New submissions from Parties and Observers to the UNFCCC underline the need for increased focus and capacity building to advance the goal of gender balance and gender-responsive climate change policies.

NEW YORK (September 6, 2013) – September 2nd marked the deadline for Parties and Observers to submit views on ways to advance the goal of gender balance in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The call for submissions followed decision 23/CP18, made at the Climate Change Conference in Doha last year, focusing on “Promoting gender balance and improving the participation of women in UNFCCC negotiations and in the representation of Parties in bodies established pursuant to the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol.

The need to work strategically towards the realization of this decision is illustrated by WEDO’s recent analysis of women’s participation in the UNFCCC process; between 2008 and 2012, the percentage of women participating in national delegations averaged 32 %. Only 19 % of the Heads of Delegations were women. Additionally, women’s participation in the boards and bodies of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol- bodies remained at just below 10%.

WEDO therefore recommends several points of action in our submission to the COP this year, including:

  • A comprehensive framework for action within the UNFCCC to address gender equality across all current and future decisions, including specific indicators and timelines for monitoring and reporting effective implementation;
  • Support for regional workshops on gender equality and climate change that build capacity on gender-sensitive climate policies and contextualize implementation activities;
  • Funding for travel and capacity building to support countries in reaching the goal of gender balance on their national delegations and on boards/bodies. (Read about one such initiative, The Women’s Delegates Fund, administrated by WEDO)

You can read the entire submission from WEDO here. Eight other Observer submissions from intergovernmental organizations and NGOs can be found on this page.

WEDO is pleased to see that the Parties’ commitment to discuss gender, as demonstrated at COP18, is being continued this year with a number of Party gender submissions for COP19. 16 Parties have so far submitted their views and recommendations, including India, Burundi, Tajikistan, Marshall Islands, Ghana, United States of America, Vanuatu, Mozambique, European Union, Kenya, Malawi, Liberia, Jordan, Afghanistan, Sudan and Iceland.

The high number of submissions from African and Asian countries demonstrates a will to increase the traditionally low number of women delegates from these regions (currently 21 % in Africa and the Asia-Pacific compared to 42% from Eastern and Western Europe). Submissions highlight positive trends within these countries, such as the increase of women in the Sudanese delegation to the COP18 in 2012 (12 women and 11 men) or the 2010 Jordan Programme for Mainstreaming Gender in Climate Change Efforts – the first one of its kind in the Arab region.

In their submissions, the countries also define the main challenges they face and what they believe is needed to solve them. Adequate resources for sustained efforts in mainstreaming gender into climate change policy at the national level, as well as support to travel and capacity building of women in UNFCCC delegations are the priorities of many submissions.

If you want to read each Party’s submission, please visit the UNFCCC website.

 “Currently supporting the participation the national delegation remains a profound hurdle as is the case with most LDC, African and developing countries. Furthermore, capacity issues and lack of sufficient understanding and knowledge among relevant and key stakeholders with regards to the gender perspective of climate change [is a challenge]”. Submission from Liberia

“Gender balance in decision‐making bodies is fundamental for successfully designing and implementing gender‐sensitive policies. It is, however, not sufficient as gender expertise and awareness has to follow suit for female and male representatives alike”. Submission from Iceland

“This significant gap between Annex I and Non Annex I countries [on women’s representation in the UNFCCC] is a reflection of the difficulty encountered by women in developing countries to break through strong structural and cultural barriers. However, considering the dual status of women, especially in developing countries, as both one of the most vulnerable groups and key actors of change, it is all the more crucial to address gender imbalances and support women in becoming more fairly and equally part of the UNFCCC negotiations”. Submission from Vanuatu


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