WARSAW, POLAND (November 18, 2013)- Over the course of the first week of the UNFCCC COP19, key issues for WEDO were actively addressed and negotiated under the Conference of Parties (COP), the Meeting of Parties (CMP), the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), and not least, the 39th sessions of the subsidiary bodies on implementation and scientific and technological advice (SBI and SBSTA). The SBs that opened on Monday, November 11th, and closed on Saturday, November 16th, covered many of WEDO’s priority issues listed for COP19, which WEDO monitored closely, including adaptation (NAPs, the Adaptation Fund, the Adaptation Committee), loss and damage, mitigation (REDD+, the CDM), agriculture, capacity building, Article 6, and gender and climate change.
Strengthening women’s leadership and effective participation through capacity building and strong networks
For gender advocates, the gender and climate change agenda item was one of the main focus areas during the week. Following a well-attended, 3-hour workshop on Tuesday, November 12th, which covered gender balance, gender-sensitive climate policy and capacity building, delegates began to negotiate the SBI conclusions. In partnership with several organizations, WEDO contributed to a 2 page document summarizing the workshop outcomes into several main elements that could be considered for the draft conclusions. After 2 open meetings and 2 other informal, closed meetings, delegates were able to agree on draft conclusions, which urge Parties to have ongoing discussions on gender and climate change as well as to discuss in future meetings how to enhance the gender and climate change agenda. WEDO and the GGCA Secretariat also contributed two ECO articles, one toannounce the workshop and another to urge Parties to progress on the gender and climate change issue at COP19. Throughout week 1, gender and climate change was given an unprecedented space in the UNFCCC, one that gender advocates have aspired to for several years. The Women and Gender Constituency intervened at the closing of SBI, encouraging Parties to continue progress on gender and climate change and to inspire progress in the overall negotiations.
The gender and climate change item will, hopefully, have impacts on the many other moving pieces and thematic areas of the climate change negotiations, as many of those items are based on agreed gender-sensitive decisions.
Ensuring gender sensitive loss and damage outcomes
However, other items on the agendas did not go as smoothly. The discussion on Loss and Damage has been forwarded to COP19 for further discussion. Polarized views on whether or not to establish an international mechanism (developed countries do not want one but developing countries do) have kept negotiations stagnant on this issue, the most contentious one at COP19. Week 2 of COP19 will likely have many discussions on an agreement to have an international mechanism on loss and damage.
Integrating a gender-sensitive approach and policies into decisions on agriculture and climate change
The agriculture discussions at COP19 did not result in conclusions or a decision. Instead, further discussions will be held to better understand how Parties should approach the agriculture sector in the UNFCCC. The WEDO team attended several side events on agriculture to understand the various approaches that Parties, UN agencies and civil society are suggesting for working on agriculture in climate change. As key stakeholders in agriculture, women should be participating in and a part of these discussions both nationally and internationally. However, the approach so far has been primarily scientific with little on social aspects of the issue. In further discussions the WEDO team will continue to advocate that social issues, including gender equality, be brought onto the agriculture agenda.
Ensuring a human rights-based approach to ADP, and integrating gender and social considerations into outcomes
The first week of COP19 also marked the start of discussions of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). At the opening session on Tuesday, November 12, the Women and Gender Constituency delivered a statement on human rights in the ADP. The new co-chairs of the ADP have requested Parties to be more concrete with their recommendations, in the hopes beginning a text in 2014; however, even such a timeline is up for debate in the discussions. WEDO is working with partners to push for a focus on safe and sustainable technologies as Parties plan new and innovative ways to reduce emissions through renewable energy and energy efficiency. At Transport Day on Sunday, November 17th, WEDO discussed its recent research with the GGCA and ENERGIA, pointing to examples of mitigation in the transport sector and gender equality measures that have been and can be integrated into that work. There will be opportunities to give more input on concrete submissions toward scaling up ambition in the coming months.
Other issues: Human rights, Safeguards and Mitigation (CDM and REDD+)
Parties initiated a discussion on the review of the CDM’s modalities and procedures. In WEDO’s recent mitigation finance and gender research, 2 of the case studies review CDM projects. WEDO presented that research, as well as its work on gender-sensitive safeguards in REDD+, during a side event discussing human rights and the CDM. Further discussions on CDM will be held at SBI 40, and Parties and observer organizations are invited to submit their views by April 30, 2014, on suggested changes to the modalities and procedures for the CDM. The submission is an opportunity to contribute ideas on how to improve the CDM with a human-rights based approach; WEDO is planning to collaborate with a human rights working group on this issue.
What’s on the agenda for week 2?
ADP discussions will continue during the 2nd week, and several issues under the COP, including discussions on finance, will also continue until the conclusion of COP19 on Friday, November 22, 2013. On Gender Day (Tuesday, November 19th) WEDO will co-host two side events and partner organizations are also hosting several events throughout the day. WEDO has also contributed articles to OUTREACH, which will have its gender edition on November 19th. Gender Day is an opportunity to connect the gender and climate change events and progress from week 1 to week 2, when the ministers and other high level persons are arriving for the high level segment of COP19. WEDO looks forward to continuing its work during the 2nd week, monitoring the negotiations and advocating for strong, gender-sensitive outcomes at COP19.