Gender and Climate Change Activities @ COP23 - Bonn 2017
The 23rd UN Climate Change Conference took place from November 6 to 17 in Bonn, Germany and was presided over by the Government of Fiji.
GenderCC was represented at COP23 with a delegation to follow the negotiations, to host side events and workshops, and to advocate for a strong and gender-just outcome of COP23. As usual, we were closely involved in the activities of the Women and Gender Constituency.
Two years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement and one year after it has entered into force, the main goal of COP23 was to move forward in defining the guidelines for its implementation. Among the slow progresses, the missed opportunities and the half-hearted commitments we have witnessed in Bonn, there are however two noteworthy stories of success: the first ever Gender Action Plan (GAP) to the UNFCCC was adopted and the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform operationalised.
Read GenderCC and LIFE's joint statement on the outcomes of COP23 here.
Gender... And Action! The first Gender Action Plan under the UNFCCC
At COP23, a decision was reached that marks a milestone in our longstanding efforts to integrate gender into international climate policy: the first Gender Action Plan under the UNFCCC. At COP22 in Marrakech, Parties decided to continue and enhance the Lima Work Programme on Gender and requested the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) to develop this Gender Action Plan in order to support the implementation of the gender-related decisions and mandates so far adopted in the UNFCCC process.
The Gender Action Plan as it was adopted at COP23 (read the decision text here) defines five priority areas for action and contains a set of 16 specific activities for the upcoming two years. Among those are in-session workshops for delegates on how to develop gender-responsive climate policies, plans and programmes, and the promotion of travel funds to support the participation of women (in particular grassroots, local and indigenous women) from developing countries. Together those activities are meant to advance the implementation of the various gender-related decisions and mandates that already exist but have so far only insufficiently been implemented under the UNFCCC. The GAP acknowledges that little progress has been made so far towards women’s equal participation in the UNFCCC process and towards developing and implementing gender-just climate policies and actions and it marks a significant step forward in the efforts to advance gender equality in the international climate process. The test however will be its implementation. In order for it to live up to its promises, Parties now have to come forward with generous voluntary contributions to supply the necessary funds for each activity.
Read more about the Gender Action Plan in GenderCC & LIFE's joint statement on the outcomes of COP23 here.
ECO published an article on the Gender Action Plan and the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform on the last day of COP23 celebrating both as success stories of this year's climate talks. The article is available here.
GenderCC's activities in Bonn
Climate March - On Saturday, November 4, the GenderCC team as well as 25,000 other activists attended the #endcoal march in Bonn prior to COP23. A feminist bloc including local queer feminists, Women Pacific Climate Warriors and organisations from the Women and Gender Constituency as well as a band of drummers took a prominent place in the march. The message of the group was clear: climate justice and gender justice are important, non-negotiable goals of feminists and climate activists. The feminist bloc, with about 500 activists in total, spent the march chanting several of our slogans, and building up energy for climate justice and gender-just solutions.
COY13 - GenderCC was also represented at the 13th Conference of Youth (COY13) prior to COP23. We've joined forces with other youth from the Young Feminists for Climate Justice group for a storytelling workshop. As diverse young feminists & climate justice advocates, we have unique insights, and face particular forms of patriarchy, ageism & structural barriers. This session featured diverse young feminists & their stories of fighting for climate justice, and invited participants to share theirs. GenderCC's Lisa Göldner furthermore held an introductory workshop on the gender dimensions of climate change titled "What's gender got to do with it? A feminist perspective on climate change".
PCS - On 7th November the Not without us!-project organised a 4-hours workshop on "Women for Climate Justice: a workshop for building strategies" at the People's Climate Summit (PCS). The programme was divided into a presentation and discussion part where various grassroots women presented their local struggles with big mining companies, governments or industrial agricultural production and how they defend their local livelihoods in South Africa, Senegal, Columbia, Indonesia and all over the world. It became clear that the fights against these projects and corporate activities are often led by women but often women are also most negatively affected. In the second part, the workshop discussed in spread-out groups strategies of women groups to defend themselves and how to strengthen them and each other as well as how to bring local struggles effectively to the international level. The wrap-up of the discussions showed that there are many commonalities and opportunities to learn from each other. Unfortunately, it became also clear that there is a global backlash against feminism and racism.
Side event - On Gender Day at COP23 (November 14th) the Not without us!-project carried out a joint side event that touched on so called false solutions. Speakers shared their experiences on the local impacts of climate policies and mechanisms offered by the UNFCCC, explained why they considered as being false solutions and put forward their demands for more gender-just solutions. Ndivile Mokoena started out by talking about so called smart agriculture and how this affects local farmers. Dinda Nuur Annisaa Yura who also works with women in coastal areas and women who live around forests highlighted in her statement that the impacts of climate change are never gender neutral and that in the local communities women mostly experience a stronger impact and burden. Edna Kaptoyo gave insights on what the situation is like in Kenya concerning the aspects of local loss and damage and highlighted how climate induced loss and damages also means loss of traditional livelihood. As final panellist Sabine Minninger shared some experiences with the insurances-approach regarding loss and damage. She demanded that loss and damage has to be a permanent agenda item on the SB and that we need serious funding for loss and damage. This side event showed that women at the ground and local communities, who are severely impacted by false solutions, already have solutions that must be considered at international level and can define key aspects necessary for a successful and gender just implementation of initiatives.
Find more information on events and activities that took place during COP23 under current projects.