GERMANY (June 4, 2015) – What are the different perspectives that women’s rights activists can bring to the table when it comes to ensuring just climate action? This was the broader question addressed in the shared Women & Gender Constituency side event on June 4th, 2015, hosted by WEDO, GenderCC and LIFE e.V. The panelists provided regional perspectives on key elements ranging from appropriate climate finance to safe and sustainable technology transfer and development.
The event was opened by Bridget Burns (WEDO/co-focal point), who presented the Women & Gender constituency position paper on the 2015 new climate agreement. As a collaborative effort, the position paper lays out the key requirements of a just and gender-responsive climate agreement and is shaped by a variety of experiences, which were highlighted by the speakers in turn: Tess Vistro (Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development) called attention to the impacts of disasters on women and the need for capacity building in the Philippines, accompanied by a moving video. She highlighted the resilience of women and the powerful movement they built in the wake of Haiyan.
Queensley Ajuyakpi (Women Environmental Programme) shared information about her work on projects relating to adaptation and improving energy access for women in Nigeria, stressing the need to provide adequate finance to support women and ensure that their traditional knowledge is utilized.
Building upon these concrete examples, Sabine Bock (Women in Europe for a Common Future) drew the link to technology transfer and the need for safe technology that meets community needs and is socially sound and sustainable, both in developing and industrialized countries.
Ulrike Roehr (LIFE) expanded on role of industrialized countries and the importance of not limiting the discussion to technological solutions, but also addressing and researching the gender dimensions of consumption and energy use, and tackling the issues of behavioral change and power relations.
Finally, Pashpanzhu Vitery Vacaccela, an Quichuan indigenous woman leader from Ecuador shared experiences of implementing mitigation and adaptation projects in the Amazon, particularly engaging with indigenous women and their traditional knowledge and technology to promote food security and respect territorial management.
To start the discussion, respondents from other Constituencies were invited to provide their feedback, led by a trade union representative from the UK who stressed the need for a strong shared voice from civil society in the lead up to Paris. Other audience members discussed with panelists land-use issues and the challenge of providing rights protections in existing and planned market-based mechanisms, given that these have proven to be harmful to women in many contexts. Participants decided that there is an ongoing need for further clarity on gender-related concepts and detailed policy recommendations, which will no doubt be the focus of the in-session workshop on gender and women’s equality in week 2.