First-ever Gender Action Plan to support gender-responsive climate action adopted 

Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Member States at the annual Conference of the Parties (COP23), convening from 6 – 17 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany, have today adopted a new roadmap to incorporate gender equality and women’s empowerment in climate change discourse and actions.

The creation of a “Gender Action Plan” was agreed upon by the Parties at last year’s conference (COP22), to bolster the role of women in climate action. Women commonly face higher risks in responding to natural hazards and greater burden from the impacts of climate change. Although they have intimate local knowledge and are managers of common natural resources, they are often left out of the picture when decisions on climate action are made.

The aim of the Gender Action Plan is to ensure that women can influence climate change decisions, and that women and men are represented equally in all aspects of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as a way to increase its effectiveness.

As the agreement on the Gender Action Plan was finalized, President of COP23 and Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, welcomed the result and said to the UN: “This recognizes the role of women in climate action.”

“It is about integration of gender into all the work around climate policy – both nationally and internationally,” added Nazhat Shameen Khan, the Chief Negotiator for the COP 23 Presidency, also according to the UN

The Gender Action Plan sets out, in five priority areas, the activities that will help achieve this objective. These range from increasing knowledge and capacities of women and men through workshops and information exchanges, so that they can systematically integrate gender considerations in all areas of their work, to pursuing the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in national delegations, including women from grassroots organizations, local and indigenous peoples and women from Small Island Developing States

Other priority areas refer to the need to increase integration of the gender considerations—such as addressing women’s specific vulnerability to natural disasters as well as understanding women’s role in agriculture and food production, and supporting women entrepreneurs in the energy sector—into the areas of work of all Parties to the Convention; and to increase climate-related financial resources that integrate gender priorities and reflect the needs of women and girls. Lastly, the Gender Action Plan seeks to improve tracking of the implementation of the gender-related decisions.

UN Women provided technical support to the Parties throughout the process of developing the Gender Action Plan. The organization’s Deputy Executive Director, Yannick Glemarec, welcomed the decision, saying: “The Gender Action Plan is the culmination of two decades of efforts to integrate gender perspectives in climate negotiations. It will help practitioners and stakeholders leverage co-benefits between gender equality and climate action to achieve sustainable development”.

The first report to evaluate the progress on the implementation of the Gender Action Plan will be presented in November 2019.

Related Link

In Focus: Climate action by, and for, women