Sunday, May 14, 2017


Development of a Gender Action Plan
The Lima Work Programme on Gender established the need for a Gender Action Plan that would promote development of gender-sensitive climate policy and advance gender balance throughout the UNFCCC.  A two-session workshop was held in Bonn to consider and develop possible elements of the Gender Action Plan. 

The workshop was launched by the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa, Ambassador Khan of Fiji, and the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), Tomasz Chruszczow.  Earlier this week Ms. Espinosa became an International Gender Champion and founded the Bonn-Berlin Chapter of the International Gender Champion Network, the aim of which is to advance executive-level gender equality in institutions; Ms. Espinosa will be inviting senior leaders from the public and private sectors to join her in this initiative. Ambassador Khan discussed the Fijian custom of talanoa, which involves telling stories without concealment, and listening and learning as much as speaking; the process helps to build relationships and enables us to learn from each other. Talanoa can be used to ensure the climate policies developed are sound and just for all by listening to and incorporating diverse knowledge and perspectives. Tomasz Chruszczow echoed this sentiment by calling for universal participation and empowerment, and for the needs and voices of women to be incorporated into every aspect of policy.

Co-facilitator of the workshop, Winfred Lichuma, discussed the plan for the day and for the next workshop. At this session, the overall approach was discussed and the breakout groups for the next session decided. The breakout groups will contribute to a report prepared by the Secretariat that will be published on the UNFCCC website before the closing of the SBI.  More information on and from the workshop can be found here: http://unfccc.int/gender_and_climate_change/items/10289.php

Advance comments on the Gender Action Plan were submitted by nine Parties and eleven Observers.  Comments included the need for:

·       capacity building at the international and national levels to effectively incorporate gender;

·       reporting mechanisms, tools and knowledge sharing for enhancing participation of women;

·       training for delegates;

·       establishment of national gender focal points;

·       enhanced gender budgeting that is integrated and not part of a separate work stream;

·       tools for gender-responsive implementation in NDCs;

·       means to ensure effective participation of local, grassroots and indigenous women; and

·       action plans that are concrete, verifiable, and achievable.

Fleur Newman, the gender focal point for UNFCCC, then discussed the need to integrate gender mandates with existing decisions through UNFCCC.  Because the focus of gender mandates, such as increasing participation of women, is often recurring, it should be determined how associated actions might support multiple decisions and mandates. 

Grassroots comments were then provided.  Sasha Middleton, of the Marine Ecosystems Protected Areas Trust of Antigua and Barbuda, said that involving women in environmental policies is the key to successful implementation, and that grassroots women are often the people most affected, so their opinions and priorities should be consulted. Noreen McAteer of the Native Women’s Association of Canada said that participation needs to be funded or it remains an empty promise.  She also discussed the gap between traditional knowledge and knowledge of decision makers, and the gap between men and women’s knowledge and how important it is to build bridges between these gaps at the earliest stages of climate action. 

Pieter Terpstra of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, discussed an informal consultation on Climate and Gender that was held in The Hague in March 2017, and co-organized with Costa Rica and UN Women.  It was discussed that the Gender Action Plan development process could be informed by other established processes, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and the Green Climate Fund. They suggested a possible format for the Gender Action Plan that would include priority areas, activities, targets and indicators, a timeline, key actors and resources needed.  Priority areas proposed were capacity building and knowledge sharing, gender balance and participation, coherence within UNFCCC and synergy with other UN agencies, gender-responsive implementation, and monitoring and reporting.  These priority areas were agreed upon by the workshop participants and formed the basis for the breakout groups for the second part of the workshop. The summary report generated at the workshop will be posted on the UNFCCC site, presumably with an opportunity for comment before or at the Conference of Parties (COP) in November.

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