NEW YORK (May 6, 2013)— by Rachel Harris

A year filled with superstorms, devastating floods and extreme droughts, 2012 left many people around the world wondering how extreme climate change impacts will have to be in order for policy and decision makers to make firm commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and finance measures to increase resilience to climate change. This year brings with it uncertainty of what climatic phenomena is to come but also opportunity to aggressively address climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, programs and practices.

In the international policy world, the bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have experienced many changes [see WEDO’s report from COP18 for more information]. Ad-hoc working groups on the Kyoto Protocol (KP) and Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) have closed, yielding a second—albeit poorly attended—commitment period of the KP as well as efforts to implement the mechanisms (technology and finance), frameworks (adaptation), work programmes (loss and damage, finance, adaptation, education) and forums (capacity building, response measures) decided by parties in the LCA. Parties of the UNFCCC are now negotiating a new agreement on climate change under the Ad-hoc Working Group of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP); this agreement is to be decided in 2015 and put into force by 2020. However, at WEDO, we continue to question how these, largely political, changes will impact the lives of women, men and children around the world.

Last week marked the start of the climate negotiations in 2013, and the second session of the ADP. Currently, the approach of the ADP is to understand the views of Parties and Observers on a new climate agreement across two workstreams, one focused on the vision shared among Parties for a new agreement on climate change and the second on enhancing ambition in climate change, especially for mitigation, but also for adaptation, technology, finance and capacity building.

During this meeting, the Women and Gender Constituency, of which WEDO is a founding member, stated that despite women’s participation and gender equality being addressed in several thematic areas of the climate change negotiations, it has been done in an ad hoc manner…therefore hindering the translation of gender sensitive language into actual implementation (paraphrased). The 18th Conference of Parties adopted a decision on gender balance, enhancing a previous decision, by making it a goal toward achieving gender-sensitive climate policy. The ADP presents an opportunity to go beyond gender balance in the climate change negotiations by taking a systematic approach to addressing gender and social equality as central to the 2015 agreement. Such centrality should inspire innovation, which so far has not been sparked in the international climate change negotiations.

Therefore, in 2013, WEDO is not only monitoring the implementation of the various mechanisms, frameworks, work programmes and forums but also putting a high emphasis and focus on the ADP negotiations in an effort to promote a transformative agreement that inspires a gender-sensitive and socially central paradigm shift in our collective approach to the ever-dynamic climate change phenomenon.

Key Resources

For a full report on the recent second meeting of the ADP in Bonn, held April 29th to May 3rd, visit:

Women and Gender Constituency Statements at ADP2

Statement– May 2nd (Sabine Bock/WECF)
“We caution against developing a 2015 agreement that ignores the transformational changes required to address the failure of the current development model rooted in high-emission, high risk and unsustainable technologies, production and consumption patterns exacerbating gender, race and class inequities and leading us to a changed and heated world, where it will be difficult to survive.”

Final Statement– May 2nd (Ulrike Roehr/ LIFE)
“In order to properly include questions of intra-national equity – I would prefer to talk about justice –, it might be useful to have a closer look why they are relevant for the international process: Social and gender issues are impacting the UNFCCC process, for example by power relations, governance and public participation, acceptance of policies and so on, which influence national positions. And on the other hand, social and gender justice is impacted by the UNFCCC process, as policies have an influence on social issues, for example, mechanisms can increase or decrease social divide.”

Full list of 2013 Submissions by WEDO:

Parties and NGOs are regularly invited to draft submissions on multiple agenda items to provide views, perspectives and examples of best practice on different aspects of the negotiations.

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Women and girls around the world are demanding and creating systemic change and a sustainable future for all. We need collective power to attain a just future – we need you.

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