Priorities in Paris: IUCN’s plans for supporting gender-responsive action at COP 21

IUCN’s Global Gender Office outlines the progress made so far in recognising the links between gender equality and climate solutions, and outlines its plans for Paris.

Women pastoralists taking part in participatory video training with the IUCN Water Programme in Tanzania

The United Nations climate conference comes at a crucial time - the impacts of climate change are occurring faster than many scientists have projected, as seen in the form of sea level rise, heat waves, and other damaging extreme weather events. The agreement established in Paris will act as an outline and catalyst for future international climate action.

Since the inception of the UN climate change convention (UNFCCC), IUCN has been engaged in climate change policy making to support ambitious and equitable action. Its Global Gender Office (GGO) has provided technical guidance to Parties to the convention for many years to ensure that this action is gender-responsive.

By 2015, more than 50 UNFCCC mandates champion women’s participation and various aspects of gender-responsive planning and programming. The final negotiations toward a new climate change agreement, however, need to reflect this burgeoning global understanding of the links between gender equality and climate solutions, paving the way for a more resilient and sustainable future for the global community.

Now, in the final push to Paris, GGO is preparing for a packed schedule of commitments, support to negotiators, launching new knowledge products, and more. Here are some of our priorities:


We’ve come a long way and there’s still a way to go. But a gender-responsive post-2015 climate change agreement is within our reach. GGO technical staff and advisors will be at COP 21 to help negotiators secure it (read IUCN’s position paper).


In the spirit of marking the progress made in integrating gender equality concerns throughout climate change decision making and initiatives at all levels, GGO is launching a new publication Roots for the Future: the Landscape and Way Forward on Gender and Climate Change. The book, written in collaboration with a wide range of experts and fellow members of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance, will be launched on the UNFCCC’s Gender Day, 8 December. Check out the GGO website and follow us on Twitter for the latest information.

The book launch is part of a special event that celebrates the tremendous innovations and leadership of women, in particular as awardees of the UNFCCC Momentum for Change: Women for Results initiative. This was launched to spotlight solutions to climate change from around the world. GGO’s Lorena Aguilar chairs the Women for Results pillar.

Also on Gender Day, GGO joins with partners to celebrate many examples of progress at the national level. ‘From Global Commitments to Local Action: National Approaches to Mitigating Climate Change and Advancing Gender Equality’ offers high-level government representatives a chance to present their national strategies on gender and climate change, with a particular emphasis on gender-responsive mitigation. ETC/Energia and WOCAN join officials from the Governments of Finland, Peru, Jordan, the US and others for this event.


GGO takes pride in a wide range of partnerships and more informal collaborations. From major bilateral partners to IUCN technical programme offices to grassroots women’s cooperatives, many allies are counted among GGO’s network, and a great variety of those partnerships will be featured in the schedule of events in which GGO is involved.

Climate change is a threat to every one of us, yet no one knows for sure what the severity of its future effects will be. Working together, our advocacy and support, in synergy with similar efforts from many other diverse sectors and actors, can help move governments act boldly and make ambitious commitments – particularly for those who need this action most, like the women on the frontlines of climate change. GGO hopes that these crucial weeks in Paris will help steer the world’s course towards a more secure, equal and sustainable future for all.

GGO will be providing ongoing technical support throughout the COP. For technical guidance on site in Paris, contact Lorena Aguilar, Ana Rojas, Cate Owren and/or Margaux Granat). For more information about GGO, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter.

Work area: 
Climate Change
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