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Gender and Climate Change
Gender and Climate Change

The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC, as stated in its Article 2, is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations "in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". It is increasingly evident that women are at the centre of the climate change challenge. Women are disproportionately affected by climate change impacts, such as droughts, floods and other extreme weather events, but they also have a critical role in combatting climate change.

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Gender under the COP

COP 19 in Warsaw- November 2013

For the item on "Gender and Climate Change", documents for consideration were:

  • The report on gender composition. Note by the secretariat (FCCC/CP/2013/4).
  • A miscellaneous document on options and ways to advance the gender balance goal. Submissions from Parties and observer organizations (FCCC/CP/2013/MISC.2).
The draft conclusions proposed by the Chair can be found in document FCCC/SBI/2013/L.16

Events in Warsaw

  • An in-session workshop This workshop took place on 12 November, on the topic of gender balance in the UNFCCC process, and gender-sensitive climate policy and capacity-building activities to promote the greater participation of women in the UNFCCC process.  It was mandated by COP 18 (para  10 of decision 23/CP.18). 

  • Gender Day on Tuesday 19 NovemberThe line-up included a high-level event, side events and other activities dedicated to the topic of gender.
  • The in-session high-level event under the Conference of the Parties, entitled Vision 50/50: Women for Action on Climate Change took place in Room Warsaw, on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 from 11:30 to 13:00. The event was open to Parties and observers.
  • The agenda can be accessed pdf-icon here (80 kB) .
  • pdf-icon Event summary (65 kB) .
  • On-demand webcast.
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Elizabeth Njoroge singing "Vision 50/50" Round of applause
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View of the room Panellists discuss their vision 50/50

COP 18 in Doha- December 2012

At its eighteenth session, the COP adopted a decision 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. The decision 23/CP.18 can be found in the COP 18 report.

COP 18 requested Parties and observer organizations to submit to the secretariat their views on options and ways to advance the goal of gender balance in bodies established pursuant to the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, in order to improve women's participation and inform more effective climate change policy that addresses the needs of women and men equally (para 2 and 11 of decision 23/CP.18). Submissions have been received from Parties and Observers. A miscellaneous document on options and ways to advance the gender balance goal has been compiled, which can be found here.

UNFCCC Gender balance

Since COP 18 in Doha, the UNFCCC secretariat has been tracking gender balance in UNFCCC constituted bodies and at relevant meetings. The data is being compiled and will be available via this webpage in the second quarter of 2013.

The report mandated in the COP 18 decision has been published: Report on Gender Composition. Note by the secretariat.

Linking gender and climate change

Gender and adaptation
Integrating 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
A gender 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 support
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.

In Focus

Momentum for Change: Women for Results showcases women-led activities that address climate change. These "lighthouse activities" will demonstrate measurable impact on the ground, and the potential for replicability and scalability at the local, national and international levels.

Previous events

Lunchtime event: Promoting gender balance and the empowerment of women in the UNFCCC process, 7 June 2013
On June 7, during the UN Climate Change Conference June 2013 (SB 38), UN Women, MRFCJ, GGCA, UNFCCC secretariat organized a side event on promoting gender balance and the empowerment of women in the UNFCCC process. This lunchtime event brought together Parties, observers, UN System entities, experts, civil society representatives and other stakeholders who shared insights and discussed efforts to strengthen gender balance, enhance the empowerment of women in the UNFCCC process, and advance gender-sensitive climate policy. The event also marked the launch of a desk research conducted by UN Women and MRFCJ on "Advancing the goal of gender balance in multilateral and intergovernmental processes".
pdf-icon Concept note (429 kB)

A summary of the above event appears in the 7 June edition of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin ‘On the Side’ (scroll down for ‘Promoting Gender Balance and the Empowerment of Women in the UNFCCC Process’)

Twitter chat with Christiana Figueres and the GGCA on the COP 18 Gender Decision, 14 May 2013
On 14 May, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres engaged on Twitter on the COP 18 Gender Decision. The live Twitter chat was hosted by the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) and focused on the key objectives of the decision.
View Storify version of the chat.


pdf-icon Press release: Green Climate Fund Board takes key decisions on operations and makes progress on ‘Essential Eight’

pdf-icon Overview of linkages between gender and climate change (A UNDP and GGCA Policy Brief)

pdf-icon CDM and Women (A UNFCCC publication)

pdf-icon The Rio Conventions: Action on Gender (A publication by the CBD, UNCCD and the UNFCCC)

pdf-icon The Full View: Advancing the goal of gender balance in multilateral and intergovernmental processes (Research report by UN Women Research report by UN Women and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice)