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A gender approach to climate change

Jul 16, 2009

UNDP's new document Gender and Climate Change makes the linkages between gender equality, poverty and climate vulnerability. The manual emphasises on the inclusion of women’s voices, needs and expertise in climate change policy and programming for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Resource guide on Gender and Climate Change 

Publisher: UNDP, 2009

Climate change is the defining human development issue of our generation. The 2007 Human Development Report acknowledges that climate change threatens to erode human freedoms and limit choice and the report further underscores that gender inequality intersects with climate risks and vulnerabilities.


As the world moves towards a new global agreement on climate change, it is critical that women contribute to the effort and that their perspectives are equally represented in the debate.

This resource guide aims to inform practitioners and policymakers of the linkages between gender equality and climate change. It makes the case for why it is necessary to include gender perspective into policy making and programming, and demonstrates how women’s contributions can strengthen the effectiveness of climate change measures.

There can be no effective and efficient battle against climate change if there is not equitable representation of all segments of society in decision-making at all levels.

The international community widely recognizes gender equality and women’s empowerment as both ends in themselves and means for promoting development in general. The Millennium Declaration states that gender equality is both a goal in itself and a condition to combat poverty, hunger, and diseases and achieve all other goals.

Women must be included, in climate change policy and programming not because they are “more vulnerable” but because they have different perspectives and experiences to contribute (for example, in implementing adaptation measures).

Women use and manage natural resources differently than men, and the degradation of natural resources affects them differently, women’s disadvantages may increase with the change in or loss of natural resources associated with climate change.

In the pursuit of environmental sustainability, the fundamental role of women in poverty reduction strategies, designing creative tools to adapt to degraded ecosystems, needs to be equally acknowledged. Gender - sensitive criteria and indicators must be incorporated into all programmes, projects or initiatives under the different financing mechanisms. For example:

  • Funds for adaptation should ensure that gender considerations are taken into account and that initiatives are implemented that satisfy women’s needs; a gender diagnosis must be included in all projects proposed for financing.
  • Women should be included at the same level as men in all levels in the implementation and assessment of projects involving afforestation, reforestation, and avoidance of deforestation.
  • Women should be given access to credit, commercial carbon funds, and information that allows them to understand and decide which modern biomass resources they can take advantage of and which technology meets their needs.
  • The CDM should finance projects that place renewable energy technologies within reach of women and may supplement their domestic needs.

The Resource Guide on Gender and Climate Change facilitates an understanding of the socio-environmental problem as dealt with from an integrated point of view.

Source : UNGEI
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