Magdy Martínez-Solimán: Remarks at the COP22 event on Gender Equality in tracking progress of the Paris Agreement and SDG on Climate Action

Nov 16, 2016

Good afternoon. It is a pleasure to be here at COP22, and to participate in this discussion on the importance of gender equality in tracking progress of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goal on climate action.

I believe we are all in agreement that gender equality is central to successful climate action and gender inequality an obstacle to successful and sustainable development. While the impacts of climate change threaten everyone, we know that climate change is not gender neutral.  Gender differences determine both the scale and severity of its impacts. While it threatens livelihoods and security across the board, women and girls commonly face higher risks and greater burdens, particularly when they are living in poverty.

The unequal participation of women in decision-making and access to resources and information compound inequalities and often prevent them from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation. Yet, the evidence is clear that their participation in community representation is central to delivering both successful climate action and sustainable development.

This is why a critical aspect of UNDP’s efforts to address climate change is to ensure that policies and programmes at all levels promote the participation of women and guarantee that benefits are equally distributed across society.

UNDP is supporting the integration of gender issues into the National Communications and Biennial Update Reports, in which countries provide regular information and status updates on their progress towards implementation of the UNFCCC. Not only does the Convention encourage countries to integrate gender considerations into specific areas of work, including in these National Communications; but incorporating gender aspects into national systems for monitoring and reporting also contributes to increased transparency, improved planning, enhanced effectiveness and better results.

In this regard, UNDP has developed a gender-responsive tracking tool for national climate action and sustainable development, which helps national governments integrate gender into their climate action planning and policy-making and ensures the participation of women at all levels. This Gender-Responsive National Communications Tool Kit provides step-by-step guidance on how to integrate gender into the development of National Communications – from the preparation stage to stocktaking and analysing national circumstances, workshops to initiate communication processes, and reporting on constraints, gaps and needs that ought to be addressed in future planning.

UNDP launched the toolkit in English last year.  This year, to expand its use worldwide, the toolkit was translated into French and Spanish, with the support of the Governments of Belgium and Uruguay.

The toolkit is already contributing to the integration of gender into planning on climate change. The Government of Albania, for example, used it to develop guidelines for mainstreaming gender into climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes and plans. The guidelines, which will support future planning and programming, have already been cited in the country’s Third National Communication as a good practice to be applied.

Gender is also included in India’s second National Communication, which highlights that gender equality organizations were among the stakeholders that were included in the more than 30 consultations, meetings and trainings conducted during the development of its second National Communication.

Taking stock of men’s and women’s different knowledge, skills and needs in tracking progress on national climate action illuminates the situations of men and women in key climate sectors --how men and women are involved in managing their environment, including what they know and how they participate in decision-making. This information helps to clarify the overall picture of the effects of climate change on different countries and groups of citizens.

For instance, for its second National Communication, Malawi comprehensively assessed gender issues and roles related to climate change.  Throughout Malawi’s National Communication, there are references to men and women’s activities, needs and potential to contribute information to government. For example, emphasizing the disproportional effects of climate change on women, the report includes information on how women are more vulnerable during drought periods as the primary collectors of water for household use.The report also notes the involvement of the Ministry responsible for gender and children and highlights the contributions of key social and environmental NGOs.

Ladies and gentlemen, the National Communications and Biennial Update Reports will become the backbone of national and international climate strategies. Gender-responsive considerations make sustainable development and climate policies simply better for all, for those more often left behind.

Thank you.

UNDP Around the world