November 15, 2017  |  

Gender Day at COP23: Why UNFCCC needs a Gender Action Plan

Written 14th of November 

Todays is Gender Day at COP23 on which we raise awareness of the inequality gap between the genders. You might ask yourself why gender is a question when it comes to building a sustainable climate and why we have to fight for it in the negotiations. Well I attended a panel today on which they discussed The economic case for gender-responsive climate action and learned quite alot:

H.E Ms. Mereseini Vuniwaqa Fijis Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation can tell you that it has been proven that more equal societies have an more educated populations who therefore can handle poverty, extreme weather and other challenges in a better way.

H.E Ms. Mereseini Vuniwaqa Fijis Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.

Educating people and especially women and putting them in charge reaches more people and creates a bigger difference in the society then putting men in charge. This is because women have more knowledge about their community since they have traditionally been in charge of the families, traditions and the domestic habits. Therefore the women has a better knowledge on what their society needs according to Ms. Fiza Farhan – Pakistan based women entrepreneur and development expert. Through her work she has seen that using women as leaders in Pakistani societies has achieved unexpectedly good results in approving the standard of living faster than expected.

The traditional domestic roles of women make them a key to solving climate change but it also makes them the first victims when Climate Change hits. One reason according to Hartwig Schafer Vice president for Global Themes World Bank is that women dont have the same channels of informations for as men do. For example, in developing countries 80% of men listen to the weather on the radio but only 20% of the women that means that men know when a storm is coming whilst women do not. Another reson that four out of five people who die in climate change are women is because they are not in charge of the money or have the same rights as men so they do not have the same posivility to relocate as fast this according to Achim Steiner Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme.

Creating a Gender Action Plan will strengthen women all through the climate solution chain and therefor be more successful. Last year 32% of the Party Delegates were women and according to researchers from Brigham Young University and Princeton men will dominate 75% of the conversation during conference meetings. Which does not really leave women too much of the parole. Not saying that the women always push an feminist agenda but if we are going to trust the stats negotiations with a more equal amount women and men have a better chance on succeeding.

 We all know that we have to act now to save our climate and according to Ms. Farhan working with women results in a more effective and successful outcome. Thats why the implementation of the Gender Action Plan is so important in reaching better results for everyone faster. The bureaucracy surrounding the meetings are hard to understand and can be very frustrating, sometimes you wonder how saving the climate can be so hard, is it the overrepresentation of men that’s slowing down the process? As H.E Ms. Fiame Mata’fa Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural resources and Environment of Samoa says: ”From a woman perspective: Just get on with it!”

Sofia Bjersér
Sweden YMCA