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Considering gender in the fight against climate change is crucial but measuring and analyzing the concrete and practical reasons why this is so and how it can be harnessed to meet the climate challenge through real case studies is essential to implement effective policies and action.

Ambassador Laurence Tubiana, France’s newly-appointed international climate champion, reminded the UN climate change conference in Bonn this week during her opening speech of the important role gender plays. “Parity and gender equality are essential for the efficiency of all actions to fight against climate change. This is why gender equality is quoted in the preamble of the Paris Agreement,” she said.

In other words, women and men need to be equally involved in crafting solutions against climate change and policies and actions need to be gender-responsive in order to yield the highest level of success. A set of case studies built on a science-based approach known as Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) show the clear benefits and advantages that flow from this.

FPAR programmes highlight best practice examples to provide added value to gender sensitive climate policies, combining feminist theory with field experiences. Women in communities particularly affected are empowered to increase their collective influence to shape climate and development policies.

The findings of the studies dovetail with other recent research showing that women are among the strongest leaders to combat the impacts of climate change.

Good Practice Cases in Nepal, Bangladesh and Vietnam

  • A women’s group was formed in Mugu and Mangri villages, in Nepal, where communities were threatened by food shortage due to floods caused by melting ice from the Himalayas. In cooperation with public and private stakeholders and local media, an action programme on the rights of women was set up along with infrastructure to better assure water security. For the 12 members of this FPAR group, it was the first time to be able to talk about climate change – and about their rights.
  • In Bangladesh, a women’s group established 32 hanging vegetable gardens, watered by a rain-water system, as a response to soil erosion. These gardens are resilient to climate change and improve food security and a continuous income for the community.
  • In Vietnam, an FPAR initiative permitted 60 women to join a formerly exclusively male team dealing with disaster prevention and rapid responses on climate-related matters. They founded a sub-group to develop a greener infrastructure. Crops were shifted to watermelons that are more resilient to soil salinity.

UN Convention Looks Unleash Womens' Climate Leadership

Countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Convention are determined to unleash the full potential of women leaders in climate action.

The UNFCCC secretariat has organized a workshop on gender-responsive climate policy with a focus on adaptation and capacity-building and training for delegates on gender issues. The workshop is taking place during the Bonn climate change conference on 18-19 May 2016. [ Link: workshop agenda white pages] 

In addition, the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights will address particular challenges women face with a workshop focusing on empowering local women’s movements, ensuring land rights for women, female capacity building and financing gender-responsive adaptation.

Pic by CIAT (Flickr)

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