WARSAW (November 21, 2013)– At COP19, WEDO was proud to partner with WECF (Women in Europe for a Common Future) in the implementation of the Empower Women-Benefit (for) All (EWA) programme, which aims to advance women’s economic and political leadership and participation at multiple levels (from local to international) via capacity building, knowledge exchange and advocacy, in order to strengthen policies and legal frameworks for gender equality and women’s access to resources. WEDO supports the EWA program by linking women to the international policy and advocacy spheres, including at the UNFCCC and the CSW.
During COP19, WEDO facilitated a team of women’s rights and environment activists, including EWA supported participants Carmen Capriles, Reacción Climática (Bolivia) and Ketevan Kiria, Friends of the Earth (Georgia), in advocating for gender-responsive climate policies and programming. Work among these partners included a strong focus on a human rights perspective within the process and, in particular, integrating gender equality into NAMAs and low-carbon development plans, as well as the collection of sex-disaggregated data to inform progress and planning. On Sunday, November 10th, WEDO Program Director Eleanor Blomstrom led a capacity building session on the links between the climate change and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) process- and how as advocates we can work to address these processes in a coherent way.
On Tuesday, November 12th, bringing COP 19 Gender Day to a close, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) and the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) hosted a Fireside Chat, officially titled “Climate Finance and Gender Equality: Lessons for Sustainable Development.” The event provided first-hand experience from women leaders using gender mainstreaming and gender sensitive programming to address environment and energy issues in their countries. EWA participant Keti Kiria presented her experience in Georgia on gender-sensitive training programs for solar collectors – a microscale CDM Gold Standard Project that they are working to develop as a nationally appropriate mitigation action (NAMA).
Overall, there was good progress on recognition of gender equality in UNFCCC programs and policies. COP19 hosted the first ever in-session workshop on gender and climate change issues, resulting in draft conclusions which aim to build upon progress made with the decision on gender balance from COP18. The draft conclusions state that work under this item will continue at COP20 in Lima, Peru, and include, in an annex, Party proposals on several important actions for governments, the UNFCCC Secretariat and civil society. Actions include: the establishment of a two-year work programme on gender balance under the Convention; workshops to further substantiate a gender lens across mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance; capacity building for female delegates organized by the UNFCCC secretariat; and the monitoring of gender balance, gender budgeting and gender sensitive climate policies and actions by Parties.
However, there is still much work to be done to re-frame thinking about mitigation actions to include scaling up currently existing, safe, sustainable and community owned renewable energies- which was the focus of the joint side event highlighted above. The Conclusions from the negotiations on a new climate agreement refer to scaling up areas of high mitigation potential, focusing on the implementation of policies, practices and technologies that are substantial, scalable and replicable, with no mention of these technologies being safe and sustainable with social and gender considerations.
As was mentioned by the Women and Gender Constituency in a meeting with the ADP co-Chairs, actions to-date that aim for cost-effectiveness have not delivered what was expected and have not taken into account human rights. Actions must take into account bottom-up approaches, of proven small-scale initiatives that also benefit people and communities, respect rights, reduce current and future emissions and achieve sustainable development. Another critical requirement for cost-effective action is that it includes and respects social and environmental safeguards. We need to work to bring these solutions to the UNFCCC process and support transformational thinking around mitigation solutions for a safe and healthy planet.