GenderCC Newsletter

April 2016

Dear readers,


After COP21 and the somewhat hectic end to 2015, here at the GenderCC Secretariat we are quite relieved to be able to get back to what we see as the real work that needs to be done – fighting for gender justice and climate justice where it makes a difference.


This edition will therefore focus on our current activities, including the beginnings of our new project on urban climate policy and gender and the exciting work being done by our affiliated partner organisation, GenderCC Southern Africa. It will feature articles written by our members and two interviews highlighting their views and involvement in climate change-related work, as well as activities and updates from the broader gender and climate change community.


We hope you enjoy this issue!


Kind regards,

Kate, Lawreen and Lisa
For the GenderCC Secretariat team


News from GenderCC

  • Gender into Climate Change Initiative, Johannesburg meeting
  • GenderCC Southern Africa activities
  • Conference in Berlin "Climate needs change: fostering the potential of gender research"
  • Gender and Climate Change Quiz

Gender @ UNFCCC

  • Women's participation at COP21 in Paris – a major drop from previous years
  • An overview of a long history: Gender-related activities at the UNFCCC conferences

Activities of the Gender and Climate Change Community

  • Workshop for inclusive and participatory training in climate change in Solomon Islands
  • Green Women Sweden report on the CSW in New York
  • Berta Cáceres – An obituary for a brave and inspiring activist

News on Gender and Climate Change

  • Key Issues Guide on Gender and Climate Change by Eldis
  • Why women are key to tackling climate change
  • Women Across Frontiers, special edition on "Women and the Environment."
  • Award winning Journalist Stella Paul on COP 21, Climate Change and Gender

Who is Who at GenderCC

  • At the GenderCC Secretariat
  • Interviews with GenderCC members


Calendar of Events



News from GenderCC

Gender into Climate Change Initiative, Johannesburg meeting

What challenges do cities face when it comes to addressing climate change? How do gender dimensions interact with climate challenges to make life more difficult in cities and what can we do about it? What will it take to convince policy makers that providing safe, high quality public transport helps both to lower emissions and improve the quality of life of its citizens, particularly women? These are just some of the questions that were addressed by the participants of the first substantial meeting under the Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiative. The meeting was hosted by GenderCC Southern Africa, one of the key partners in the new project, which is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).


It took place against a backdrop of grassroots activity within the grounds of the GreenHouse People's Environmental Centre in Johannesburg, a green space in the middle of the city used by civil society actors to inspire and support efforts to transform urban environments through ecologically sound and just programmes. Participants included representatives of the GenderCC Secretariat, GenderCC Southern Africa and local environmental and women’s organisations involved in the implementation of the project in the two South African pilot cities, Johannesburg and Tshwane. The focus of the two-day programme was identifying the entry points for gender-responsive urban climate policy and strategising around what can be achieved in the course of the project, which will run for three years.


Photos are available here.

GenderCC Southern Africa activities

In the past months, GenderCCSA has been particularly active in pursuing activities related to climate change, education and gender throughout South Africa.


As an independent organisation affiliated with GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice, GenderCC Southern Africa is a nonprofit organisation with the vision of becoming a platform of powerful women and men who effectively represent the needs and rights of grass roots communities in national, regional and international climate policy arenas. GenderCC's main mission is to build a platform for an informed and resilient movement of Southern African women, which empowers them to understand, make decisions and influence policy and practice regarding climate change, for the benefit of the broader society.


In addition to the Gender into Climate Change Initiative, which will be implemented in the South African cities Johannesburg and Tshwane, Gender CC has a Norwegian Church Aid funded project which includes the building of a biogas digester on location at the GreenHouse People's Environmental Centre in Johannesburg. The biogas digester will serve as a demonstration for how waste can be used to generate energy, which will be used to cook and process herbs for the Serapeng Women's Cooperative. This project is also conducted in Mozambique with a woman's organisation called MUGEDE and in Zimbabwe with an organisation called ZERO (Zimbabwe Environmental Regional Organisation) to run workshops on gender and climate change to grassroots women and influence climate change policies and strategies.


The Sustainable Livelihoods project in South Africa, being implemented by GenderCCSA and Earthlife Africa, targeting mainly disadvantaged women in rural and peri urban areas in Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape who are dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods. Climate change is constantly threatening their food production. The Sustainable Livelihoods project in South Africa has been implemented in 3 provinces in which 7 project sites have had water harvesters, biogas digesters, and solar PV, installed in selected demonstration sites and food gardens established using sustainable farming techniques. The project has incorporated a "learn and build" methodology to provide local women training and the requisite skills to install, maintain, and manage biogas digesters to produce energy for cooking and solar PV Units for lighting in schools, solar powered boreholes in Giyani and Tzaneen, Limpopo, where water availability is a challenge, and the establishment of food gardens with the aim of enhancing skills to enable women to manage and use natural resources to improve resilience to climate change and contribute to sustainable livelihoods.


Last year GenderCCSA also trained grassroots women in the area of Bizana, in the Eastern Cape province, as well as in Gauteng, to work on local climate change adaptation solutions where they made hot bags, processed herbs to make soaps and oils and were involved in permaculture training and beekeeping. Oxfam GB supported GenderCCSA to mobilise women's voices towards UNFCCC COP21 and run grassroots workshops with women in several provinces.


For regular updates, visit GenderCCSA's facebook page.

Take a look at photos from GenderCCSA.

Conference in Berlin "Climate needs change: fostering the potential of gender research"

In April 2015 GenderCC and the Sustainability Research Center (artec) at the University of Bremen launched the project GenderNETCLIM - Competence Network Equitable Opportunities in Climate Change. The project is supported by funding from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). It seeks to contribute to the development of strategies for climate protection and adaptation to climate change which integrate the aim of promoting equitable opportunities and gender equality.


On March 1, 2016 the concluding conference "Climate needs change: fostering the potential of gender research" took place in Berlin, Germany. It brought together 135 participants, demonstrating the high level of interest in working on the nexus of gender equality and climate change in countries in the Global North and in discussing its relevance for climate policy and research in Germany.


The conference presented the project's core messages, which were then discussed by researchers and practitioners in the fields of climate change and gender equality. We considered how climate mitigation and adaptation can become more (gender-)equitable, as well as how findings from Gender Studies research can be made useful for political strategies on climate change and what is needed for stronger action on integrating gender into climate mitigation and adaptation.


For more information on the project and the conference visit our website www.gendernetclim.de (in German only). Click here for photos!

Gender and Climate Change Quiz

On the GenderCC website you'll now find a quiz to test your knowledge on gender and climate change.


In which year and country was the first ever UNFCCC Conference of the Parties held? Do market-based solutions to climate change impact women and men equally? What percentage of food is estimated to be produced by rural women in Africa? 


Take the quiz!

Gender @ UNFCCC

Women's participation at COP21 in Paris - a major drop from previous years

Since the annual Conferences of the Parties started taking place under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, GenderCC has collected and analysed available data in order to ascertain the gender balance of delegates attending the negotiations.


While COP21 in Paris was one of the largest climate conferences ever to have taken place, bringing together 15 000 delegates, the share of women in the national delegations saw a major drop from previous years. Women made up only 18% of delegates and female heads of delegations were at a mere 8% at COP21, as highlighted by the so-called 'family photo'.


These numbers were disappointing considering that the share of women delegates had been continuously increasing in previous years, reaching 34% in 2013. This suggests that existing efforts to increase women's participation and to achieve gender balance have not been entirely unsuccessful, leaving the impression that when the 'real decisions' are on the table, women are again pushed to the margins within government delegations. We would suggest that even though women's equal participation is only one step in ensuring that climate policy-making is becoming more gender-responsive, it is crucial for women’s voices to be heard equally when deciding on the future of our planet and all of human kind and a matter of diversity and fairness.


Take a look at the updated statistics on women's participation at the UNFCCC conferences.

Gender-related activities at the UNFCCC conferences – an overview of a long history

Women's and gender organisations – including the founding members of GenderCC – have been present at international climate conferences and have been working hard to integrate gender equality in debates and decisions on climate change from the very beginning of the UNFCCC process.


On the recently re-launched GenderCC website you can find an overview of gender-related activities for each COP from the very first in 1995 in Berlin right through to COP21 in Paris. We have compiled and updated various resources such as gender-related decisions, interventions, submissions and position papers as well as interesting links for each of the COPs.


Want to know more about the history of gender-related activities at the UNFCCC conferences? Take a look at the updated overview.

Activities of the Gender and Climate Change Community

Workshop for inclusive and participatory training in climate change in Solomon Islands

The UNDP funded SWoK project – enhancing the resilience of communities in Solomon Islands to the adverse effects of climate change in agriculture and food security – has the following objective:

Increasing the level of resilience of community-based food production systems in the agriculture sector in Solomon Islands against hazards and risks related to climate variability and climate change.


A gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) pilot workshop was held in Honiara from 2 – 4 November, 2015 with SWoK associated trainers to test and develop an inclusive training approach. Many trainers in the project have not been taught how to train different social groups or how to factor the unique needs of women into their training and planning. The workshop covered various participatory training techniques to ease knowledge retention and ways to make training material more sensitive to different learning styles and needs. It also explored gender in a few sessions as trainers themselves required more knowledge and time to reflect on what gender meant for building resilient communities. Outputs included a gender and inclusive literature review, a one day gender training guide, inclusive training guidelines, a DVD for making training/workshops more inclusive, a reporting template and gender marker assessment to ensure accountability for inclusive training.


Written by GenderCC member Kristie Drucza, Gender and Social Development
Contact kristie.drucza(at)yahoo.com.au to share resources.

Green Women Sweden report on the CSW in New York

Two representatives of Gröna kvinnor (Green Women) from Sweden, Ewa Larsson and Eva Hallström, were at the Commission on the Status of Women, CSW 60 in United Nations Headquarters in New York from the 13-18th of March.

One notable issue was the significant lack of gender equality in the Climate Finance Mechanisms Boards. There are five different funds and in those boards women are make up 11 to 34 percent of those represented. Green Women took a number of opportunities to argue for the gender gap to be closed.


During one seminar, Ewa Larsson was able to put forward a question to Bridget Burns from the Women's Environment & Development Organization and to Rajib Ghosal from the Green Climate Fund. It related to their attitude to fact that the Fund's Board has only fifteen percent of women. The answer was that they raised this embarrassing issue over the past month and do not yet know how to handle the problem. In conversations with Rajib after the seminar, Green Women proposed introducing quotas to ensure that an even number of men and women are put forward.


After the panel discussions, they talked with parliamentarians from Morocco and Zakia El Midaoui, Minister for international economic affairs. They were open to the idea of working on introducing quotas before COP21 in Marrakech, although it is unclear how exactly this will be done. The Green Women representatives highlighted that this could be linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 5 on Gender Equality, 8 on Decent work and economic growth and 15 on Life and land.


Green Women wish to emphasise that gender equality is a necessity in the changing process to reach the results of COP21, as without gender equality there will be no sustainable development or climate justice. Quotas are a tool to help us on the way there.


Written by GenderCC member Ewa Larsson, president of Gröna kvinnor (Green Women) from Sweden

Berta Cáceres – An obituary for a brave and inspiring activist

On March 3, 2016 the feminist, environmental activist and indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was brutally murdered in her home in Intibucá, Honduras.


Berta Cáceres was a fearless defender of indigenous and human rights and a relentless advocate for environmental protection. She was the co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). In 2015 Berta received the Goldman Environmental Prize for "a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam". The AguaZarca is a gigantic hydroelectric dam project and a joint venture of the Honduran company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA) and international partners. The plan to construct a series of four dams on the Gualcarque River in Honduras is regarded as a breach of international law, as local people have not been consulted and the Lenca people are concerned that the dam would compromise their access to water and food and threaten their traditional way of life. Berta worked together with the community to mount a protest campaign that successfully halted the project in 2013, although constructions were resumed in July of last year.


Prior to the death of Berta Cáceres, four COPINH members had already been murdered in connection with the resistance against AguaZarca. The organisation holds the company DESA responsible for these deaths.


Berta Cáceres' murder is emblematic of the severe risks faced by environmental and women's, indigenous and human rights defenders all over the world. The GenderCC Secretariat and many of our members are deeply shocked and sad about Berta's death and have expressed concern about the hatred and corporate greed that are continuously putting people's lives and livelihoods in danger.

News on Gender and Climate Change

Key Issues Guide on Gender and Climate Change by Eldis

The online information service Eldis, which provides free access to scientific articles on diverse issues of international development, has now taken a more detailed look at the nexus of gender (in)equality and climate change.


They have recently published a key issues guide providing an overview on the topic and on relevant publications.

Why women are key to tackling climate change

In a collection of statements, experts from Africa, Asia and Latin America explain why women are the key to transformation and helping communities become more climate-resilient. This article featured on Climate Home highlights that women are leading actors in enabling change, in educating communities to become more resilient and influencing regional, national and international leaders.

Women Across Frontiers, special edition on "Women and the Environment"

In celebration of Women's History Month, the third edition of the digital publication Women Across Frontiers focuses on the connections between women's equality and the environment. Addressing a wide range of topics, from Boko Haram to David Bowie, as well as the gender-disparate impact of natural disasters in the Philippines and water security in Nepal, the special edition is definitely worth a read.

Gender and migration in the context of climate change

In a recent blog article the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University in Bonn, Germany takes a look on the gender dimensions of climate change induced migration.



The article sheds light on how the experiences of and reasons for migration differ between women and men. It is a great starting point for discussion on migration as an adaptation strategy to climate change and its implications for gender equality.


You can find out more about the nexus of gender, climate change and migration on the GenderCC website.

Award winning Journalist Stella Paul on COP 21, Climate Change and Gender

Following COP 21, the blog Women News Network featured an interview with the journalist Stella Paul on her coverage of the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations in India and her efforts to include the voices of women in discussions around climate change.


Stella Paul has won several awards and honours, including the Asian Environment Journalism Awards 2015, 2014 and 2013, several India media awards, as well as the Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitive Reporting (India) and over a dozen global press fellowships. During her interview she gives a summary of COP21 and the challenge of reporting the issues of climate change through a gender lens, and how she managed to tell the stories of women and girls who face extreme conditions from climate change, disasters, to conflict-induced poverty and exploitation.


To read the interview, click here.

Who is Who at GenderCC

At the GenderCC Secretariat

Lisa Göldner, Student assistant

In January 2016 Lisa officially joined the GenderCC Secretariat team as a student assistant for the projects "Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiative (GUCCI)" and "GenderNETCLIM". Lisa is pursuing a Master's degree in Environmental Policy and Planning and a certificate in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. Lisa has previously worked with our partner organisation LIFE e.V. and has experience working on issues of gender equality and environmental protection, as well as on feminist critiques of economic concepts such as the "Green Economy" and "Green Growth". Her major field of interest is gender equality and social justice in climate governance and she is eager to gain more experience in the work of women and gender organisations within the UNFCCC process.


Lawreen Mkado, Intern

Lawreen is a student from Kenya doing her masters in Geography of Environmental and Risks and Human Security at the United Nations University, Bonn, Germany. Her major focus is on migration and climate change. She is part of the Gender CC Secretariat team for a period of two months and she conducted interviews with GenderCC members for this newsletter.

Interviews with GenderCC members

The GenderCC network is continuously growing and for the first time in this newsletter we would like to take the opportunity to introduce a few of our new members:


Women's Network for Environmental Sustainability (WoNES)


The Women's Network for Environmental Sustainability (WoNES) seeks to involve community women in the management and proper use of environment in relation to climate change in Sierra Leone. WoNES works with women and school nature clubs. It was founded by Nabeela Tunis who we asked to answer the following questions:

When did you first become interested in the issues of gender and climate change?

After it was glaringly evident that women and children, especially the large chunk of them who live in hazardous areas, bear the brunt of natural disasters such as landslides, flooding and coastal erosion which appears to be increasing as the years progress in Sierra Leone. The most recent flooding incident in Bo, Pujehun and the capital city-Freetown during the rains in September 2015 affected over 1000 households and displaced hundreds of women and children.

What is the most important thing you hope to achieve with your work on these issues?

Having more women address climate change issues at all levels. We are working with community women's network and school nature clubs, we established, to build consensus, advocate and change behavioral patterns by seeking community driven inputs to proffer specific solutions to address issues of livelihood which essentially contribute to further depletion of the environment in general. We also engage with the policy makers and other stakeholders to expose these women's concerns/inputs with the expectations that they are translated into policies that will minimise the effects of climate change.


Why did you join GenderCC - Women for Climate Justice?

To network, partner with, share experiences and generally contribute towards advocacy and other global efforts.

Finish this sentence: Climate justice is…

... easing the burdens of climate change by listening to and incorporating the views of women over all.



Olfa Jelassi, Independent member


Olfa Jelassi worked as a group coordinator with the Federation of Young European Greens for a period of two mandates. She later became a member of the Global Justice Working group for one mandate. Despite being a climate change campaigner, Olfa is a speaker and a lecturer on women's public participation, women’s rights, environmental and sustainable development in German universities and events.


When did you first become interested in the issues of gender and climate change?

In 2012, when I was climate change working group coordinator at the federation of young European greens, we organised a seminar for youth, "RIO+20: global solidarity and climate justice". One of our speakers highlighted the link between gender, climate change and environment. Since that time, I became interested and I considered myself feminist before that, so the combination of gender and climate was so interesting for me.


What is the most important thing you hope to achieve with your work on these issues?

Give women voices and access to equal opportunities regarding climate decision making. South / North balance should be considered when it comes to equal access to decision making.


Why did you join GenderCC - Women for Climate Justice?

Because I believe in women's capability to achieve climate justice if only we work all together in solidarity and with different perspectives. So I want to bring new perspectives to the GenderCC vision, and also work and share experience with the great network around the world.


Finish this sentence: Climate justice is…

... not just an option, it's a duty right now for just and sustainable societies. Climate change is no longer just about weather, it's about values and norms. We need to reform our world and protect our planet with justice and equity is its core.



Gotelind Alber and Kate Cahoon (2016): Urbanization and global environmental change: from a gender and equity perspective

GenderCC's Gotelind Alber and Kate Cahoon have contributed a chapter on gender and equity in the context of climate change to "The Routledge Handbook of Urbanization and Global Environmental Change", published by Karen C. Seto, William D. Solecki and Corrie A. Griffith.


Joane Nagel (2016): Gender and climate change: Impacts, Science and Policy

The book looks at gender parity in addressing climate change and on how a male-centric approach to climate change policy too often focuses on treating the symptoms rather than addressing the root causes.


CGIAR (2016): Adaptation measure in agriculture systems - Messages to the SBSTA 44 Agriculture workshops.

The working paper synthesizes knowledge within CGIAR on adaptation measures in agriculture systems for the benefit of parties and observers preparing submissions to the UNFCCC SBSTA.


EUROCLIMA-IICA (2015): Género, Agricultura y Cambio Climático: Estado y perspectivas desde la institucionalidad en Latinoamérica

This study, published in Spanish, addresses gender, agriculture and climate change in Latin America. It provides a greater understanding of the knowledge, attitudes, practices and policies of organizations in Latin America regarding the inclusion of a gender perspective in their efforts to address climate change in the agricultural sector.

Calendar of Events

16 - 19 May 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark: Global Women Deliver Conference, co-organised by Women Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Global Green Grants Funds Women Funds (GGF) and International Network of Women's Funds (INWF).
The conference will be one of the largest gatherings on girls and women’s health and rights in the last decades and one of the first major global conferences following the launch of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The focus of the conference will be more on how to implement the SGDs because of its importance to the girls and women, with a specific focus on health, education, gender equality, environment and economic empowerment.

16 - 26 May 2016, Bonn, Germany: Bonn Climate Change Conference
The forty-fourth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 44) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 44), as well as the first session of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1). An in-session workshop on gender-responsive climate policy with a focus on adaptation and capacity-building is scheduled for May 18 and 19.

8-11 September 2016, Costa do Sauipe resort, Bahia, Brazil: 13th AWID International Forum
Featuring Feminist Futures: Building Collective Power for Rights and Justice.