African women Gender and Climate Change @COP21

On the first day of climate change talks in Paris two important side events which advanced gender in climate change with respect to African women was held at the African Pavilion.

The two side events were held simultaneously. One was organized by the  African Working Group on gender and Climate Change. It addressed gender, climate change and sustainable developments: challenges and opportunities for post 2015 agreement.

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The event panelist came from the African Working Group on Gender and Climate Change, a working group of different actors both state and non state actors, who came together in 2013 in Addis Ababa under the auspices of Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The objective of the event was to share issues in Africa related to gender and climate change and expectations in Paris agreement as well to deliberate on the impact of climate change and gender and development.

The intent of the working group is to strengthen the negotiators on gender and climate change and to establish women’s coping capacity, this is with a view to strengthen  African common position and to make clear narrative on gender and climate change.

One of the missing link in advancing gender in climate change in Africa  was identified as lack of gender disaggregated data which could for instance inform climate science reports, respect for human rights which includes gender equality is still weak and gender sensitive implementation framework.

As Ban Ki Moon says “climate change affects us all, but it does not affect us equally”. This resonated with the fact that most of the speakers stated that the underlying causes of climate vulnerability has not been addressed due to lack of participation of and empowerment of groups in defining climate change policy  and programs.  Climate change is about human development and sustainable development can’t be achieved unless gender and climate change issues are addressed.

The panelist stated that the Paris agreement needs to focus on supporting more research, ensuring inclusion, recognize importance of traditional knowledge, strengthen capacity and increase resources for actions at local level.

The other side event was organized by New Economic partnership for Africa(NEPAD) and NEPAD Climate fund

The need to establish an African climate fund was based on the premise that African countries have not benefited commensurately  in the different finance mechanisms that have been established due to  lack of  capacity to access the funds in terms of  knowledge of different mechanisms and different options and windows on how to access the funds. Lack of Capacity to develop programs that are bankable and the available  financing arrangement do not address the financial needs of women.

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It is in  recognition of these challenges  that the NEPAD climate Fund was established in 2012 . It is an African owned, African led and African administered fund African  which is tailored to the peculiar African needs.

The fund  support member states of the African Union  and NGOs in the target areas of adaptation of agriculture, Biodiversity Management, access and benefit sharing and policy co-coherence among  other things. Eleven African Countries have so far access the funds

The funds has a strong capacity building element  and it is gender responsive. The fund support Women’s adaptation in agriculture,   the value chains and contributions of women to climate solution. The fund has a gender mainstreaming guidelines that is used to evaluate all proposals. It supports women in Agric business forum where women across the continent show case what they have been doing in the agriculture value chain

One of the eminent personality at the Side event , the former President of Ghana John Kuffour stressed the need to invest in climate change economy and that NEPAD fund demonstrated practical investment in climate change.It is taking care of our people, especially the women and the most vulnerable.  He said further that African countries cannot continue to wait for climate finance from the developed world. African needs to  start mobilizing finance from within  while also leveraging on climate finance provided by developed countries.

By

Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa and

Ms Edna Kaptoyo

 

 

 

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