Gender and Climate Change

This report analyses the gender dimension of climate change and the policies enacted to mitigate and adapt to its impacts with the aim of developing gender sensitive approaches with regards to mitigation measures, adaptation projects and national regimes. According to the report, natural disasters and environmental damage associated with climate change are worse for vulnerable populations, including women and children. They depend largely on the environment for their livelihoods and have less access to natural and economic resources for recovery. However, the research found that gender aspects have generally been neglected in international climate policy.

The report proposes that:

  • prioritising women in programmes for education and skills training can strengthen their ability to adapt;
  • women’s local knowledge systems are an important source of information for natural resource management in areas affected by climate change;
  • gendered division of labour, particularly in poor households, means women need to negotiate with men over key choices about mitigation or adaptation; and
  • the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol can offer women access to a range of projects using new technologies in household energy, agriculture and food processing.

The report proposes that policymakers should:

  • ensure funds are available that allow women to learn about and acquire improved energy technologies;
  • ensure that more research is carried out to identify the gender differences in dealing with climate changes (such as emissions and lifestyle choices);
  • increase the availability of gender disaggregated data on households and emissions profiles;
  • develop a marketing strategy based on gender differences in CDM projects and make government agencies ensure that gender differences have been properly considered;
  • introduce gender concerns as an issue into international climate change negotiations and at conference side events; and
  • increase collaboration between the Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention of Biological Diversity and the Climate Convention to increase awareness and conformity of integrating gender issues.

The report concludes that studies, debates and international fora suggest integrating the gender variable into emerging national and future international responses to climate change. Gender considerations should be introduced in the key critical issues on the climate change agenda, namely: mitigation, the CDM, adaptation and capacity building. More efforts should be directed towards a wider application of a gendered approach even in other strategic sectors, including, for instance, technology transfer and vulnerability studies.

See: Gender: The Missing Component in the Response to Climate Change

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
October 2005

Source: The Communication Initiative, Canada 

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