Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance
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UNFCCC COP18 Gender Decision

Started by: GGCA Secretariat


The final COP18 Gender Decision “Promoting gender balance and improving the participation of women in UNFCCC negotiations and in the representation of Parties in bodies established pursuant to the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol” reaffirms a COP decision taken over a decade ago.  Despite the COP7 decision, participation of women in UNFCCC bodies and as Party delegates overall has remained low.  The COP18 Gender Decision adds new provisions to increase women’s participation, striving toward gender balance on delegations, and giving more attention and resources toward the goal of gender balance.

Reasons for working in this topic, project or business:

Parties and civil society should seize the COP18 Gender Decision as a chance to

-          Spark meaningful action to strengthen gender balance in participation and leadership in UNFCCC processes and programmes, emphasizing women’s right to participate in decision-making processes, as a key step towards gender equality

-          Gather lessons learned on current state of gender balance in UNFCCC participation

-          Support and build capacity of Parties and institutions seeking progress on gender equality

-          Augment research on the benefits of a gender-sensitive approach to climate policy and practice

-          Define quantifiable targets and timelines for gender balance in the UNFCCC process

Root causes of the problems in this field and main barriers:

One of the main barriers to success inmplementing the UNFCCC COP18 Gender Decision is the challenge of raising awareness of the 2013 opportunities to address and make progress on gender equality and a gender-sensitive approach in climate change practice and policy.  In addition to raising awareness of the key entry points such as the September gender submmissions and the COP19 (November) gender workshop, building capacity on the importance of gender equality in comtributing to a successful response to climate change is fundamental.

What is needed to overcome barriers to implement solutions:

Strategic and coordinated outreach and support to government Parties to the UNFCCC climate change negotiations is needed to ensure governments use the opportunity of the COP18 Gender Decision to share experiences and questions in working towards gender balance in the UNFCCC and ultimiately towards gender equality in climate policy and practice.

Specific needs and/or support requests:

Wew would invite participants in thsi on-line dialogue to contribute to the international outreach effort by connecting with your national or regional climate representatives and encouraging them to implement the COP18 Gender Decision by preparing a September gender submission and participating in the November gender workshop.

Suggested best global solution for this topic:

A key national solution will be working with national governments to identify the challenges they face in working towards gender balance in the international climate change negotiations, and collaobrating on steps forward. 

Best practices and policies:

One priority of the 2013 implementation process will be to identify and gather examples of best practices and policies from national governments.


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Nathalie Eddy posted

Working with the Collective Gender Decision Working Group, which brings together gender & climate leaders from the UNFCCC Women and Gender Caucus, GGCA, Gendercc, WECF (just to name a few), we were recently invited to contribute directly to the process of preparing guidance for the Gender submissions (due from governments on Sept 2) and for the COP19 Gender Workshop in November in Warsaw.

We'd be very interested in your input on the following questions: 1. Concretely, how do we ensure gender balance promotes gender equality? 2. What information would you like to see from parties regarding how they address gender balance? 3. What should be the objective of the COP19 Gender Workshop?

Thanks in advance for considering these questions and sharing your input!

Lauren Kaufmann posted

Parties’ recognition of the importance of gender balance has already helped to increase women’s participation at all levels in this process with women’s participation on national delegations reaching an all time high of 33% in 2012. However, as reported in WEDO’s recent analysis of women’s participation in the process from 2008-2012, women continue to be underrepresented in many delegations, particularly with respect to higher levels of leadership positions in the negotiations, and, in countries most vulnerable to climate impacts. As highlighted through this research and our work on the Women Delegates Fund (WDF), WEDO believes that the equitable participation of women in climate change decision making can provide the crosscutting experiences necessary for climate change policies that embody social equity and reflect and serve the needs of society. However, beyond the understanding of either women’s vulnerabilities to or potential leadership in mitigating and adapting to climate change, equity in decision making comes down to a simple notion: If it weren’t for underlying institutional and societal inequities, why wouldn’t half the population be represented in equal numbers in decision-making? It’s understanding these underlying inequities which frame WEDO’s approach to climate change policy at all levels, and how we are working to frame this recent decision at the UNFCCC — gender balance as part of larger goal towards achieving gender equality and an overall socially just, ambitious and effective climate agreement. Gender balance, has always been an important indicator of gender equality in these international processes, but achieving gender equality is about much more than just bringing women to the table. It’s understanding the social and institutional disparities, in work, income, education, health, etc. which result in gender inequality and developing tools, strategies and policies to transform these norms. A truly inclusive and participatory processes require mechanisms whereby multiple diverse perspectives can be represented- not only balanced by sex but also by multiple intersecting identities and perspectives including age, ethnicity, region, class- as well as in creating space for those with diverse expertise, from scientific and technical to human rights and social justice. To make progress on this, since Doha, WEDO has been working with leading experts on gender and climate change, including from the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), as well as with our colleagues in the Women and Gender Constituency at the UNFCCC, to provide a vision for how this Decision can work towards a more cohesive framework for gender-responsive climate policy.

Nathalie Eddy posted

We are now ONE week away from the September 2 deadline for UNFCCC Gender submissions!

The Collective WG on the COP18 Gender Decision has reached out individually to over 50 countries, urging their contribution of gender submissions, and offering support as requested.

What are other countries doing & saying? • Iceland submission is posted – Iceland’s gender submission addresses practice, challenges and needs encountered in working towards gender equality and gender balance - http://unfccc.int/documentation/submissions_from_parties/items/5916.php

• Report from African regional meeting on gender & climate change (COMESA) - http://www.wedo.org/themes/sustainable-development-themes/climatechange/report-from-african-regional-meeting-on-gender-and-climate-change

NEW resource – Gender Equality and The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: A Compilation of Decision Text - completed by WEDO in partnership with the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) and the UNFCCC Secretariat. http://www.wedo.org/wp-content/uploads/united-nations-web.pdf

Gender submissions are invited from Parties AND Observers. Short and sweet is perfect! Following Iceland’s lead, Observers are encouraged to consider their practical experiences, challenges encountered and remaining needs in working towards greater gender equality and gender balance. All submissions should be sent directly to secretariat@unfccc.int by September 2.

Thus far, 7 GGCA members and GGCA friends are planning to prepare submissions (IUCN, MRFCJ, UN Women, UNDP, WEDO, LIFE & South Centre).

Looking forward to considering the gender submissions as part of our dialogue at the summit in September!