Welcome to the September 2013 GenderCC newsletter, aiming 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.
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, Ellen and Alexandra
Activities of the Gender and Climate Change Community
News on Gender and Climate Change
As part of the ICI project, the Global Learning Platform is an interactive knowledge platform for the gender, climate change and environment community and practitioners. Since the beginning of August a new module on gender sensitive adaptation is active and open to those interested in discussing different aspects of gender and adaptation. We welcome people to register, provide feedback and actively engage in the discussions by sharing their views and expertise. By the end of August the toolkit “Mainstreaming Gender in Energy & Climate Change Community Based Adaptation Projects”, developed by our partner the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, will be launched on this platform.
In the first week of September Gotelind Alber will share her draft paper on the concept of Low Carbon Development from a gender perspective. Those interested in joining the discussion on what kind of criteria are necessary for gender sensitive Low Carbon Development should contact the GenderCC secretariat or simply visit the Global Learning Platform, register and join in on the discussion.
You can access the platform at comm.gendercc.net.
Our project partner from the Pacific, Kuini Rabo at the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, is implementing the ICI project. After the participation in GenderCC’s Side Event held at the SB Session in Bonn, project activities continued in the region. In June the toolkit of how to integrate gender in energy and climate change projects or policies was peer reviewed at a workshop addressing and sustaining adaptation to climate change in rural communities through gender inclusive sustainable development. The toolkit will be launched towards mid-September on the Global Learning Platform. In September the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle will visit our project partners to report for the Global Ideas on the project. Unfortunately, Australia’s new immigration policy led to protest in refugee camps in Nauru, causing some political unrest. Our partner therefore decided to postpone the planned workshop with parliamentarians on gender and climate change.
Currently our partners in Bangladesh at the Center for Global Change are experiencing tremendous difficulties in carrying out project activities. Bangladesh is passing through a severe political crisis after a war crime tribunal sentenced some political leaders to prison and death sentences. Protest, violent clashes between the police and political party members and strikes have delayed some project activities. Despite these sad developments, our partners have been able to respond in a flexible manner to these problems, rescheduling meetings and events in order to carry out the project, such as including gender in university curricula, as well as the pilot adaptation activities for women in urban areas and the South Western region of Bangladesh and the sensitisation workshops with youth groups. The election in December may bring stability to the country, yet no one knows what might come.
GenderCC has recently been accredited to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) governing body which has recently been renamed as the United Nations Environment Assembly.
UNEP, established in 1972, describes itself as the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. This body acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society. GenderCC looks forward to working more actively in this field.
A reminder that GenderCC is now using social media! Thank-you to those who have already started following. Please join us to keep updated on our activities in the lead up to Warsaw on Facebook and Twitter.
As we reported already, at COP18 (Doha, Qatar) Parties agreed to Decision 23/CP.18: "Promoting gender balance and improving the participation of women in UNFCCC negotiations and in the representation of Parties in bodies established pursuant to the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol." The decision requests Parties and observer organizations to submit “views on options and ways to advance the goal of […] gender balance in bodies established pursuant to the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, in order to improve women’s participation and inform more effective climate change policy that addresses the needs of women and men equally.”
Iceland's gender submission is already accessible at the UNFCCC website. It is addressing practice, challenges and needs encountered in working towards greater gender equality and gender balance.
WEDO in partnership with the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) as well as the UNFCCC Secretariat released a publication, Gender Equality and The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: A Compilation of Decision Text, which serves as a tool to remind all stakeholders of the strong foundation upon which to continue working towards truly sustainable development.
The women and gender community implemented a working group drafting a set of questions for the submissions and suggestions for chairs and panelists for the gender workshop, which the decision mandates the UNFCCC Secretariat to convene during COP19 in Warsaw in order to consider gender balance, capacity building, and gender-sensitive climate policy. The workshop will take place on November 11 or 12, 2013.
Additionally, a 'Gender Day' will take place during COP 19 on November 19, 2013. GenderCC will merge forces with LIFE to convene a side event on that day, aiming to review the results of the workshop and discuss further steps, like the need to encourage men in engaging in gender equality.
We are looking forward to seeing many of you in Warsaw. Please be aware that deadline of registration is September 16, 2013.
At the recent SB sessions in Bonn, GenderCC’s partner Organisation LIFE co-hosted a side event with GGCA and WEDO titled “Gender innovations: strategies to address “gender” in climate change policy”. The side event started a discussion about the different gender perceptions in climate change discourses, in order to raise awareness about these perceptions, to overcome gender stereotypes and to speed up the implementation of gender responsive climate change policy. Click here to download the presentations.
In addition, GenderCC held a side event the following day on “The Social Dimensions of Climate Change Mitigation - Tackling the Fairness Gap”. The discussion which followed considered the possibility of incorporating the human rights frameworks more directly in climate negotiations; the role of women and business initiatives in sustainable development; and whether gender-sensitive climate projects could also change power relations.
There were also several interventions held during the negotiations and you can find the full summary of GenderCC’s activities <link policy conferences linklist>here.
Since the last COP in Doha, there have been a number of new accreditations to the Women and Gender Constituency. These include: Centre for 21st Century Issues (Nigeria), Women Environmental Programme (Nigeria), and Watershed Organisation Trust (India).
In addition, GenderCC board member Gotelind Alber has resigned as focal point, after several years of dedicated and enthusiastic work in this position. The procedures to find a replacement are already underway.
For a smooth transition and a balanced representation, constituency members have agreed to elect two co-focal points, one from the Global North, and one from the Global South. Nominations for the first co-focal point have already been submitted, and the election will take place soon.
The call for nominations for a co-focal point from an organisation/person situated in the Global South is still open. Please be aware the organisations the nominated person is affiliated with has to be accredited as observer organisation and member of the Women and Gender constituency.
GenderCC member Karabi Baruah, gender and development and HIV specialist, has produced a paper addressing the imperative for gender responsive rights-based responses in the Asia- Pacific region. It reflects on the need to take into account the immense contribution of women in sustaining the region’s food security when designing adaptation policies and strategies. It argues that to leave women out of the climate change adaptation and mitigation decision making process perils the human security of the region and is tantamount to failure in addressing the social consequences of climate change. The paper calls for a gender responsive, human rights based approach, including intersectional analysis to research to support sustainable solutions and effective response to climate change.
The Organisation of Women Scientists from the Developing World (OWSDW) is planning a conference in October 2013 on "Climate change and its impacts on Africa. The role of science and engineering for combat". Gender is one of the planned topics. For more information visit the homepage.
The Gender and Water Alliance is looking for an experienced Programme Specialist for a full-time position in Dhaka. The application deadline is on the 06 of September, 2013 and you can find the full information here.
On July 10th UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka from South Africa as the new Executive Director of UN Women. GenderCC congratulate her on this appointment and hopes that she will strengthen women’s rights by placing a gender perspective firmly on the climate change agenda. Click here to download the letter of welcome drafted by GenderCC Southern Africa.
In Nepal, women’s' contribution to agriculture is as much as 60 percent. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) South Asia is interested in linking women farmers’ voices and experiences to research and policymaking. This focus on women is not only because they are a more vulnerable group but also because their support is crucial to making agriculture climate resilient.
To make this link the team recently organised a ‘Training-of-trainers’ workshop for women cooperative leaders on gender aspects within climate change, agriculture and food security issues. Organised by the Youth and Small Entrepreneur Self-Employment Fund (YSEF), Ministry of Finance, Government of Nepal and CCAFS South Asia, the aim of the workshop was to train and empower these women to be train others in their own districts. The hope is for them to reach 100 other women individually, and educate them on the complicated connections that exist between climate change and food security, and how men and women might be impacted differently. To find out more, click here.
In addition, the CCAFS has also produced a training-of-trainers manual which provides users with the information, tools and training skills required to deliver Capacity Enhancement Workshops (CEWs) to rural women farmers and rural elected women leaders to raise their awareness of the causes and effects of climate change, especially on agriculture and food security; help empower them to adapt successfully to projected changes by being aware of available government plans and programmes and field-based adaptation models by non-government actors; make them aware of gender-differentiated impacts and the different roles that men and women need to play in adapting to these impacts; and equip them to periodically evaluate the results of their training.
The manual can be accessed here.
Persistent droughts have forced Masai cattle herds to the brink of starvation. The challenge for the future will be to tackle climate change through a combination of education and adaptation.
Beatrice Lukelesia, a program officer from Masai Women for Education & Environment Betterment, says that everyone in the region is feeling the effects of climate change – including the women. "Their husbands go in search of better pastures and water for their animals," Lukelesia said. "The animals are the only source of food, and they go with the men. Climate change contributes to the feminization of poverty among the Masai." Beatrice Lukelesia and her colleagues work in Masai villages, teaching them skills to help them cope with climate change. They have taught Masai women how to convert cow dung into biofuel, so they can be self-sufficient and aren't dependent on logging for fuel. To find out more, read the full article.
There has been a further small survey on American men and women about their opinions about the global warming that shows that there are gender differences in the way that this phenomenon is perceived.
According to the results, women are much more likely to think global warming is man-made and that it is something to be concerned about, while men are much more likely to believe that it is happening naturally. These findings are in accordance with research conducted in Europe; however, as usual, a critical perspective on the reasons for such gendered differences is lacking. Rather than celebrating women for their 'caring' capacities, GenderCC would suggest encouraging environmental responsibility to be shared by all, rather than burdening women with additional 'care work' as a result of constructed gendered roles.
Dr. Trish Glazebrook was educated in Canada and received her PhD in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. She has taught at the University of Toronto, Colgate University, Moravian College, Syracuse University, Leipzig University, and Dalhousie University. She is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies at the University of North Texas. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Center for Research in Environment and Sustainable Development in Lagos, Nigeria, where she is also a Research Associate at Osun State University. She is on the editorial boards of Meeting Rivers, published by Pipal Tree, Fireflies Intercultural Centre, in Dinnepalya, India, New Heidegger Studies, published by Rowman & Littlefield International, and Purlieu, published at the University of North Texas. She has been involved in Gender CC since 2010, and became a Board member in 2012.
Dr. Glazebrook’s academic research is in environmental philosophy, gender studies, science and technology studies, and international development studies. Her first book, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Science, won a Choice Academic Title Award, and she has since edited a volume of essays on Heidegger on Science. She also recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Inflexions, published by Concordia University in Canada, on the architecture of Arakawa and Madeline Gins. She has published over thirty journal articles and book chapters on topics ranging from quantum physics to oil in the Niger Delta and in the Sudan, and presented her research at more than ninety venues on five continents. She has written critical analyses of scientific method and experiment, the mathematization of nature, the role of education in colonial practice, and alternative conceptions of sustainable technologies. For the past seven years, she has been researching climate change impacts on women subsistence farmers in Ghana, with particular attention to the challenge of integrating women farmers’ needs into climate adaptation policy and processes. This research has prompted further assessment of the growing threat to food security that climate change poses in Africa more broadly.
When not busy with research, Dr. Glazebrook plays djembe and other Ghanaian drums, watches European football, cooks food from all over the world, and enjoys spending time with her ten-year-old son.
From the 5th of August the International Secretariat of GenderCC in Berlin has a new intern, Alexandra Arntsen. She is a student at Lund´s University in Sweden, where she is doing her Bachelor in Economics with her main focus on and environmental economics. Beside her studies she has been engaged in and working with different organisations, for example, administrating an alternative currency at a cultural centre. Her project during the internship will be to see if there is a possibility to develop a sister organisation in Sweden, self-sufficient but connected to GenderCC as well as research the possibility to widen the European network.
by Kate Cahoon
Climate change might at times strike us as an issue which is too highly politicized – political tensions often result in a stalemate in international negotiations and stand in the way of serious commitments, despite the widely recognised need to take urgent action. Yet, the newly released publication ‘Interpretive Approaches to Global Climate Governance: (De)constructing the Greenhouse’ claims that global climate governance is in fact being depoliticized, namely through processes of technocratisation, economisation and securitisation of climate change. The editors Chris Methmann, Delf Rothe, and Benjamin Stephan seek to take readers on an ‘interpretive’ journey, providing different perspectives on the present state of global climate governance and highlighting the contingency of ‘seemingly given and fixed framings’.
They argue that most of the plots on the stories told about climate change are highly depoliticized in that they paint a superficial and limited picture, one which downplays the structural entanglement of climate change with the basic structures of our lives, instead narrowing it down to a technical problem, and economic risk, or a security threat. The contributions address issues such as how the securitisation of climate change conceals its socio-economic roots; how highly political decisions and value judgements are couched in the terms of science; how the re-framing of climate change as a matter of economic calculation and investment narrows the scope of political action; and how the prevailing concentration on technical solutions to climate change turns it into a mere administrative issue to be tackled by experts.
One of the more challenging aspects for the reader is grasping the notion of depoliticisation as it relates to all of these different issues. Philip Bedall’s chapter “‘Climate justice’, ‘green economy’ or ‘a one planet lifestyle’: hegemonic narratives in transnational NGOs and social movements” stands out this sense, showing how even NGOs and social movements often end up complicit in this process of depoliticisation, by drawing on narratives which reproduce the established (neoliberal) hegemony. According to this analysis, GenderCC was grouped with other organisations demanding ‘a comprehensive transformation’ of the social as well is the ecological sphere, yet it could be distinguished from the others through a focus on androcentrism – or male centeredness. Unfortunately, this was one of the only mentions of gender throughout the book, apart from a cursory mention of ecofeminism. This seems at somewhat at odds with the stated need to connect climate change to other grievances and social problems, in order to expose counter discourses of global warming that are not yet reflected in the official and institutionalised climate governance. We would argue that a ‘repoliticisation’ requires attention to such factors as gender, which are deeply rooted in social and political structures and clearly a site of discursive struggle.
Chris Methmann, Delf Rothe, Benjmain Stephan (eds) (2013), Interpretative Approaches to Global Climate Governance: (De)constructing the Greenhouse. Routledge.
Margaret Alston (2013): Environmental Social Work: Accounting for Gender in Climate Disasters. An article studying the environment social workers can face as a consequence of climate events and global warming and the significance of gender as a key factor to consider in their work.
Heather Boetto & Jennifer McKinnon (2013): Rural Women and Climate Change: A Gender-inclusive Perspective. A qualitative research study that explores the impact of climate change on rural women in Australia with data through interviews with women in close contact to women's services. It postulates that the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly relevant to the social work profession and that women are at risk of further disadvantage unless collective action is taken.