IUCN and partners have completed the development of a national gender strategy for Egypt. The “National Strategy for Mainstreaming Gender in Climate Change in Egypt” was completed in Spring, with IUCN in its role as a leading member of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance.
The framework was elaborated, on behalf of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), though a multi-stakeholder process in collaboration with the Centre for Environment and Development for the Arab Region and Europe (CEDARE) and key national institutions in Egypt. Neither the Initial nor the Second National Communications of Egypt to date have incorporated gender considerations. The EEAA is integrating gender as a crosscutting topic in the Third National Communication (TNC) currently under development. The Strategy for Mainstreaming Gender in Climate Change in Egypt provides main input and recommendations for including gender in the TNC.
The general objective of the strategy in Egypt is to mainstream gender considerations into national climate change initiatives and policies, so that both men and women have equal opportunity to understand, participate, and decide effective measures to implement mitigation and adaptation activities and henceforth benefit from various climate change programs and funds, contributing to the national economic, environmental and social sustainability.
The strategy covers the next five years (2011-2016) and elaborates eight priority sectors for implementation of gender mainstreaming activities in Egypt: integrated coastal management, agriculture, water, tourism, health, energy and transport, urbanization, and waste. Furthermore, the strategy develops a roadmap for intergovernmental coordination for mainstreaming of gender in climate change efforts to ensure that gender criteria are incorporated in the development of projects and programs associated with climate change in Egypt.
Global evidence reveals that the impacts of climate change are not gender-neutral; women and men experience climate change differently and their ability to cope with the effects of climate change is not the similar. The UNDP Human Development Report (2007) cautions that gender inequalities intersect with climate risks and vulnerabilities, concluding that climate change is likely to amplify existing patterns of gender disadvantage. Women’s historic disadvantages, their limited access and control over decision-making, environmental and economic resources, and restricted rights, make them more vulnerable to climate change.
The disproportionate burden of climate change on women can be countered by empowerment of women, recognizing them as the important actors of change that they are. Women have important roles as primary land, water, and natural resources managers, and are powerful agents of change in formulating responses to climate change.
Women are part of the solution. Through their leadership, copying strategies on adaptation are developed. Women are also fundamental in mitigation, largely due to their critical role in energy efficiency, their receptiveness to greener sources of energy, as well as their power to change consumption patterns. Women have a key role within the household to change the attitudes and behavior of their families and are responsible for providing food and water.
Thus, developing national and regional implementation strategies that include a gender component and that pay particular attention to the role of women ensures efficiency and effectiveness and enhances implementation considerably. In this way, Egypt has become a leading example in responding to the gender challenges of climate change.