WARSAW, POLAND (November 20, 2013) – As part of Gender Day at COP19 on November 19th, WEDO together with Gender CC, GGCA and LIFE organized a side event taking stock of the progress made on gender and climate change so far in Warsaw, and discussing ways forward to advance the goal of gender responsive and transformative climate policies. The event was moderated by Gotelind Alber from Gender CC, and was divided into two parts.

In the first part of the event, a panel composed of Anna Sverrisdottir (Government of Iceland), Bridget Burns (WEDO) and Sebastien Duyck (University of Lapland), did a de-briefing of the first-ever UNFCCC Gender Workshop, held on November 12th, and discussed the progress on gender and climate change made in the COP19 negotiations.

After reminding everyone of the historical Decision 23/CP.18 taken in Doha last year, where Parties agreed to promote gender balance and gender sensitive climate policies, Bridget Burns said the focus of negotiations was currently on creating a framework to support the implementation and monitoring of these commitments.

As a result of the past week’s meetings under the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), Parties have agreed 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.

Commenting on this, Anna Sverrisdottir said that while the COP19 text is a step on the way, there is still a need for more concrete actions. The current text presents several such actions in an annex, including the establishment of a two-year work programme on gender balance under the Convention, 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.

The draft conclusions state that discussions around these proposals will continue at COP20 in Lima in December next year. However, panelists and audience at the WEDO side event agreed that in order to move forward it will be important to work to advance Parties positions on these issues also at the Bonn intermediary session in June 2014.

Another important take-home point from the panelists was the need to ensure that gender equality is addressed in all the discussions under UNFCCC, and not kept separated from discussions on mitigation, adaptation, technology etc. Panelists also expressed concerns about the fact that the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), working to develop a global climate change agreement from 2020 and on ways to increase pre-2020 mitigation ambitions, has yet to integrate gender equality and human rights in its discussions.

Although it is clear that work remains ahead, the panel gave recognition to what has been achieved so far.  The process on gender and climate change has been an inspiring one, it demonstrates that it is possible to succeed in the work to include social implications in the negotiations on climate change, Sebastien Duyck said.

The second part of the side event, invited a panel consisting of Ben Karmohr (Government of Liberia), Sharmind Neelormi (Gender CC), Ulrike Roehr (LIFE e.V.) and Jorge Villareal (Government of Mexico) to discuss the topics of promoting gender sensitive climate policies at the national level, and what it takes to engage men in gender and climate change approaches.

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