Strengthened 5-year Action Plan on Gender Adopted at COP25

At the UN Climate Conference, COP 25, in Madrid last December, countries took steps to accelerate a more gender-responsive approach to climate action by adopting a comprehensive enhanced Lima Work Programme on Gender (LWPG) and Gender Action Plan (GAP) which lays out the actions countries and the international community at large can and will take to achieve this goal.

Climate change has a greater impact on people who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women.

It is therefore critical that climate plans and actions are inclusive and participatory to ensure that the needs, perspectives and ideas of all of humanity are addressed in order to limit temperature rise to 1.5C in line with the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The positive outcome on the GAP was complemented by the growing visibility of the subject of gender at the Conference. Numerous side events and a dedicated Gender Day, held on 10 December, with a programme that included technical workshops on integrating gender in National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Technology Needs Assessments (TNAs), a special event showcasing the Women for Results winners of the UN Climate Action awards, and a high-level event provided ample evidence of the benefits and need for gender-responsive climate policy and action. Countries are for example taking gender into account to build climate resilient energy systems and to improve coastal resilience.

At the high-level event organized by the COP Presidency and Germany, ministerial representatives from Costa Rica, Colombia, Egypt, Germany, Luxembourg and Spain, moderated by a former President of Ireland, reinforced the urgency for governments to agree on an ambitious enhanced GAP. “Time for action is not a slogan. It’s a decision. It’s a moral imperative. For that it is urgent to incorporate gender approaches in climate change policies,” said COP President Carolina Schmidt during the event. Meanwhile, the technical workshops and Women for Results event demonstrated the huge potential impact of gender-responsive climate action to address the climate crisis.

The success of the previous LWPG and its GAP also became apparent as gender was visible in reporting by constituted bodies to the governing bodies on their work in 2019. . A synthesis report on progress in integrating a gender perspective in constituted body processes – was also presented at COP 25, further demonstrating increased engagement on gender across UNFCCC processes.

New five-year plan on ambitious gender-responsive climate action

The enhanced LWPG and GAP acknowledge that there is further need for mainstreaming gender throughout the Convention and that this will contribute to increasing effectiveness, fairness and sustainability of climate policy and action.

It also reflects the acknowledgement by governments that gender considerations are changeable over time (based on changes in laws, customs norms and institutions) and determined through multidimensional factors (such as age, race, ethnicity, class, etc.). And the importance of human rights and a just transition of the workforce when acting on the climate emergency was further reinforced.

The enhanced five-year GAP is focused on implementation and affirms that action by all stakeholders – public and private – towards gender-responsiveness and implementation of gender-related activities is critical.

The GAP includes 20 activities grouped under the priority areas: a) capacity-building, knowledge management and communication; b) gender balance, participation and women’s leadership; c) coherence; d) gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation; e) monitoring and reporting. These activities describe concrete actions and outputs such as the call for submissions in which governments and Observers are invited to share lessons learned on mainstreaming gender into national climate policy and action and a workshop on this topic at SB52.

Other activities are ongoing and call on governments and relevant organizations to act at the international, regional and national level. These include enhanced availability of sex-disaggregated data, the organization of expert group meetings on gender budgeting, deployment of gender-responsive technological solutions to address climate change and fostering women’s and girls’ full participation and leadership in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as research and development.

These positive steps forward on gender indicate the political willingness to make a difference.

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