Today’s Gender Day at the Twenty-Second Conference of Parties in Marrakech (COP22) will highlight the significant progress made on gender issues within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), along with the need to address ongoing gender gaps and ensure that political commitments translate into progress towards gender-responsive climate solutions on the ground. During the last week at COP22, Parties have begun to negotiate the implementation of the new global agreement to tackle climate change, adopted in Paris in 2015. The Paris Agreement contains language on gender equality and recognises Parties’ responsibility to respect and promote their human rights obligations through climate change action, specifically calling for gender-responsive adaptation measures and capacity building activities. By the end of the two weeks conference, there will have been a number of opportunities for this commitment to gender-responsive climate action to be concretised.
The last time Parties came together in Marrakesh in 2001 (COP7), they made the first significant step towards addressing the representation and participation in bodies established under the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. While little headway was made towards achieving this goal in the subsequent decade, recent COPs have proven more promising on the gender front, with a follow-up decision on gender balance and women’s participation in Doha in 2012 and gender mandates established by adopted decisions in nearly every UNFCCC thematic area since 2010.
At COP22, Parties were asked to consider the continuation of the Lima Work Programme on Gender – a two year work programme on gender launched at COP20. Last week, delegates met to discuss this proposal and subsequently agreed to extend the scope of the Lima Work Programme, drawing on recommendations made by Parties and Observers in their submissions to the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) in September. This had been one of the key demands of the Women and Gender Constituency and other civil society groups in the lead up to Marrakech, who have advocated for a clear plan of action on gender within the UNFCCC and financial support for the activities under the Work Programme.
The implementation of gender-responsive climate policy will be the focus of a number of activities on Gender Day, including the Gender Just Solutions Award Ceremony, co-hosted by the Women and Gender Constituency. Within the UNFCCC’s official Gender Day programme, a high-level event will explore how tools and methods can support governments as they implement their NDCs, NAPs and other climate policies to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’ in the transition to a low-carbon, climate resilient and more equitable future. While Party delegates will largely focus on national commitments, part of the session will address implementation at the local level, with Gotelind Alber from GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice presenting new findings on gender-responsive urban climate strategies. This is pertinent, given that cities are increasingly recognised as a key site for climate action. Multi-level efforts to address climate change have been in the spotlight at COP22, particularly in the context of the Global Climate Action Agenda.
The nexus between urban climate policy and gender is the focus of the Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiative (GUCCI), a project launched in 2015 as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). It seeks to build capacity at local level and develop gender-responsive policy recommendations with the aim of strengthening citizens’ capacity to become involved in local government planning processes and implementation, and to enhance the effectiveness, inclusiveness and acceptance of mitigation and adaptation policies. The project is conducted by GenderCC in collaboration with partner organisations in India, South Africa and Indonesia; so far, it has resulted in a new methodology for Gender Assessment and Methodology of Adaptation and Mitigation (GAMMA), which will guide the development of concrete campaigns or projects on gender-responsive urban climate policies in several pilot cities.