The Art of Implementation: Gender Strategies Transforming National and Regional Climate Change Decision Making
Until recently, policy responses at the global or national level did not reflect this reality, and even at this juncture we still have a long way to go. For more than twenty years, gender was absent from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and in decision-making by its Conference of the Parties and Subsidiary Bodies. Likewise, few National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) or national communications submitted by Parties to the UNFCCC addressed gender considerations in a comprehensive manner, and some did not mention gender considerations at all. This lack of a connection between gender and climate change at the global and national levels was a sign of the times prior to the UNFCCC Bali Action Plan, and the launch of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) in the same year, the theme of gender and climate change was largely nonexistent on the global stage, and most NAPAs and national communications had already been written.
Now, following several years of advocacy, capacity building, and awareness raising, governments have agreed multilaterally that gender equality is a key component in achieving climate change goals. Since 2008 and to date, more than 60 official gender references have entered the UNFCCC negotiation text, and the final outcomes of the Cancun (2010) and Durban (2011) conferences included eight and seventeen references to gender, respectively. With these global mandates in place, the urgent next step is implementing them and determining how to design climate change policies and programming in a way that addresses gendered realities.
A critical step in the implementation process is anchoring global agreements within national contexts—through the development of climate change gender action plans (ccGAPs). Beginning in January 2010, ccGAPs were developed in various countries and regions under IUCN’s leadership. IUCN on behalf of the GGCA supported the development of ccGAPs in Nepal, Liberia, Tanzania, Jordan, Egypt, Panama, and Haiti. In Haiti, IUCN engaged the support of WEDO and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to develop that country’s ccGAP. Two regional governing bodies those of Central America and the Arab states region also broke new ground by collaborating to develop regional strategies on gender and climate change. Separately, IUCN collaborated with United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in the development of Mozambique’s strategy.
In parallel, IUCN leveraged the methodology of the ccGAPs to facilitate distinct processes in other countries and had similar results. IUCN worked with partners to support the mainstreaming of gender in Costa Rica’s action plan for the national climate change strategy and partnered with WEDO to develop Gender and REDD+ roadmaps in Ghana, Uganda, and Cameroon. These visionary countries and regions are among the world’s pioneers in integrating gender in national climate change decision-making.