Gender and Climate Change
Gender and Climate Change: What is the connection?
Impacts of climate change, such as drought, floods, extreme weather events and
reduced food and water security, affect women and men differently with the poorest
being the most vulnerable. 70 per cent of the world’s poor are women. Even
though women are therefore disproportionately affected, at the same time they play a
crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation actions. It is increasingly
evident that involving women and men in all decision-making processes on climate
action is a significant factor in meeting the climate challenge and achieving the
long-term objectives of the Convention.
Why is this important?
Women are predominantly responsible for food production, household water supply and
energy for heating and cooking. As climate change impacts increase, these tasks are
becoming more difficult. However, women have knowledge and coping strategies that
give them a practical understanding of innovation and skills to adapt to changing
environmental realities as well as to contribute to the solution. These strategies to
deal with climate variability are still a largely untapped resource. Additionally,
women are often faced with difficulties when it comes to the general accessibility of
financial resources, capacity-building activities and technologies. This often stands
in the way of women’s empowerment in general and their role in relation to
climate change adaptation and mitigation in particular. Women also tend to be
underrepresented in the decision-making on climate change at all levels. This
severely limits their ability to contribute and implement solutions and apply their
Lima United Nations Climate Change Conference, December 2014
In Lima, SBI 41 will continue to work under this item to further facilitate the
ongoing implementation of decision
23/CP.18, drawing on submissions made by
Parties and admitted observer
organizations on options and ways to advance the gender balance goal, information
provided at the in-session workshop on “Gender, Climate Change and the
UNFCCC”, held on 12 November 2013 in Warsaw, Poland, and proposals contained in
the annex to document
FCCC/SBI/2013/L.16. SBI 41 will also consider the report on gender composition
contained in document
Warsaw United Nations Climate Change Conference, November 2013
In Warsaw, SBI 39 adopted conclusions contained in document
FCCC/SBI/2013/20 noting with appreciation the submissions made by Parties and
admitted observer organizations on options and ways to advance the gender balance
goal and welcoming the information provided at the in-session workshop on
“Gender, Climate Change and the UNFCCC”, held on 12 November 2013. The
SBI also welcomed the report by the secretariat on gender composition contained in
FCCC/CP/2013/4 and noted with concern that the majority of bodies under the
Convention and its Kyoto Protocol have memberships where less than 30 per cent are
women, with lows of 11–13 per cent in some cases. The SBI agreed to continue to
work under this item at SBI 41.
Doha United Nations Climate Change Conference, November/December
At its eighteenth session, the COP adopted decision
23/CP.18 on promoting gender balance and improving the participation of women in
UNFCCC negotiations and in the representation of Parties in bodies established
pursuant to the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol.
Marrakech United Nations Climate Change Conference, October/November
The COP at its seventh session adopted decision
36/CP.7 on enhancing the participation of women at all levels of decision making
related to climate change.
Gender and adaptation
considerations of gender into medium- and long-term adaptation can help to ensure
that adaptation is effective and implementable on the ground. It can help to ensure
that the implementation of adaptation activities will not exacerbate inequalities and
other vulnerabilities, it can help to fulfil the specific needs of the most
vulnerable, and it can ensure the equal participation of men and women in the
decision-making and implementation phases of these activities. Women can act as
agents of change at different levels of the adaptation process.
Gender and financial support
perspective needs to be taken into account when developing resource mobilization
strategies, applying climate finance instruments, and ensuring equal participation in
the deployment of financial resources, particularly at the local level.
Gender and mitigation
Action to mitigate climate change has the potential to also bring about local
gender-positive impacts. This may be achieved by the general nature of a mitigation
project or programme, such as clean energy for household lighting or cooking, or by
gender equity impacts being specifically considered early in the project planning
stage e.g. considering where revenues will flow. Projects under the Kyoto
Protocol's flexible mechanisms, CDM and JI, have shown themselves to have
potentially positive impacts on the lives of women – by improving livelihoods
and health and allowing time for the pursuit of additional opportunities.
Gender and technology support
The development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies represent an
opportunity to increase efforts on gender mainstreaming with regard to technology
access and information and training on the use of appropriate technologies.
Gender and capacity-building
A gender-sensitive approach to creating, developing and strengthening institutional,
systemic and human-resource capacity-building can foster gender balance in
decision-making on, delivery of and access to means and tools of implementation for
mitigation of adaptation actions.
Gender Day at sessions of the COP/CMP
Since 2012 an annual Gender Day has been held during sessions of the COP/CMP in
collaboration with governments, United Nations entities, intergovernmental
organizations and civil society to promote gender-sensitive climate policy-making
This year Gender Day will be held on 9 December during COP 20/CMP 10 in Lima, Peru
and feature the following high-level events as well as a series of interviews, press
conferences and other activities.
See the full programme of Gender Day here (90 kB) .