa), Teresa Perez Rocha (Uruguay), as well as Ulrike Röhr (Germany).
Given that GenderCC has now existed for quite some time, one topic of discussion at the AGM was how to re-engage members that we haven’t heard from in a while. Those present expressed their wish that the network continues to grow and that our members contribute and benefit from an active exchange and participation. The GenderCC Secretariat is planning to contact members in the coming weeks to ask for feedback and changed contact details. If you are a member and would like to participate more actively, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If not, becoming a member is as simple as filling out a membership form (LINK) and providing us with some information about your interest in gender and climate change. Fees – which support us in our ongoing work – apply for organisations and for individuals from industrialised countries. Donations are also welcome.
New members who sign up in the coming months will be featured on the GenderCC website and our Facebook page. Don’t miss the chance to join our network in 2015!
GenderCC’s website (www.gendercc.net) is currently in the process of being updated with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). As one of the only comprehensive archives of gender and climate activities and information, the aim is to present the huge amount of content in a more streamlined and user-friendly manner. The re-launch is planned for June/July 2015. Stay tuned for more updates!
Just as the linkages between climate change and gender are receiving a growing amount of attention, the specific challenges that cities face are also increasingly recognised. Yet, climate change, gender and cities are rarely addressed together, despite the clear potential for tackling inequality and climate issues with well-designed urban policies. GenderCC is pleased to announce that a project addressing this interface is planned for 2015-2018 with our partners All India Women’s Conference (India), Solidaritas Perempuan (Indonesia) and GenderCC Southern Africa (South Africa). The project team looks forward to sharing further details in upcoming newsletters.
At national level, too, it would seem that the considerable potential for addressing gender in urban climate policies is also gaining growing recognition. In March, the Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (Difu) invited GenderCC to talk about gender justice as the basis for sustainable climate policies in German municipalities. This discussion highlighted the need to further consider and address the gendered dimensions of issues such as consumption, transport and energy use in the global North.
GenderCC's Gotelind Alber and Kate Cahoon have authored a number of forthcoming publications dealing with this topic: stay tuned for further details!
GenderCC is working together with the University of Bremen (Germany) on a new project which will make available the findings of gender studies for climate change related technological and social transition processes. Moreover, the project aims to promote and strengthen a network of women scientists in the fields of climate change research, climate protection and climate adaptation. This will be achieved with a series of workshops, conferences, and other types of events, which will further develop and disseminate results and strategies related to the gender dimensions of climate change.
In parallel, a national competence and expert network will be built up and an interactive communication platform will be developed; the results of the project and guidelines for the implementation of gender equality and equal opportunities in the field of climate change will be provided in a booklet. The project will run until spring 2016 and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.
Following the first in-session workshop on gender and a high-level event hosted by the Secretariat at COP19 in Warsaw, gender advocates were keen to see less tokenism and more substantive progress made on gender in Lima. Parties discussed the issue in a number of informal sessions during the first week of COP20, resulting in the adoption of the Lima Work Programme on Gender. While gender advocates were initially disappointed that strong references to gender equality were removed, the Work Programme offers a number of opportunities to further institutionalise gender-related matters in the UNFCCC. An ongoing concern will be ensuring that gender is taken into account as a cross-cutting principle in the future agreement, in order to improve the “gender-responsiveness” of all climate-related policies and activities.
The Women and Gender Constituency met daily in Lima and gave a number of interventions, which are documented on the new WGC website. The now compulsory Gender Day, held on November 9th, featured a range of gender-related events and activities, including a UNFCCC high-level event opened by the COP president, two WGC press conferences and a cocktail event hosted by IUCN, UNDP, WEDO and UN Women.
Despite these positive developments, the disappointing overall outcome in Lima resulted in a final statement issued by representatives of the WGC, titled “Women at COP 20 Blast Failure for Real Action in Lima: “Time to Stop Calling and Start Doing. Leaders, You Have 12 Months to get it Right.”
At COP16 in Cancun, it was acknowledged that gender equality and the effective participation of women are important for all aspects of any response to climate change. This requires gender-responsive climate financing instruments and funding allocations. As Liana Schalatek from the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America argues, “this is a matter of using scarce public funding in an equitable, efficient and effective way. It also acknowledges that climate finance decisions are not made within a normative vacuum, but must be guided by the acknowledgement of women’s rights as unalienable human rights”. Whereas many existing climate funds have started out gender-blind, the new Green Climate Fund started out with a mandate to integrate a gender perspective from the outset into its business model framework. Current developments in the GCF have the potential to set new best practice for gender-responsiveness in funding climate actions; a workshop on gender-responsive indicators will be held on April 24 in Washington DC. To read more, download the Climate Funds Update on Gender and Finance.
Kate Cahoon and Gotelind Alber (GenderCC) contributed an article in the cities edition of the Outreach Stakeholder Magazine. It argues that while gender equality is certainly a goal in its own right, creating linkages with climate policy presents a unique opportunity for cities to achieve a range of objectives and start working today towards becoming low-carbon, resilient, equitable and gender-smart in the very near future.
GenderCC will be attending the Bonn Climate Conference from June 1-11 in Bonn, Germany, where many decisions are likely to be made prior to COP21 in Paris. The Women and Gender Constituency will be meeting daily and a shared side-event is planned. In addition, the UNFCCC will conduct an in-session workshop on implementing the Lima Work Programme on Gender, which is likely to take place at the beginning of the second week. Please check the GenderCC website closer to the date for more information or to get involved in our activities.
GenderCC’s partners at the Global Center for Change have been promoting a transformative approach to building resilience in Bangladesh. In recent years, “Resilience” building has been one of the major thrusts within development practices. Some of these approaches have been deemed too technical in that they focus on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, yet fail to sufficiently address broader structural inequalities and power imbalances.
Gender inequality, by nature, poses a threat to resilience. Investments in resilience will not “trickle down” to women if they do not address deep-rooted gender inequality and the disproportionate burden placed on the shoulders of women living in poverty. Ultimately, a transformative approach to building resilience implies moving beyond the status quo and tackling the systemic forms of discrimination that put women at risk in the first place.
In Bangladesh, different agencies have adopted predominantly community-based approaches, yet despite efforts to engage women in these initiatives, the structural power setup of gender has yet to be addressed. Rather than trying to enhance women’s livelihoods in a domestic periphery – like the practice of micro credit schemes – Sharmind Neelormi argues that it is “time to address the gap in understanding how to envisage women empowerment within the Resilience framework”.
The Institute of Environment and Water Management (IEWM) in Kenya is currently engaged in a number of activities relating to gender and climate change. For example, IEWM has conducted Women Leadership Circle Forums, which aim to define interventions geared towards increasing women’s participation in agriculture and natural resource management. The institute is also part of the Gender and Climate Change Working Group – a network of organizations and individuals working towards climate smart policies, decision-making and programs. It was initiated in 2010 and has been advocating for inclusion of gender and social concerns in climate change in Kenya. The network has succeeded in influencing the national climate change action planning processes, engaging various Ministries and government institutions through organized gender advocacy, training and capacity building of state and non-state actors on gender equality mainstreaming in climate change, organising and facilitating gender and climate change multi-stakeholder dialogues and round tables, knowledge management and submitting text to the Ministry of Environment on Kenya’s submission to the UNFCCC on how to advance its Decision on Gender.
Furthermore, IEWM is participating in the road to Paris regional meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to advocate for the inclusion of gender and women’s issues in COP 21. They are identifying challenges, success, gaps and recommendations for improved responses to climate change and post 2015 SDGs and plan to highlight the importance of promoting women technological innovations on climate adaptation.
A statement emphasising the links between women’s human rights and climate change has been issued by three leading figures in the field of climate change and development. Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice and the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Climate Change; Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC; and Amina J. Mohammed, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser and the Assistant-Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning highlight that 2015 will be a crucial year. With the Financing for Development conference in July, the Special Summit on Sustainable Development Goals in September, and the UN Climate Change Conference in December, there will be key opportunities to integrate gender equality and women's empowerment fully into the effort to promote sustainable development and fight climate change.
To read the statement, click here.
In an attempt to close the gender gap in farming under climate change, a conference hosted by CGIAR as part of the program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security was held in Paris in March 2015. It focused on sharing research results and how they are used, identifying key gaps in the research, discussing and identifying appropriate methodological frameworks, and networking and strengthening partnerships. For access to the program outline, presentations, videos and other useful information, click here.
French women and gender NGOs have developed a statement on gender and climate change that aims to attract the attention of civil society organizations and public authorities about the importance of taking into account gender equality in the climate processes. NGOs and network outside of France can also support the statement by signing the letter.
GenderCC members World Rainforest Movement from Uruguay have published a bulletin focusing on women's struggles and resistance in the face of climate change. Read the current issue or subscribe to receive the monthly bulletin.
Georgia Betros is an Australian student who just completed a semester at Humboldt University in Berlin. She studies a dual degree consisting of a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on Political Science and Journalism. Georgia has been interested in notions of the Other (in music and politics) which lead to her interest in gender. First and foremost, she values the endeavour for climate justice, and so appreciates the intersectional approach taken by GenderCC. She values the importance of unmasking pervasive constructions of knowledge and would like to pursue the area of progressive politics.
WEDO (2014): UNFCCC Decisions and Conclusions: Existing Mandates and Entry Points for Gender Equality. WEDO have developed a policy guide that will be helpful in advancing gender in the lead up to COP21 in Paris this year. The purpose of the guidebook is to support decision-makers, negotiators and advocates in mapping current decisions that contain specific references to gender equality (e.g. gender balance or gender-sensitive approaches) as well as identifying gaps (i.e. key entry points for strengthening concepts and text).
Global Green Grants et al. (2015): Climate Justice and Women's Rights. A Guide to Supporting Grassroots Women's Action. This guide addresses an urgent need within the funding community and offers concrete, practical guidance that orients grantmakers to the importance of funding at the intersection of climate justice and women’s rights, and draws lessons from specific examples of funding for women’s climate change initiatives.
CARE (2015): 2015 and Beyond: Action for a Just, Gender-Equitable and Sustainable Future. With the acknowledgment that social inequality and the injustice of climate change not only reinforce each other, this publication seeks to offer a comprehensive outline of recommendations for tackling gender and climate change. This involves promoting gender-equitable and sustainable development in the face of climate change for the ongoing 2015 policy processes, including the SDGs, the UNFCCC negotiations, and the post-2015 disaster risk reduction framework.
Sara Holmgreen and Seema Arora-Jonson (2015): The Forest Kingdom – with what values for the world? Climate Change and Gender Equality in a Contested Forest Policy Context. Drawing on new institutionalism, critical discourse theory and gender as an analytical category, the authors of this article examine the Swedish government’s vision for the forest sector and argue that climate change was seen as a business opportunity, where women were represented as potential employees and active forest owners connected to the needs of the industry, rather than active citizens involved in forest policy-making.
Sadegh Salehi et al. (2015): Gender, responsible citizenship and global climate change.
This article looks at women as prominent figures in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions because of the type of activities they carry out in the household. Their study, involving 310 Iranian residents, aimed to assess gender-related awareness of climate change issues, and the engagement of citizens in climate change mitigation based on eco-feminist theory and the socio-cultural features of citizen households in Iran.