Your location: Home >  > Gender and Climate Change

Gender and Climate Change

Negotiations Interlinkages Outreach

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 expertise.


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 FCCC/CP/2014/7.

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 document 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 2013

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 2001

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
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.


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 pdf-icon here (90 kB) .