Some more food for thought - gender @ UNFCCC
With my first input in this discussion, I’d like to focus on gender in the UNFCCC process. In the fundamental documents, the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, gender has been absent, and it took until 2001 to raise the issue and adopt a COP decision on gender balance in UNFCCC bodies, and until 2012 to adopt a more comprehensive decision on gender which involves also actions to promote gender-sensitive policies, including gender as an agenda item at COPs. In 2014, a work programme on gender was adopted to ”Advance gender balance, promote gender sensitivity in developing and implementing climate policy, and achieve gender-responsive climate policy in all relevant activities under the Convention”. Moreover, several in-sessional workshops on gender have been held.
The relevance of gender is widely acknowledged in issues related to vulnerability and adaptation, to some degree in finance, technology and capacity building, but not in mitigation, except from REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation). These limitations are also reflected in the Paris Agreement, which lacks of full consideration of gender and human rights issues. Some Parties, including European governments, were in favor of stronger language on these issues, but haven’t insisted on keeping it in the text and rather traded them off for other issues.
From my point of view, the main constraints in the UNFCCC debate on gender are:
- Often gender is understood as pursuing only gender balance, neglecting the need to integrate gender into the content
- It is not fully acknowledged that gender is relevant for mitigation of climate change, as well, in terms of carbon footprints, needs, preferences, capacities etc.
- Gender is often seen as an issue that is relevant only for developing countries.
- Definitions of the terms “gender-sensitive”, “gender-responsive” and “gender-transformative” in relation to climate policy are still not clear, in particular what they might mean in practice.
Therefore, my main question to you is: How can researchers contribute to fill these gaps?