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Bonn, May 16, 2016 - The integration of gender considerations throughout climate change related actions is crucial for the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of such actions for both developing and developed countries.

That is why the UN climate change secretariat was mandated to organize a workshop on gender-responsive climate policy with a focus on adaptation and capacity-building and training. The workshop will take place during the Bonn climate change conference on 18-19 May 2016.

There is growing evidence and recognition by governments and the private sector that women’s economic empowerment has a multiplier effect and boosts whole economies.

Research shows that it is mainly women who invest their income back into their families and communities, including in health and education. Moreover, when women are able to access entrepreneurial opportunities, they have proven effective at driving sustainable (renewable) energy solutions at the community level.

Ensuring the full and effective participation of women in decision-making processes enables women to act as agents of change beyond the community level and in all circumstances. Climate change related actions subsequently benefit from the insights, knowledge and other resources that women bring to bear in crafting effective and sustainable solutions for adapting to and mitigating climate change impacts.

As a result, the equitable involvement of women and men is a central component of addressing climate change and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Integrating Gender Considerations into Climate Change Actions

Numerous tools and guidelines have been formulated in recent years to systematize methods for identifying the differentiated impacts of climate change on women and men, and for designing effective policies, projects and programmes to enable women and men to more effectively adapt to and mitigate such impacts.

The secretariat has prepared a technical paper based on a scoping study of a range of those tools and guidelines. This article provides an overview of some of the key messages from the technical paper.

Five Steps to Gender Mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming is the process of assessing and addressing the implications of any policy or action on women and men (and girls and boys). So in the context of formulating and implementing policies and actions to address climate change in any given community, gender mainstreaming enables a holistic and comprehensive approach which is responsive to the needs, experiences, issues and priorities of both women and men in that community.

Five steps or actions are identified as common across a range of tools and guidelines for integrating gender considerations, and thereby provide a common gender mainstreaming framework as follows:

  1. Gender analysis;
  • Undertaken at the planning stage, this is an analysis of differences in women’s and men’s participation in social and economic life and the differential impact on their lives of the proposed climate change related policy or action.
  • It should generate the information necessary to formulate and set priorities for a policy or action while identifying areas where there is a need for further study, improved collection of sex-disaggregated data or improved institutional coordination.
  1. Project/programme/policy preparation and design;
  • Based on the gender analysis, it should be possible to design a gender-responsive policy or action by identifying key goals specifically addressing gender and entry points for gender considerations in the general purpose and goal of the policy or action, and in activities, target groups and outputs.
  1. Gender-responsive budgeting;
  • The third step aims to translate gender commitments into budget commitments by applying a ‘gender lens’ to the entire budgeting process of a policy or action so as to identify the different impacts of the budget on men and women and make any necessary adjustments to ensure resources are allocated to achieve equitable outcomes.
  1. Implementation;
  • Ideally, the implementation team should include a gender expert, and an understanding of gender issues should be included as a competency in the selection of team members.
  • At the same time, it may be necessary to build capacities with respect to gender issues in both the partner/stakeholders, as well as in the implementing team.
  1. Monitoring and evaluation
  • The monitoring process is reliant on baseline data and indicators for monitoring how gender-responsive a policy or action is should be established at the design stage.
  • The indicators should be formulated to monitor impacts and progress in relation to the gender goals and targets, and be integrated throughout the overall monitoring plan.

Making it real under the UNFCCC

The technical paper also identifies entry points for integrating gender considerations into climate change related activities under the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement. These include the formulation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – also referred to a countries’ climate action plans - under the Paris Agreement, activities of the Green Climate Fund, Technology Needs Assessments and National Communications. To read: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2016/tp/02.pdf

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