We all know that there are a lot of gaps – from emissions and ambition to finance and capacity – but we’re sorry to inform you that there is one you may have overlooked: gender.
Gender is one of the foremost social categories in determining roles, experiences and perspectives in society. Gender gaps exist in leadership, decision-making, health, education, wages, and access to resources and finance. If climate policies and solutions are to meet the needs of women and men, girls and boys, equally – and be effective – policy-makers must understand these gendered dynamics.
A priority for the COP20 President, as laid out in his opening statement, is to build on progress in advancing gender responsive climate policy. Under the SBI, delegates are negotiating a new framework for harmonising gender-related mandates, which exist throughout climate policy, including in mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation. A decision to establish such a framework would provide a platform to define actions, guidance and instruments, as well as steps and benchmarks, to support Parties in implementing the mandates (that they have given themselves!).
Similar “Gender Action Plans” exist under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, providing both precedents and examples for what Parties can make happen here in Lima.
It’s simple: failing to implement solutions that take into account the critical role of women and the importance of gender equality in tackling climate change undermines climate action. That begs the question: why is it not happening? Why are some Parties (you know who you are) struggling to agree on a roadmap to support implementation of their own decisions? Why are duty bearers – governments, institutions, and policy-makers – reluctant to include gender equality in climate change policies? After 20 years, it’s time for climate policy to no longer exacerbate inequalities, but to address the rights, needs, and perspectives of all individuals. It’s the only way to ensure just and sustainable solutions to this planetary emergency.
Originally published in ECO by Climate Action Network, December 5, 2014