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Integrating gender into climate change action

Aug 03, 2011

Responses to climate change impact need to be gender sensitive, says Gender Responsive Strategies for Climate Change sponsored by the Institute of Development Studies. The report identifies tackling gender inequality for successful adaption to climate change and ensuring sustainable development.

Gender equality is an important precondition for successful climate change adaptation, and transition to low-carbon alternatives in developing countries. 

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This means that, if they are to be effective, climate change adaptation and low-carbon efforts need to be gender responsive taking into account the specific needs of men and women and the gendered inequalities that may compound the impacts of climate change for poor women in particular, or prevent women from benefiting from climate change policy responses. This in turn will ensure effective, sustainable poverty reduction. 

Yet, gender-blindness is a widely persistent phenomenon in climate change policy and programming.

The paper outlines a rationale for improved integration of gender and proposes key principles which should premise climate change policies and programmes. 

Some of the principles outlined include the basic idea that neither the impacts nor responses to climate change are ever gender-neutral, addressing gender is about addressing unequal power relationships between women and men, and gender relations are context-specific, and change over time. 

The paper offers recommendations for donors which include taking a stronger lead on gender equality in the climate change arena by promoting gender-inclusive policy dialogue. 

It  talks about creating organisational environments for effective gender mainstreaming by addressing ‘mainstreaming fatigue’ which means that donors do not generally lack gender or climate change capacities, but many lack the capacity, resources and clear mandates to connect them. Donors are recommended to provide gender and climate change tools covering the entire project or programme cycle.

Filling knowledge and best practice gaps in participatory ways that capture men’s, women’s and young people’s ideas and knowledge is very important, particularly in areas where the gender dimensions of climate change impacts and responses are not immediately obvious, such as transport and infrastructure. 

It is vital that donors promote gender-responsive international climate negotiations and address the gender disconnect in project cycles by ensuring that thorough gender analysis of gender inequalities are better entrenched in implementation and monitoring of these projects.

Donors can make a difference by promoting equal access to decision making processes to both men and women and by training women’s organisations to take part in  and lead such processes.

The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed in this paper are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the views of BRIDGE/IDS.

Source : Eldis
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