SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

In Turkana county, women have to walk long distances in search of water. Photo: UN Women/Kennedy Okoth
Photo: UN Women/Kennedy Okoth


  • Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.
  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
  • Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.
  • Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.
  • Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible.

Note: Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

SDG 13: Climate action

Climate change, caused by human activity, poses growing risks to people and the environment. Rising temperatures have made storms and droughts more severe. Catastrophic storms destroy lives and homes. Sea level rise threatens low-lying areas. Women and children bear much of the brunt, being 14 times more likely than men to die during a disaster.

Women and children are 14 times as likely as men to die during a disaster.

Globally, one fourth of all economically active women are engaged in agriculture, where they must contend with climate consequences such as crop failure. Often they have fewer resources, such as irrigation and technology, to cope. By 2050, wheat production may fall by 49 per cent in South Asia and 36 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa. Lower yields mean a drop in income as well as a scarcity of food, with the risk that women and girls will be the first to eat less. Other pressures come from their disproportionate responsibilities for collecting increasingly scarce water and fuel.

Through their experiences and traditional knowledge as stewards of many natural resources, women can offer valuable insights into better managing scarce resources and mitigating climate risks. They also have a right to all capacities needed to adapt to climate shifts, and to participate in decisions with profound implications for people and the planet. 

UN Women acts to combat climate change by advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment in all efforts, including global climate talks, to mitigate and adapt to it. To reduce the number of women impacted by disasters, we promote disaster-risk reduction planning and training to help women become more resilient and informed.


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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) SDG 15: Life on land SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions SDG 14: Life below water SDG 13: Climate action SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities SDG 10: Reduced inequalities SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation SDG 5: Gender equality SDG 4: Quality education SDG 3: Good health and well-being SDG 2: Zero hunger SDG 1: No poverty Women and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
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