The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was held from 30 November to 11 December 2015 in Paris, France. COP 21 was significant and much anticipated as Parties adopted a legally binding and universal climate agreement to ensure that global temperature rise is kept below 2°C.
UN Women closely followed the negotiations—carried out through the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP)—to ensure that the climate agreement incorporated language on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Through consistent advocacy and substantive and technical support to Parties at their request, the draft agreement and the decision to give effect to the agreement have gender-specific references in the Preamble, Purpose, Adaptation, Finance and Capacity-building sections. To ensure that these gains are secured through Paris and as part of its outreach to Parties and other actors, UN Women prepared and disseminated its proposals to ensure that key gender-specific references were retained and/or strengthened in the climate agreement and the accompanying decision to implement the agreement and the decision governing Parties’ actions from 2015 to 2020. The new climate agreement will take effect in 2020.
As part of its substantive contribution to the implementation of the Lima Work Programme on Gender and the on-going climate negotiations, UN Women, together with the UNFCCC Secretariat and UN DESA organized an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) in Bonn, Germany, in October 2015 on “Implementing gender-responsive climate action in the context of sustainable development”. Their discussions and recommendations—which focused on gender mainstreaming in UNFCCC mechanisms and processes, in particular on technology and finance—provided substantive input to the negotiating session in October that followed. The recommendations of the EGM were featured at COP 21 at a lunchtime event on 8 December, UNFCCC’s “Gender Day”.