Substantial progress needed
This conference is an important one: not only must negotiators make substantial progress toward establishing the framework for the post-2015 climate change agreement, but they must continue to implement commitments already made – including on gender.
IUCN experts will be pushing the message that Nature provides many of the solutions in tackling climate change and adapting to its impacts.
While some countries and communities around the world are making progress in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change, the global community would do well to make far greater use of the solutions that nature offers us.
Sustainably managing ecosystems such as forests, wetlands and coastal areas can simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and help women and men adapt to the impacts that are being felt across the world.
Promoting nature-based solutions
IUCN encourages the use of practical steps that will allow increased adoption of nature-based solutions. Governments would be well served to promote the inclusion of ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) in national policies and take actions to implement these methods on the ground.
IUCN also promotes implementation of an environmentally sound and equitable forest-climate mechanism. REDD+ — Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation is a tool that both conserves forests’ natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
REDD+ can help reduce the impacts of climate change but to be effective, implementation needs to consider issues such as benefit sharing, governance and the participation of women and indigenous peoples.
Ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation coupled with disaster risk reduction strategies could positively contribute towards reducing the impact of climate change resulting in loss and damage, especially from slow-onset events.
Over the last five years, especially, as negotiators worked via the comprehensive Bali Action Plan, support from countries representing every region of the world ensured that ‘gender considerations’ were included in nearly every key aspect of climate change through recent COP outcomes, from adaptation and REDD+ safeguards, to gender balance on Boards such as the Green Climate Fund’s, to knowledge sharing, education and capacity building.
Progress in understanding the intrinsic nature of advancing gender equality as a prerequisite to sustainable development – and the transformative co-benefits each can provide to the other – has been profound, and yet ensuring that gender equality issues are rooted in the architecture for the post-2015 climate change regime is critical for COP19, as well as COP20.
Beyond global negotiations, interpreting those international mandates for national implementation will be crucial; fortunately, the IUCN Global Gender Office is poised to support countries through this process, as it has begun to do, in more than a dozen countries already. Countries will also know how they score on implementation when IUCN launches at COP19 its newest innovation: the first-ever Environment and Gender Index (EGI).