Welcome to the November 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.
This edition of the GenderCC newsletter will focus on the events which took place at COP19 from the 11th – 22nd of November in Warsaw, which some have described as “the Gender COP” due to the considerable attention given to gender issues. Is this title warranted? Read more to find out.
We are also happy to inform you that GenderCC has joined the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), after a year of productive collaboration! We look forward to continuing to work together on gender and climate change issues in the future.
For more information and updates, please visit our website 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!
Alexandra and Kate.
From the perspective of the gender and climate change community, COP19 got off to a fairly good start, with the first ever UNFCCC in-session workshop on gender and climate change held on the Tuesday of the first week (described in greater length later in this issue). Plenary Room 2 remained well-filled for the duration of the three hour meeting, despite the plummeting temperatures in the drafty innards of the National Stadium – a sign of the growing interest in gender issues within the negotiation process.
Unfortunately, instead of maintaining this interest continually over the two weeks to come, the majority of the side-events dealing with gender were pushed into a tight program on Gender Day in the second week. Mainly consisting of celebrations and launches, there was little opportunity for engaging in a serious discussion on how to proceed on gender issues, which in the end ran late in the evening at the collaborative side-events organized by GenderCC, LIFE, WEDO, GGCA and others. Indeed, at the ADP Co-Chairs’ Special Event with observers, questions on gender posed by representatives of the Women and Gender Constituency were bluntly ignored by the chairs, despite this also taking place on the much-hyped Gender Day.
While the draft conclusions adopted by the SBI on gender and climate change suggest that progress has been made – at least towards achieving a ‘gender balance’ within the UNFCCC – a more cynical observer of the events at Warsaw might express the concern that this small victory served to draw the attention away from the incremental lack of progress made in other areas, such as in Loss and Damage, or climate finance. A more optimistic assessment, however, would see the growing number of actors engaging with gender issues as a sign of hope: that gender-sensitive climate policy will be placed more firmly on the agenda in Lima, and then in Paris for the 2015 agreement.
On November 19th, the multi-stakeholder magazine Outreach issued a special edition for Gender Day, which featured an article by Gotelind Alber and Conny van Heemstra on “low carbon development from a gender perspective”. It highlights the need for a multi-dimensional approach to low carbon development, with a focus on gender sensitive strategies.
To read the full article, click here.
The development sector online information hub Devex has published an article on gender events at COP19. It features an interview with GenderCC member Maira Zahur, who spoke at a side-event organised by the Indonesian government in the first week aiming to more fully explore the linkages between gender and climate change. An expert on disaster risk reduction, Maira shares her experience of working with the Pakistani government: “in simple terms, I advise them on how to use certain policies on the ground, how they can benefit women, how they should be revised, edited or extended, and how they can be taken to the grassroots level, explaining to people what things are there for their benefit.”
The article also features her full assessment of the negotiations in Warsaw, as well as an interview with a representative of Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF).
To read more, please click here.
Following up from the “Gender Decision” adopted at COP18 in Doha, the first ever in-session UNFCCC workshop on gender was held in Warsaw on Tuesday, 12th of November. Around 200 participants attended the workshop, where both observers and parties proposed future steps to strengthen gender balance, gender-sensitive climate policy and capacity building in the SBI conclusions. Subsequently, members of the Women & Gender Constituency produced a two page document summarising the workshop outcomes and with concrete suggestions as to the way forward. These were taken up by the contact group which was to meet several times in the following days, enabling delegates to agree on draft conclusions after much discussion.
Despite a few setbacks, and a slight weakening of commitments in the final document under the urging of a representative from the United States, supported by Canada, the outcome was seen largely as a success by those involved. GenderCC also welcomes this progress as an important first step, at the same time as recognising that the path towards gender equality in the UNFCCC and related climate policy is likely to be a long one!
“Gender at Work”: GenderCC shared side-event
Now that gender has officially been placed on the UNFCCC agenda, how exactly are we going to ‘walk the talk’ from here? How can we ensure that gender concerns are now going to be taken up in a substantive way, not just by women, but also by men? These were some of the questions addressed at the side-event hosted by LIFE, GGCA, WEDO and GenderCC on Gender Day. The panelists for “Gender at Work: Points and perspectives toward a gender-responsive and transformative climate policy” were invited to discuss the progress made on gender issues in Warsaw. The discussion moderated by Gotelind Alber was divided into two parts, the first providing a de-briefing of the gender workshop from the previous week, and the second focusing on national experiences and engaging men in the gender debate.
The first round of panelists – Anna Sverrisdottir (Iceland), Bridget Burns (WEDO) and Sebastien Duyck (University of Lapland) – provided their insights, in particular on what had been lacking in the discussion on gender and climate change so far. Together they stressed the importance of integrating a gender perspective in all climate-related discussions, rather than letting it be sidelined or dealt with in a ‘token’ manner.
Ben Karmorh (Liberia), Sharmind Neelormi (Gender CC), Ulrike Roehr (LIFE e.V.) and Jorge Villareal (Mexico) made up the second panel, which discussed national level climate policy making, as well as and the at times difficult topic of how to engage men in ‘gender issues’, which have until now largely focused on women.
The discussion which ensued addressed questions of how to communicate gender issues, without engaging stereotypes; ways to move from ‘gender balance’ to gender equality, and the need for civil society efforts to be strengthened in the lead up to COP20 in Peru.
Gender Day was kicked off by a breakfast event hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which was used as an opportunity to launch the new Environmental Gender Index (EGI). The EGI is the first index of its kind, bringing together measurements of gender and environmental governance, rating 72 countries for six different variables, with each one of its indicators covering land tenure issues, forest coverage, anaemia among women, access to credit, access to land, etc. In general the Index was positively received, although gender experts expressed some concerns about sources of data and collection methods as well as the lack of climate change related variables.
The UNFCCC Secretariat side-event “Gender and Climate Change: Vision 50/50” also met with some criticism, despite the general atmosphere of celebration and the evident enthusiasm of Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. There were concerns that the attention given to gender issues was merely symbolic, as no efforts were made to engage participants in an actual dialogue on the work which is still to be done. The gender workshop and its conclusions were not even mentioned. GenderCC’s partner organisation LIFE has described the event as mere ‘show’ – perhaps well-meant, but a complete failure in terms of content.
This theme of celebration was continued with the Momentum for Change 2013 Lighthouse Activities, which presented a number of projects under the Women for Results pillar. A side-event held by Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN) launched the “Woman’s Carbon Standard: Supporting Women’s Empowerment through Climate Mitigation Projects”.
Following the GenderCC shared side-event mentioned above, WEDO, WECF and GGCA wrapped up the day with their “Fireside chat - Climate Finance and Gender Equality: Lessons for Sustainable Development”, which enabled a sharing of experiences by women leaders, who use gender mainstreaming and gender sensitive programming to address environment and energy issues in their countries.
Two interventions were held on behalf of Women and Gender Constituency:
At the opening session of the ADP on November 12th, Gertrude Kenyangi from Support for Women in Agriculture and Environment urged parties make progress toward an international agreement that maximizes our response to climate change, at the same time as being inclusive to woman and girls, and safeguarding human rights.
During the SBI Closing Session the 16th of November Ulrike Röhr from LIFE welcomed the progress that has been made on gender, but pushed for stronger climate outcomes, because: “Gender cannot be mainstreamed into a zero outcome!”
Download the full interventions.
On Thursday, November 21 – the (planned) second last day of the COP – over 80 environmental and development organizations, as well as trade unions and social movement groups left the UN climate conference, with a united statement: “Polluters talk – We walk”. This message of the action, which ran under the hashtag #volveremos, was clear: we will not tolerate this lack of progress, and we will be back with even louder voices in Lima for COP20.
GenderCC issued a press statement, expressing disappointment with the current negotiation process and explaining the motivation for members of the Women and Gender Constituency to join the walk out.
The full statement can be found here.
Trish Glazebrook, GenderCC board member (USA): "I had several expectations from the COP, such as to connect strongly with the women's caucus, meeting with the GenderCC and get some business done, but I was also hoping that the high level would try to make some progress.
Now I feel like we are actually going backwards and that the gender decision has been turned into a joke, which doesn't actually have anything to do with the concrete agreement that we are supposed to be ironing out. I also think Paris is becoming an excuse to not actually do something now. The system is desperately broken and my only comfort is that there are states, municipalities and different organisations that are working really hard on this."
Nicky Broeckhoven, GenderCC member (Belgium): "I was already pretty disappointed with the process after being at the intersessionals in Bonn but the reason for me to come to Warsaw was more seeing what civil society organisations are doing and how they putting pressure on governments and delegates. I also feel that from the side events there is a lot of things going on at the national at the local level and that the things that are going on there are much more important than the negotiations. I will keep following the process, because I think it is really important for women and gender organisations to be involved."
Kuini Rabo, SPC, GenderCC project partner (Fiji): "It was nice to be here but I actually prefer working locally because I really see the benefits for the community. Capacity building, as through the ICI project (International Climate Initiative, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Protection and Nuclear Safety), is really important as it gives people training and tools to adapt to the influence of climate change, in a positive way, together with applying peoples traditional knowledge."
Yvette Abrahams, GenderCC member (South Africa): "This is my third COP and somehow it is a very disappointing process, with parties playing power games in the face of severe planetary disturbance. On the other hand this is the only global process we have, so I continually come to the COP being conflicted. The thing I always like about it is that civil society organisations from different localities are able to come together. The fact that something someone is doing in Berlin matters to what another one does in Fiji, and also matters to what I am doing in Cape Town. That side of COP is never disappointing! The official talks this time appear to be more than the ordinary ineffective COP and all I can say is if this is the best we can do in the global process, then there is every reason to quietly sit and cry.”
Patricia Bohland, former intern (Germany): "I think think process really has to more strongly engage the civil society because in Copenhagen there was really the expectation that there will be an agreement and change but nothing has really progressed. We have to get activated again and engage and put pressure on governments.”
Naima von Ritter Figueres (2013)
Emissions continue to rise and, with them, extreme impacts of climate change are increasing. These impacts that go beyond adaptive capacity are known as ‘loss and damage’. This study, titled Loss and Damage Negotiation at the UNFCCC: An Era of Liability and Compensation, applies a gender approach to this thematic area, underlining that due to gender inequalities, men and women are affected by, and respond to, climate change in different ways, and therefore that a gender-sensitive approach is needed in activities that address climate change.
The study can be accessed here.
By the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy (ENERGIA), published by the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) and the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) and supported by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) (2013):
Over the past few years, the UNFCCC has adopted gender-sensitive decisions on nearly every thematic area of the climate change negotiations.
While there has been exceptional progress on the understanding of the intersection of gender equality issues and climate change adaptation, less is understood about the connections between gender equality and climate change mitigation.
This paper presents three case studies and an overview highlighting the best practices from mitigation projects implemented in Colombia, Mali and Nepal, and makes recommendations for next steps to improve research on the issue and develop gender-sensitive tools geared to climate finance and mitigation experts and practitioners.
Please find the full paper here.
“Gender and Global Ecological Crisis” for International Feminist Journal of Politics (IFjP) Annual Conference, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA May 9-11th, 2014 by Jade Sasser (Department of Women’s Studies, Loyola Marymount University)
Potential topics include: critical gender, race, and class analysis of ecological crisis discourses and narratives; new framings of population-environment crisis; gendered dimensions of natural disasters and climate change; gender, consumption, and technology; gender, ecological crisis, and international development, and more. The submission deadline is the 31st of January, 2014
For more information, please visit the event homepage.