Gender in the Global Climate Change Discourse

The first UNFCCC Decision 36/CP.7 on gender was adopted in 2011. Since then, a number of decisions that consider gender have been addressed within the UNFCCC. One such decision, Decision23/CP.18, added gender and climate change as a standing item on the agenda of COP/SBI. Another decision, Decision 18/CP.20, created the Lima Work Program on Gender, advancing gender balance, the promotion of gender sensitivity (viewing women as vulnerable group) and the achievement of gender responsive climate policy in all relevant activities.

The Paris Agreement (PA), which signals the beginning of climate change action across the world, is an impetus to uncover and realize the overarching goal of the global fight against climate change. From a gendered-perspective, it also pushes for the global community to work together to create gender responsive programs and policies in order to save the lives of women, children and other vulnerable groups from extreme weather events. The PA, which has been ratified by 148 parties, mentions gender strongly in the Preamble and the Adaptation and Capacity Building sections, where it specifically calls on countries to adopt gender-responsive approaches. While the PA is a critical step forward in gender mainstreaming, it is by no means an exhaustive effort to address climate change. As the agreement is implemented, and national contributions strengthened, future efforts will benefit from research on gender-responsive approaches to adaptation, mitigation and the additional attention towards ensuring that agricultural technologies are generally accessible to and appropriate for women. Some gender and climate change research opportunities that can contribute towards gender-equitable implementation of the PA include:

  • Critical gendered analysis of National Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans, and NAMAs, especially on the specific actions (programs and polices) countries developed to meet their emissions commitments. Read more: Gender equality in national climate action: planning for gender-responsive nationally determined contributions.
  • Analysis of gender differences in vulnerability to climate change (e.g. through national gendered household surveys) and relevant sex-disaggregated data to monitor change in vulnerability within the context of implementation of adaptation and mitigation activities.
  • Analyse adequacy of existing climate change and agricultural policies and strategies with relation to gender issues.
  • How to establish gender sensitive monitoring framework using sex-disaggregated indicators