The Africa Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AGWWCC) is a pioneering initiative to integrate gender concerns into the African position on climate change.
A number of African countries have now ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change and are committed to working towards reducing their greenhouse emissions to keep the global temperature rise to below 2°C (3.6°F) by 2100. Numerous African countries have also submitted to UNFCCC their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), outlining several post-2020 climate actions they will undertake within the new Paris Agreement. There is increasing recognition within the continent, that adaptation and mitigation actions, programmes and policies which ignore the gendered impacts of and responses to climate change exacerbate existing gender inequalities while creating new inequalities.
The UNFCCC has made incremental progress in promoting gender balance in negotiating bodies and enhancing women’s participation since Marrakesh 2001. The gender balance issue was raised again in Doha, where the term “gender and climate change" was added to the COP sessions as a standing agenda item. During COP20 in Lima, Parties adopted the Lima Work Programme on Gender (LWPG), a two-year programme which will come to an end during COP22 in Marrakech. The LWPG made a pivotal contribution to enhancing gender equality through its actions to advance gender balance among country representatives in climate change negotiation processes, promote gender-responsive climate policies, encourage training and awareness-raising for all delegates on the issue of gender balance, and provide special sessions for female delegates to build their negotiation and communication skills. However, the target of gender parity among representatives was not reached in either governmental delegations or the UNFCCC committees. We also need to go beyond the numbers!
Now with COP22 approaching and the LWPG coming to an end, countries have need to set up new mechanisms for advancing gender equality and climate change. Gender negotiators from the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) and members of the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC) are strongly pushing for gender equality as one of the guiding norms for adaptation and mitigation actions (including financing) and future decision-making in climate action across the globe. In a recent meeting in Nairobi, the AGN and AWGGCC members highlighted the challenges that implementation of LWPG has faced during its two-year programme. The critical ones are:
- Few African women are participating in the global climate meetings and even fewer African women are appointed to key positions in the various UNFCCC bodies
- There has been very limited incorporation of gender analysis, budgeting, gender indicators, and sex-disaggregated data in the planning and implementation of climate change programmes and projects
- There is inadequate reporting on gender-responsive actions by Parties
The AGN gender negotiators and AWGGCC members made important recommendations for the continuation and advancement of the work of LWPG and specifically called for the following actions to:
- Develop a gender and climate change implementation framework (with clear monitoring indicators supported by better sex-disaggregated data) including a monitoring and evaluation plan for reporting on gender-responsive climate adaptation and mitigations policies, actions and programmes
- Encourage Parties to appoint a focal point for gender and climate change in each country
- Provide programmes for continuous training and capacity building at global, regional, national and sub-national levels on the integration of gender and climate change, targeting male and female negotiators and delegates in the UNFCCC processes
- Ensure adequate and dedicated financial resources for implementing a gender and climate change programmes at global, regional and country levels
- Further ongoing efforts to achieve gender parity in country-level delegations to climate change negotiating mechanisms and UNFCCC bodies
- Convene the gender forum at all meetings of the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI), Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and COP.
Mary Nyasimi, Science Officer, Gender and Social Inclusion Unit of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, Kenya & member of African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC)
Winfred Lichuma, Chairperson, National Gender and Equality Commission, Kenya & member of African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change (AWGGCC)
Photo credits: 1- V. Atakos, CCAFS East Africa; 2- S. Kilungu CCAFS East Africa