Breaking Patriarchal Barriers for Gender Sensitive Climate Change Initiatives

On Saturday, 11th of November, the Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) and women Environment Program facilitated a skill share session on the theme: “Breaking Patriarchal Barriers for Gender Sensitive Climate Change Initiative.” The side event, which was hosted by the Global Climate Change Alliance (GGCA) Innovations Forum was attended by women and men across the globe, who participated and shared their experiences on patriarchal challenges they have in course of implementing climate change projects in the local and national context.

Climate change affects everyone, yet women among other vulnerable groups in developing and least developed countries bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change. While it is now important to start looking at ways to reduce the negative effects of climate change on women, attention is drawn to the challenges thrown up by patriarchy at different levels of climate governance. Either at the community or the global climate policy level, patriarchy continue to constitute a stumbling block to a gender just climate policy and interventions.

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 Ms Akosa  Facilitating Skill Share Session At the GGCA Innovation Forum  

In many societies, it is a big challenge to have access to women without negotiating with community leaders who are mostly males. It is acknowledged that decision making positions and authority lies with men.Patriarchy is a system issue which manifest in almost every facet of societal life. Majority of women and men are recruited and socialized into It.

The kind of barriers posed by patriarchy for women includes inadequate access to information, limited opportunity for aspiring to decision making positions, lack of voice, representation and participation, to mention a few. Of course, these barriers in most cases leave women vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

At the global policy levels, the barriers manifest in a different form though it is still linked to patriarchal challenges identified at the local levels and the different processes. The issues of developed and the developing countries take the centre stage, women and gender issues are perceived as less important to other pressing issues of climate finance, emissions reductions and technology transfer.

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Daisy (Nigeria), Hauwa (Ghana) Titi (Nigeria) and Rose (Cameroon ) @ the Innovations Forum

However, these perceived pressing issues are issues that are not gender neutral, it affects men and women. For instance, women need climate finance to trickle down to the local levels where climate change is biting harder. Lack of finance and feminized poverty inhibits women’s adaptation to the impacts of climate change. Equally, risky and unsafe technologies must be avoided in mitigating climate change. Thus, women and gender have a place in all the issues being negotiated under the UNFCCC.

Way  Forward
As noted by the skill share facilitator, Ms Titi Akosa and other participants – ‘the patriarchal issue is a system issue and thus needs a system change to correct.

While finding ways to break barriers, women must not see it as a battle-line between men and women but as a negotiation process for change. Women should be firm but subtle about breaking barriers and push the issues of women empowerment forward.
There is need for aggressive awareness about patriarchy, its effects on women and the society at large; and its interconnections with climate change at all levels. Women should endeavour to work in unity and collaborate with men in delivering gender responsive climate projects.

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Participants @ the skill share Session

The experiences garnered by the facilitator as one of the women climate justice advocates supported by Women Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), advocating on behalf of women and gender in the processes leading to securing the Paris Agreement was very insightful. The facilitator and other women climate justice advocates engaged negotiators with women’s key demands, provided gender responsive texts and shared perspectives on the importance of gender just climate policy. These are best practices in women supporting each other to raise awareness in advancing women and gender issues in the negotiations.

It must however be noted that gender and women responsive climate initiatives may not always break barriers posed by patriarchy. This is very possible if projects are not well articulated to have impacts on gender relations and or aimed specifically to target barriers imposed by patriarchy against women.

Participants agreed that there is need for a deeper appreciation of the challenges imposed by patriarchy and that the challenges should be dealt with in an integrated manner to engender a supportive environment for gender equality to thrive.

 

Daisy  Alero Emoekabu

Climate Policy Researcher,

University of Kent, U. K .

 

 

 

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Statement Delivered by The Executive Director of C21st on Behalf of Women and Gender Constituency @COP21

Distinguished ministers and heads of delegations,

 

My name is Titilope Gbemisola Akosa and I am speaking on behalf of the Women and Gender Constituency. I stand before you today in solidarity representing the voices and aspirations of millions of women, children and the socially disadvantaged communities of the world,.

 

We are now at a crucial stage of the negotiationsWe cannot allow our leaders to gamble with our future. As women, we are here to stand strong on behalf of the people and the planet to pressure world leaders to do what it takes to tackle the climate change crisis by delivering a legally binding, just and gender-responsive agreement that will set the world on the path of resilience and sustainability.

 

As a woman living in the city of Lagos, in Nigeria I have witnessed how the ocean inches towards us and threatens to swallow up our habitats and lives. How irregular rainfall patterns threaten our food security, and floods destroy our livelihoods. All of it deepen social inequality. But we are not willing to play the victim game. These catastrophic situations have pushed us out of our comfort zone to be here, with our solutions, for an ambitious agreement in Paris.

 

 

Last week, world leaders gathered here to give their visions to the COP. Now it is time to ensure an ambitious and fair agreement. Therefore, it must ensure all climate actions, both adaptation and mitigation, respect promote, protect and fulfil human rights, gender equality, the rights of indigenous people, intergenerational equity, a just transition and decent work, food security and ecosystem integrity and resilience.

 

This can only be achieved if Parties commit to stay below 1.5° C degree of warming.  – in a manner which upholds the principles of the Convention, namely equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR).

 

The new agreement must acknowledge the loss of lives, cultures, and ecosystems that has already occurred and include a mechanism to address both financial and non-monetized Loss and Damage.

 

It must provide clearly defined, new, additional, and predictable gender-responsive public finance that is scaled up. , 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 finance for loss and damage in addition to adaptation funding.

 

Finally, we ask that you retain gender language in all the operative areas of the agreement.

This is our stand and we will not give up on our beautiful planet.

 

Thank you!

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

 

 

 

Women are Guardian Angels of The Climate

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

  1. 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).
  2. 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.20151128_163407
  3. 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.
  4. Governments must commit to wide-ranging ambitious and just actions pre-2020 under Workstream II.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Adaptation approaches must be country-driven, gender-responsive, participatory and fully transparent.
  8. 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.
  9. Technology development and transfer must be safe for people and the environment, affordable to all and gender responsive.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

Written by

Ms Titilope Gbemisola Akosa and Ms Edna Kaptoyo

Women Climate Justice advocates COP21