Climate change and the environment

To ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment are reflected in global efforts to secure a more sustainable planet, UN Women works for women’s active participation and the inclusion of gender-specific mandates across negotiated outcomes and agreements. To support advocacy, UN Women prepares technical papers backed by research, communicates key gender equality linkages through high-level events and outreach, and supports the engagements and work of gender equality advocates.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which derives directly from the 1992 Earth Summit, together with the Kyoto Protocol, serve to prevent human interference with the environment. With the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2020, Parties to the UNFCCC are negotiating a successor climate agreement (which could take the form of a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force) under the Convention that will be applicable to all Parties. 

Conference of the Parties (COP) 22

With the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) is momentous. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1) will meet for the first time.

For UN Women, the Paris Agreement is historic and an important milestone. It is the first universal climate change agreement to call on Parties to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women when taking actions to address climate change. The Paris Agreement also calls on Parties to implement gender-responsive adaptation and capacity-building actions. These commitments from the Paris Agreement, together with the numerous earlier decisions that call for gender-specific action across the different areas of work of the Parties to the Convention, provide a strong foundation for truly gender-responsive climate actions and centrally embed women’s and girls’ needs, interests and contributions in this work. Read more»

COP 21

The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) took place from 30 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris, France. Parties from around the world gathered and adopted a legally binding and universal climate agreement. Among other things, it seeks to ensure that global temperature is kept below 2°C. UN Women has followed the negotiations closely and provided technical advice to ensure that the climate agreement incorporates language on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Read more»

Gender equality issues in the UNFCCC context

The Framework Convention does not make specific reference to gender or women and girls. The first linkage to gender equality was made only in 2001, attention to gender perspectives and recognition of the relevance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in climate change discussions have grown since the adoption of the Cancun Agreements at COP 16, held in Cancun in December 2010. The Cancun Agreements affirmed that “climate change adaptation should “follow a country-driven, gender-sensitive, participatory and fully transparent approach” and that mitigation “responses to climate change should… take fully into account the consequences for vulnerable groups, in particular women and children.”

At COP 18, the inclusion of gender equality and climate as a standing agenda item by the COP in Decision 23/CP.18 paved the way for the systematic consideration of gender equality by Parties to the UNFCCC. At COP 20, Parties adopted the two-year Lima Work Programme on Gender to achieve gender-responsive climate policy. Together, these commitments provide a solid basis to seize the opportunity at COP 21 for decisive action that promotes gender equality and the empowerment of women in the context of climate change.

In Focus: Women and climate change

A woman cleans up her home in Cite Soleil. Hurricane Gustav passed through Haiti yesterday dumping heavy rains that flooded thousands of homes and left approximately 50 people dead. Photo: UN Photo/Marco Dormino As world leaders attended COP 22 in Morocco, UN Women continued to advocate for inclusive environment which puts gender equality considerations and voice and agency of women at the centre of climate management and investments. Read more

Women and the SDGs

 height= With the new global 2030 roadmap and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by UN Member States, we take a look at how women are affected by each of the 17 proposed goals, as well as how women and girls can—and will—be key to achieving them. Read more

Featured Publication
  • Pacific Gender and Climate Change Toolkit
    This toolkit is designed to support climate change practitioners in the Pacific islands region to integrate gender into their programmes and projects. It is aimed at climate change professionals working in national governments, non-governmental organisations, regional and international organisations who are involved in managing and implementing climate change programmes. More

Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality