On Thursday, November 10 2016 the Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC hosted an interactive ACTION at COP22 to highlight institutionalized barriers to women’s participation in climate decision-making at household, community, institutional, national, regional and international levels.
Despite women’s disproportionate vulnerability to climate change, women are marginalized from climate decision-making bodies and generally do not hold positions of leadership or authority. Women and other civil society groups demand that governments and institutions ensure women’s full and equal participation in all levels of decision-making, and reach the goal of gender balance through targeted resources and capacity building efforts.
Women and other civil society organizations from around the world are also demanding that structures of power are transformed with participatory, rights-based decision-making processes for climate policy that are inclusive of all peoples, particularly women and men in frontline and Indigenous communities in
the economic South and North. Women demand to be equally and fully engaged in all levels of climate change decision-making! We should not need moustaches to be heard!
On the 6th of November, a day before the official opening of COP22, Women from across the globe gathered at Radisson Blue hotel to strategize and plan advocacy activities to push their key demands within and outside the UNFCCC.
Knowing that COP22 is a key policy space where actions to implement the historic Paris agreement are going to be catalyzed, women under the leadership of the Women and Gender Constituency of the UNFCCC had prepared their key demands titled “Women Demand Real Action To Promote Human Rigths, Justice and Sustainable Future For All”
Some of the key demand which women will be advocating during the COP is;
- A new decision to move forward on the progress made under the Lima Work Programme on Gender in relation to institutional coherence, capacity building and knowledge exchange, incorporate specific actions to address a lack of progress on achieving gender balance on national delegations and boards/bodies, as well as generate concrete recommendations for enhancing implementation of gender-responsive climate policy.
- Implementation of the Paris agreement and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) must respect, promote and consider obligations related to human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples, gender equality, a just transition, food security and intergenerational equity. On human rights, gender equality as stated in the Preamble of the Paris agreement.
- climate finance must be 100% gender responsive
- Climate solutions must be gender just and should promote among other things;
- Equal access to benefits / equal benefits to women in all areas of energy value chain and energy democracy
- Empower women via enhanced accessibility, livelihood security, health including sexual and reproductive health and rights and safety and decision making in all levels by local women and men, women’s group, cooperatives and communities
COP22 is an important policy moment for women to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment is mainstreamed in action plans to implement the Paris agreement. Thus In the next two weeks women are going to be tracking and lobbying negotiators to support these demands. Various advocacy actions will be undertaken to ensure that these demands are reflected in the overall outcomes of COP22.
Some key gender events planned by the women and gender constituency are
- African Women’s Day, Wednesday, 9 November
- Trade / Labour Day Friday 11 November
- Young feminist Day, Monday , 14 November
- Indigenous Women’s day , Wednesday 16 November
Because COP22 is taking place in Africa, African women are fully on ground here in Marrakesh working with their counterparts from other parts of the world to ensure issues peculiar to their context as African women are taken into account.
Significantly 35 women from 15 African countries have been mobilized under the Women 2030 project, a project designed to measure the achievement of the SDGs on gender equality around the world to participate in COP22.
The Women2030 project is being implemented by a consortium of women organizations which include; Women Environment Project (WEP) Global Forest Coalition (GFC), Women Engaged for Common Future (WECF) , Gender and Water Alliance (GWA) and Asia -Pacific Forum On Women Law and Development (APWLD)
Over the two weeks of the COP these women are going to be raising voice for women in the negotiations and organizing to ensure that issues and concerns of women are adequately addressed in climate change policies and actions.
The first day of the COP21 climate talks was very dramatic. Right from the entrance of Le Bourget venue of COP21 climate change talks in Paris world leaders and participants were welcomed by beautiful women dressed in angelic regalia holding key messages of peace, hope and justice for a just climate change agreement that will put the world on the pathways of resilience.
The women no doubt represents women all over the world who are craving for a climate change agreement that takes account of the needs of the most vulnerable and protect our shared humanity and planet. The actions of the women guardian angels resonates with the key demands of women to the world leaders which was later unveiled at a press conference by the women and Gender Constituency (WGC) of the UNFCCC .
Women has 11 points demands which includes
- Governments must commit to keep warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent catastrophic climate change, in line with the principles of the Convention, namely equity and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR).
- The agreement must ensure that all climate actions, both adaptation and mitigation, respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights, gender equality, the rights of indigenous peoples, intergenerational equity, a just transition and decent work, food security, and ecosystem integrity and resilience.
- Developed countries must do their fair share by taking the lead to close the inequitable emissions gap of current intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) and providing unconditional support to developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
- Governments must commit to wide-ranging ambitious and just actions pre-2020 under Workstream II.
- Concepts such as ‘net-zero’ or ‘carbon neutrality’ or any that encourage off-setting and unsafe technological solutions must be left out of the agreement.
- The long-term global goal of the agreement must articulate a sustainable pathway for urgently reducing emissions: phasing in 100% safe and sustainable renewable energy systems and wide-ranging structural and lifestyle changes – and phasing out harmful technologies and fossil fuels, in line with the principles of CBDR and equity.
- Adaptation approaches must be country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent.
- The new agreement must explicitly include a standalone section on Loss and Damage and include a mechanism to address both financial and non-monetized Loss and Damage.
- Technology development and transfer must be safe for people and the environment, affordable to all and gender responsive.
- Developed countries must provide clearly defined, new, additional, and predictable gender-responsive public finance, in the form of grants. The goal of $100 billion per year must be a floor, not a ceiling, scaled up at least every five years, with a 50:50 balance between mitigation and adaptation, and include finance for loss and damage in addition to adaptation funding.
- Finally, participation in decision-making under the new agreement should be inclusive and transparent, ensuring all barriers to movement and travel for developing country participants are alleviated and that civil society has access to decision-making spaces.
The women’s demands are crucial to engender real system change that can catalyze redistribution of wealth, resources and power for a sustainable and just future.
Just as world leaders and participants at the climate talks was arrested by the messages of the women climate guardian angels at Le Bouger, the voices of those who are most impacted by climate change, including women the vulnerable, the socially disadvantaged as well as poor should also arrest the attention of world leaders in the negotiations and inspire them to commit to a gender just climate agreement.
Women are playing their roles as mothers of the human race and guardian of the earth and the climate. They are saying in unison that they will not give up on our beautiful planet. They will stand up and fight for the survival of the planet.
Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa and Ms Edna Kaptoyo
Women Climate Justice advocates COP21
Ahead of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) taking off from 29th of November 2015 , the Women climate Justice Advocates supported by Women Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) under the Mobilizing Women for Climate Justice Program arrived in Paris on 27th Of Novembers to strategize with the broader Women Gender Constituency (WGC) of the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC) on how to advocate for Gender and women in the climate Negotiations.
with the objective of building the capacity and increasing the participation of women advocates in international climate change negotiations with a particular focus on women from civil society organizations and frontline communities who have experience with issues regarding gender equality and climate justice.
Since September 2015, the women climate advocates have been participating in the AD Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP 2) negotiations leading up to COP 21
In Paris, at the WGC strategy meeting the women discussed their key demands and positions on issues like, Mitigation and technology, Finance, Adaptation and loss and damage for the climate agreement. Other issues on communication, climate justice actions, side events and other events that will happen during the two weeks of the negotiations were also discussed.
The WGC agreed to participate in the Human chain event which replaced the climate march that was cancelled due to security reasons. The Human Chain action for climate justice was successful with about 20, 000 people participating including the women advocates, Indigenous peoples, frontline communities and civil society groups.
The women climate Justice Advocates specifically had their space with the women groups displaying their banners and chanting gender and climate justice messages prepared by the women’s Global Call for Climate Justice.
The women Climate justice advocates are going to be busy throughout the negotiations lobbying country delegates and engaging delegates with the women’s demands to ensure a gender just climate agreement .
Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa and Ms Edna Kaptoyo are women climate Justice advocates from Africa and they will be reporting Gender and women’s issues throughout the COP21. Follow us on twitter @titiakosa, @ednakaptoyo @c21stnigeria on facebook Centre for 21st Century Issues and Indigenous Information Network.
Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa-Centre for 21st Century Issues
Ms Edna Kaptoyo- Indigenous Information Network/ International Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal peoples Of the Tropical Forest