GenderCC Newsletter

December 2011

Dear reader,


Welcome to the December 2011 GenderCC newsletter. This edition focuses on the <link _blank>UNFCCC COP17 in Durban.


We would like to thank everyone who attended COP17 in Durban as part of GenderCC’s delegation. It was great to work with you and see the spirit of GenderCC in action.


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. The GenderCC team in Berlin wishes you a happy festive season and new year! We look forward to working with you all in 2012.

Best regards,

Bettina, Sally and Katrin
for the GenderCC team in Berlin


<link>UNFCCC COP17 in Durban

  • Women and Gender Constituency
  • COP17 outcomes


<link>GenderCC at COP17

  • GenderCC side event
  • Interventions
  • GenderCC exhibit booth
  • Grassroots Women's Conference on Climate Change
  • Grassroots Women at COP17




<link>News links & Downloads




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UNFCCC COP17 in Durban

Women and Gender Constituency - new status and COP17 involvement

Shortly before COP 17, 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 is a testament to the hard work and vision of many people, and reflects the increased recognition that is being given to gender issues within the UNFCCC process and climate policy more generally.


The Constituency was active throughout COP17. The Women and Gender Caucus – involving both Constituency members and others interested in gender – met daily to discuss progress in the negotiations and gender issues and events at the COP. Some caucus members formed working groups to further discuss specific topics, including mitigation, adaptation, finance and feminist approaches. Please find the discussion paper of the feminist approach working group here (espanol).


In the second week of COP17, UN Women kindly hosted an event to celebrate the Constituency's full status. This was a great opportunity for Constituency members to socialise and reflect on the progress made by women and gender groups within the UNFCCC process.


(Photo: GenderCC)

COP17 outcomes

From our point of view, the enthusiastic reaction of some media to the Durban outcome (referring to it as a “breakthrough”) is not warranted.


Yes, a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has been adopted, but it covers only a relatively small fraction of current global emissions, with Canada formally stepping back from the Protocol, the US having never stepped in, and Russia, Japan and Australia rejecting the second commitment period. Moreover, the targets of the remaining 'Kyoto club' are not yet clear and have to be submitted during the coming months.


Yes, an “Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action” has been established to adopt a legal agreement by 2015 at the latest. But hasn’t the AWG-LCA had more or less the same task? And this new broad agreement won’t enter into force before 2020!


Yes, the Green Climate Funds’s basic design has been adopted. But who will fill it?


Yes, ‘gender’ is still mentioned in the AWG-LCA documents, but it has been removed from the text on shared vision.


Ultimately, we consider the Durban outcomes a breakdown, not a breakthrough.

GenderCC at COP17

GenderCC side event

On Thursday 1 December, GenderCC – in cooperation with the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) – hosted a very successful side event at COP17 entitled Gender responsive adaptation and low carbon development – including the role of rural and indigenous women.


Three women gave presentations on behalf of GenderCC. Firstly, 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. Elizabeth spoke particularly about the need for finance on the ground, and highlighted the challenges faced by her co-op as a result of a lack of financial support. 


Secondly, 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. The presentation given by Ulamila and Ruiti can be downloaded here.


In addition, there were two presentations on behalf of APWLD. Vernie Yocogan-Diano presented on rual 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.


The side event was introduced by Dorah Marema of GenderCC and facilitated by Gotelind Alber of GenderCC and Frances Quimpo of APWLD. It was attended by over 100 people, with interactive discussion and questions from the audience.


(Photo: GenderCC)


GenderCC was directly involved in two interventions at COP17.


Firstly, 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. The intervention is available for download here.


Secondly, Eunice Warue of GenderCC made an intervention in the high-level segment on behalf of the Women and Gender Constituency. Through this intervention, the Constituency 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. The intervention is available for download here.


(Photo courtesy of ENB/IISD)

GenderCC exhibition booth

GenderCC had its own exhibit booth in the Durban Exhibition Centre, which was adjacent to the International Convention Centre. The booth was staffed by various GenderCC members and delegates throughout the two week period of the COP. It also displayed a number of GenderCC materials, including GenderCC's new discussion paper on population growth, the statement from the Grassroots Women's Conference on Climate Change, the GenderCC toolkit for policymakers and a range of other publications from partner organisations.


(Photo: GenderCC)

Grassroots Women's Conference on Climate Change

On 24 and 25 November 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).


At the conference, Gotelind Alber of GenderCC gave an initial overview of the UNFCCC process and climate financing. Following this, participants brainstormed their climate change-related experiences and challenges and came up with a number of key issues. Participants then broke into smaller working groups to discuss these issues – and corresponding solutions – in greater detail. A conference dinner was held at the end of day one, at which Dr. Yvette Abrahams – GenderCC Southern Africa board member and Commissioner with the South African Commission for Gender Equality – provided the keynote speech.


In the final session, participants endorsed a statement reflecting the discussions and outcomes from the conference. GenderCC presented the statement at its COP17 side event. The statement raises issues and demands in numerous areas, including:

  • access to funding;
  • good governance, transparency and access to information;
  • education and capacity building;
  • access to productive land and other resources; and
  • participation and inclusion in policy and processes.


The full conference statement can be downloaded <link fileadmin inhalte dokumente unfccc_conferences cop17 statement_from_gendercc_grassroots_conference_held_24-25_november_2011.pdf _blank>here.


(Photo: GenderCC)

Grassroots Women at COP17

by Sally Wilkinson, GenderCC


If you had passed by a particular conference venue in the north-western suburbs of Durban a couple of weeks ago, you may have been struck by the sound of strong voices – women's voices – singing in unison and harmony. But this wasn't choir practice. This was the Grassroots Women's Conference on Climate Change, taking place on 24th and 25th November in Durban.


The women’s singing was a rich and beautiful accompaniment to the dialogue and networking that was generated over the two days – and for those of us at the conference who weren't South Africans, it was a resounding introduction to the cultural heart of the country.


The conference was jointly organised by GenderCC, Women for Climate Justice and the Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA) and brought together women from all over South Africa, as well as countries including Nigeria, Cameroon, Mozambique, Kenya, Uruguay and Pakistan. It was a chance for women to share their challenges and experiences and voice their concerns on issues relating to climate change and capacity building.


The women identified key areas for action, including education and awareness-raising, access to land and resources and transparency in decision-making. At the conclusion of the conference, participants endorsed a statement to be presented at COP 17 encapsulating their climate change demands.


Many of the South African women stayed on for the first week of COP 17 as part of GenderCC's delegation. These women immersed themselves in the world of the international climate change negotiations – experiencing UNFCCC processes first-hand and sharing their knowledge with a wider audience, including as part of the women and gender caucus.


Emily Tjale gave an intervention in the AWG-KP on behalf of GenderCC, urging governments to take the concerns of grassroots communities into account and to secure an ambitious global agreement.


Another of the delegation, Elizabeth Letlhaku, was a presenter at GenderCC's side event, where she talked about the Siphephile Waste Recycling Co-operative, which undertakes projects on recycling, waste management and urban agriculture. Elizabeth gave us an insight into the challenges faced by her co-op – in particular, the urgent need for financial assistance to help the co-op establish itself and keep projects afloat.


Many of the women also took part in events as part of the Rural Women’s Assembly, which overlapped with the first week of COP 17. Their involvement proved to be both capacity building in action and a strong example of how grassroots communities can benefit from participating at an international level.


Women from all over the world are already doing incredible things in their daily lives, and it is critical that their work is recognised and valued. We must support grassroots women and remove financial, cultural and political barriers to enable women to contribute as effectively as possible for the benefit of the climate and their communities.


In listening to the women’s stories throughout COP 17 and hearing the joy and energy in their song, there was no doubt about the transformative potential of these women to play a key role in climate change solutions – both within their communities and on the international stage.


News links & downloads