Signs of progress on women’s role in tackling climate change

To mark International Women’s Day, IUCN is celebrating the progress made in recognising the role of women in national and regional climate change agendas.

Women and children from the Samburu tribe in Samburu village, Kenya

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment is considering a training school for women to take a greater role in emissions-reducing public transport. Tanzania’s Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children has created guidelines for empowering women in climate change initiatives. And the ministerial environmental council of the League of Arab States has put gender equality on its agenda.

In an unprecedented trend among governments that have established a Climate Change Gender Action Plan (ccGAP), developing countries are making great strides in including women in national climate change agendas.

“After 20 years of gender equality being absent from the climate change agenda, we are turning a corner toward more inclusive and effective climate change responses, and we want the world to know that women’s empowerment in that context is no longer elusive,” says IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre.

Lorena Aguilar, head of the IUCN Global Gender Office, explains, “The ccGAPs represent a country’s intention to respond to the needs of the often invisible ‘other half’ of the population in the context of climate change. This is just the beginning, but it is a very bright beginning.”

The ccGAPs are putting women on the climate change agenda by influencing national and international policy and building country capacity. Some examples:

Influencing national policy: Women’s leadership and gender equality are a new element of national climate change policy. In Nepal, actions from the ccGAP are set to be included in the government’s new three-year plan. In Mozambique, the ccGAP led to the inclusion of a gender perspective in the country’s Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (SCPR) under the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds. And in Tanzania, the ccGAP has become part of the country’s comprehensive law reform programme that requires climate change to be considered by key sectors.

Influencing international policy: The ccGAPs have led countries to change the way they report to the international climate change negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In Liberia, Tanzania, Jordan, and Egypt, governments made a new commitment to feature gender equality in their next National Communication to the UNFCCC.

Building country capacity: The ccGAPs have inspired countries to build government and constituency capacity to understand the gender aspects of climate change. In Jordan, Nepal, and Tanzania, ministries are using the ccGAPs to develop training materials and raise awareness.

These signs of progress are featured in an IUCN publication The Art of Implementation: Gender Strategies Transforming National and Regional Climate Change Decision Making.

The IUCN Global Gender Office spearheaded the development of the ccGAPs with governments in Mozambique, Jordan, Egypt, Tanzania, Nepal, Haiti, Panama, Costa Rica, Liberia, the Arab States and the Central American region. In each country, representatives of sectors as diverse as agriculture, energy, health, waste management, and tourism contributed to the plans. Similar processes are now underway in other countries, including Bangladesh, where the ccGAP is intended to implement the gender provisions of the country’s existing climate change strategy.

For more information contact: Julian Orozco [email protected] 

Work area: 
Global Policy
Social Policy
Environmental Law
South America
North America
East and Southern Africa
West and Central Africa
West Asia
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