LIMA, PERU (December 5, 2014) — One of WEDO’s priorities heading into COP20 was to see the adoption of a new decision on gender equality under the COP Standing Agenda Item on Gender and Climate Change (SBI 16). The Standing Agenda item is a result of the Decision 23/CP.18 in Doha, which focused on enhancing gender balance and women’s participation in the UNFCCC delegations, boards and bodies.

Since that decision, which included mandates for submissions and a workshop at COP19 in Warsaw, Parties have worked alongside civil society to outline the elements of a new decision to take forward action and implementation, not simply on gender balance in the negotiations, but on gender equality and gender-responsive climate policy.

This work led to the launch of the ‘Lima Work Programme on Gender‘, which aims to advance implementation of gender-responsive climate policies and mandates across all areas of the negotiations. The decision establishes a two year work programme that includes:

  • a review of implementation of all gender-related mandates by the UNFCCC Secretariat;
  • training and awareness raising for delegates on gender-responsive climate policy;
  • training and capacity building for women delegates;
  • two in-session workshops on gender (in relation to mitigation, technology, adaptation & capacity building) at SBI 42&44;
  • submissions by Parties on these workshops;
  • a technical paper by the Secretariat on guidelines for implementing gender considerations in climate change activities; and
  • appointing a senior focal point on gender at the UNFCCC Secretariat.
  • It is a welcome step in moving beyond words on paper to supporting implementation of gender-responsive climate policies. However, it was not adopted without challenges, with governments trading language on “gender equality” for “gender balance.”

    In the end, Parties backed down on the language in order to ensure an outcome under the agenda item. Mexico stood out as a sole leader to negotiate for gender equality language to the very end, insisting they would not back down from already agreed language in the UNFCCC decisions. The decision, Lima Work Programme on Gender, does now contain two references to gender equality in mandates and language in the preamble.

    WEDO and its partners will work to ensure progress is achieved with this new decision, and WEDO is committed to a strong outcome on gender equality in the new climate agreement. However, as stated in the release of the Women and Gender Constituency, we insist that a fundamental framework of a strong “rights-based” agreement must be the goal for COP 21 to be held in Paris, France, in 2015. Without gender equality, women’s rights, indigenous peoples’ rights and climate justice – including financing for loss and damage, a rapid transition to safe and renewable energies, massive commitment and emissions reductions by the developed world, and full participation of those most impacted – the programme of work to be done will be incubated and launched within an empty shell and will do little to support the lives of millions or protect the precious ecosystems upon which we depend for our survival.

    join the movement

    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.