Streamlining Climate Change and Gender

Gender Equality

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The current lack of attention to gender issues in climate policy is partly a reflection of the relative absence of social, behavioral and justice issues in general in the climate dialogue. Without a gender-sensitive method of analysis, it is impossible to determine the full set of causes and potential effects of climate change and variability, and it will be impossible to design effective measures for mitigation and adaptation[20]. There is a need to act now, to put actions to commitments, to hold the scientific community and governments accountable for the deployment of gender mainstreaming as a crucial key to unlocking the talents and capacity of men and women to fully exploit opportunities for adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development.  

Recommendations on Policy Development and Governing Institutions

To bring the full benefits of gender mainstreaming to fruition there is a need to refocus the discourse on climate change and variability to include a human rights perspective. Integrating a rights-based approach to adaptation recognizes and takes into account women and men's specific needs and gendered components of human rights. Gender must be mainstreamed as a "cross-cutting" issue and a key consideration in climate change and variability policy. Otherwise "the quality of adaptive measures will be limited and successful implementation will remain doubtful."[21]  

A Bali position paper of the international network, gender-cc women for climate justice, identified seven steps towards a gender just climate regime:

1.        Recognize the vital urgency of gender equality in climate change and variability issues and demonstrate leadership through top-level support for gender mainstreaming.

2.        Ensure that women participate in all decisions related to climate change and variability at all levels, in order to build a truly global and effective alliance for adaptation, mitigation and climate justice informed by a gender perspective.

3.        Ensure gender mainstreaming from UNFCCC to IPCC to national and local institutions dealing with climate change and variability including installing a 'gender watch system' within UNFCCC and related processes.

4.        Collect and publish gender-disaggregated data taken at every level and wherever possible.

5.        Undertake gender analysis of all climate change policies, programs, projects and budgets from research programs to mitigation measures and adaptation plans.

6.        Agree measurable gender related targets and create practical tools to help integrate gender equality in adaptation and mitigation.

7.        Develop gender-sensitive indicators to aid in national governments' local and international information sharing.

Gender-sensitive methods of problem analysis, situation description and impact assessment need to be developed for climate change and variability contexts. Instruments such as gender impact assessment can already be applied and further developed in the process of application. For all instruments and measures, in local areas and regions as well as at the national and international level, impact analysis should be conducted regarding the situation of women and men and how gender justice and adaptation or mitigation measures can be mutually reinforcing.   

Recommendations for Funding Mechanisms & Technology Transfer

Since women, both in developing and developed countries, are disproportionately affected by poverty, have less income and possess less wealth, they are more heavily impacted by higher energy prices. Most of the mechanisms to mitigate climate change and variability (e.g. CDM, REDD, Emissions Trading, voluntary carbon offsetting schemes, etc) are market-based. Women and men don't have equal access to property, money, funds and markets, and women are less likely to benefit from CDM and JI projects. Creating markets geared towards GHG reduction tend to neglect other factors that constitute sustainable development, such as social justice, gender equity, or poverty reduction. The benefits of current market-based financing mechanisms exclude the majority of the world's poor, including women, and non-commercial sectors and applications. When analyzing REDD, CIFOR[22] concludes that the most effective payments are not targeting actors like women and Indigenous Peoples who traditionally conserve forests, but actors who are responsible for significant deforestation and can be convinced through a relatively minor compensation to refrain from further deforestation. In terms of technology transfer:  the needs of women and men regarding technologies often differ; priorities are closely related to gender roles in society. Since women often lack access to technologies and information or training about appropriate technologies and their use, their voices regarding technology needs are often overlooked.

1.      Develop gender analysis of market-based approaches aiming to examine effects on individuals and local communities, and promote the expansion of non-market based financing mechanisms for those populations lacking access to market schemes. (Position paper financing, CIFOR)

2.      Increase equitable access of poor women and men to climate change and variability market-based approaches such as the Clean Development Mechanism.

3.      Facilitate the exchange of technologies that offer ecologically sustainable and socially equitable solutions for women and men in developing countries.

4.      Use Technology Exchange as both a new term and a new strategy of co-operation: technology transfer often implies one-way-transfer from industrialized to developing countries; women have a broad body of knowledge, capacities and experiences in technologies and their use, which are appropriate to their particular situations, and which is often not recognized or used.

Recommendations on Biofuels[23]:

A gendered perspective in the analysis of biofuels is necessary to understand men and women's energy use and needs and to ensure biofuel initiatives fulfill, in an equitable manner, the community's energy needs. Energy services should respond not only to which kind of energy is best for men and women users, but also enable women to choose which option better suits their needs, context and possibilities. 

1.      Mainstreaming gender into planning and policy-making will ensure concerns and needs of both men and women are taken into account.

2.      Biofuel production and use should maintain and enhance sustainability, and avoid negative impacts on the health and socio-economic status of women and other marginalized groups.

3.      Public and private energy expenditure and investment programs with gender-sensitive budgets will ensure equitable targeting of policies and resources.

4.      Most poor women in developing countries cannot afford to pay for energy services and poor households spend 1528% of their income on energy, while 2 billion people lack access to electricity. Empowering women to provide energy is a key policy for sustainable development. Extension services are needed, to promote sustainable planting and processing, and access to fiscal instruments such as micro-insurance and loans for purchasing seeds, plants, oil presses and generators, etc.

5.      Women need training programs to enter the energy service sector, and to participate in decision-making, scientific development, technical implementation and practical use of biofuels and other alternative energy systems.