NEW YORK (April 7, 2014)–From March 10th to 14th, the first meeting of the UNFCCC in 2014 was held in Bonn, Germany. The fourth meeting of the second session of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Action (ADP 2.4) – which is the group tasked with developing the new climate agreement- included two work streams: 1) discussion on the elements (adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology, capacity building and MRV) of the new instrument and 2) technical expert meetings on renewable energy sources and energy saving and efficiency for closing the emission gap before 2020.

As shared in WEDO’s overview heading into the meeting, a priority for this session was for Parties to elaborate their views on the elements of the new climate agreement, as well as decide on the methodology for negotiations to proceed. A number of Parties shared submissions on their views, which you can read here. WEDO made a submission on the proposed elements of the new agreement prior to the first session of the ADP in 2013.

The session ended with Parties agreeing to establish a contact group, to begin its work after the opening plenary of the fifth meeting of the second session of the ADP (ADP 2.5) in June. The Co-Chairs emphasized they were guided by the understanding that negotiating text will be “collectively constructed based on views expressed by parties in their submissions and in the negotiations, which would reflect a truly party-driven process.” This is reflective of an overall feeling of uncertainty in the process of moving forward, with Parties wary of a Copenhagen-like agreement being ‘parachuted’ in at the final stage, while also being wary of an unwieldy 300 page document that could stall the process. Other common threads of contention surrounded issues of CBDR/ equity and finance. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin has done an excellent overview, summary and analysis of the meeting, in addition to daily updates from the Third World Network.

Laying the foundation for gender equality

For WEDO and its partners in the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) and the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), ADP 2.4 was an opportunity to discuss Parties views on the elements of the new agreement and identify potential entry points for ensuring that gender equality is reflected as a guiding principle, in addition to places to anchor existing language and decisions on gender equality into the new agreement. At the opening plenary of the session, WEDO’s Andrea Quesada, Focal Point of the Women and Gender Constituency, delivered an intervention stating “ADP should propose concrete ways to address socio-economic issues, such as gender equality and women’s human rights, as these are prerequisites of sustainable development and enablers of effective actions to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Over the course of the week, representatives of the WGC and GGCA- including two Women Delegates Fund (WDF) participants, Emilia Reyes (Mexico) and Patience Damptey (Ghana) – liaised with Parties and the UNFCCC Secretariat to discuss options for the integration of gender in the ADP, which included a meeting with the new Gender Focal Points at the Secretariat. This work, building on efforts from previous meetings, resulted in several strong calls from the floor:

  • In discussions on adaptation, Mexico and Norway made a statements emphasizing that gender considerations should underlie all activities of the new instrument.
  • Additionally, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group made statements in the discussions on means of implementation emphasizing that gender equality should be included in the basic principles of the new instrument.
  • Finally, in a very strong closing statement, the Environmental Integrity Group, represented by Mexico, stated, “The EIG believes that the cross-cutting or transversal issues [in the new agreement] should include some fundamentals and principles, including ensuring that the 2015 agreement does not exacerbate social inequalities or environmental degradation of any kind. In dealing with environmental issues, we should be aware that this must inherently also address current disparities. Parallel to our efforts, the Human Rights Council is closely looking into the relationship between human rights and climate change it is important that our work takes these concerns fully into account as we have done earlier in the Cancun agreement. EIG member countries are committed to further integrate gender in the realm of climate change negotiations. Indeed climate change impacts affect us all, however, due to the varying social roles and livelihood activities, the impacts of climate change on women and men often differ, therefore it is important to address the gender aspect of climate change and to take the specific perspectives and needs of women and men duly into account. The correlation between gender and development or between gender gap and development gap has already been proven, so gender equality should be a fundamental principle of the 2015 agreement to ensure effective global actions that trigger mitigation, adaptation and the provision of means of implementation. In this regard, gender equality should be part of the overall principles to guide the operationalization of actions to follow.

The next steps, as the negotiations move into a Contact Group, will be to outline with Parties, a roadmap from now to Lima to ensure the new climate agreement is gender-responsive. This also includes follow-up on the SBI Conclusions from Warsaw on a framework for gender-sensitive climate policy. WEDO and its partners will be actively engaging on this in the coming weeks and are already planning an event at the upcoming June intersessional to showcase these building blocks and synergies.

Members of the Women and Gender Constituency; Sabine Bock (WECF) and Andrea Quesada (WEDO)

Members of the Women and Gender Constituency; Sabine Bock (WECF) and Andrea Quesada (WEDO)

ADP Co-Chairs Special Event & Enhancing Civil Society Participation   

In addition to the open-ended consultations led by the Co-Chairs, the first session of the ADP held several technical expert meetings on renewable energy sources, energy saving and efficiency as well as a -now regular- ADP Co-Chairs Special Event, which is an “interactive forum for observers to present concrete ideas and proposals on the roles that non-State actors could play in catalyzing action to enhance pre-2020 ambition effectively and in designing the 2015 agreement“.

Representing the WGC, Sabine Bock of Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF)utilized the opportunity to reiterate calls coming from Parties to reflect gender equality in the new agreement- emphasizing that this be adequately captured in any Chairs summary of the meeting.

In addition, Ms. Bock highlighted the need for the technical workshops on renewable energy sources and mitigation potential to “fully address the issue of local stakeholder engagement, public participation and women’s participation“, in the development of these technologies. Ms. Bock also requested future workshops to “include presentations of civil society like energy citizen cooperations as well as crucial gender considerations in proposed mitigation actions.”

Though this was a recorded session, and in the past, views expressed by observers have been noted in Co-Chair’s reports, the WGC participants noted that the original idea for this ‘Special Event’ was for observers to have an exchange of views in a space where Parties were also in attendance to listen and engage, which was the case in the first ‘Special Event’ held in Doha. Now, as Member States are not usually in the room, this has become a space of sharing with the Co-Chairs, whom can only refer to the need for these views to be relayed to Parties so that they can raise them from the floor. Though briefings with the Co-Chairs are incredibly important and welcomed, WEDO and other constituencies will continue to look for engaging and interactive ways for observer views, perspectives and ideas to be shared directly with Member States- and to influence the new climate agreement. This is a topic which the SBI will look at specifically at the upcoming June session under the Arrangements for Intergovernmental Meetings agenda item.

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