Putting the Women in Climate Finance

Climate finance is a more than just about money. Women empowerment and gender equality are important cross cutting themes in the realm of climate finance. This is because climate change makes a bigger impact on women and girls than on men. There are many reasons why this is the case and you can read this and this to understand more about how climate change impacts them differently. Ergo, effective adaptation and mitigation solutions should take gender into account. And climate finance should also be directed appropriately.

Financiers and policymakers are beginning to understand this need. As the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) notes, more and more money is being channelled into gender-sensitive projects “intended to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment or reduce discrimination and inequality based on sex”.

During 2015-2016, a quarter of all climate-related development finance went towards gender-sensitive projects. About 81% of them had a significant gender objective. They included monitoring the impact of adaptation and mitigation projects on women, providing agricultural inputs to farmers, training rural women to become solar technicians, and working with women-related micro-finance institutions and savings groups to create demand for and access to clean energy products.

About US$14 billion was reportedly channelled to projects with a gender objective during 2015-2016. The actual figure might have been higher. Most countries represented in the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) include gender as a reporting marker. However, not all multi-lateral organisations follow this. Only a few such as the World Bank and the Green Climate Fund do so. More such organisations should include OECD’s “gender-equality policy marker” in projects across their board to give us a more accurate picture of how much finance gets channeled into such projects in the future.

This marker is also used by the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF), which advises the Conference of Parties to the Paris Agreement. Its purview includes the major climate funds under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Most of these funds have their own gender policies. This gender-equality policy marker is used as a qualitative statistical tool for evaluating bilateral aid for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5. SDG 5 addresses gender equality and it can help identify gaps between policy and financial commitments.

Another obstacle to effective data collection and therefore an obstacle to securing an accurate picture of climate flows, is that climate finance has not been properly defined. This has caused some debate at the SCF meetings. The committee’s working definition is “financial resources dedicated to adapting to and mitigating climate change globally, including in the context of financial flows to developing countries”. However a lack of a proper definition will mean that some flows get missed out while others that may not be going towards climate change adaptation and mitigation programs per se get included. 

On the whole, the woman has been put into climate finance. However more can be done to develop the framework so that climate finance can be used more effectively to address the gender aspect of climate change solutions. And it would ensure more meaningful financial flows towards gender-sensitive climate projects. The Paris Agreement is scheduled to come into force in 2020. The SCF has a lot of work to do in the next two years on setting up the framework to be recommended to the Conference of the Parties (COP). After that its in the hands of parties to move forward as quickly as possible while maintaining the integrity of their discussions.

Gender Day in COP21- Discovering Gender Responsiveness

Gender Day in COP21- Discovering Gender Responsiveness

Women could play a crucial role in climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions by using their knowledges and stewards on natural and household resources. I attended a workshop during Gender Day about the solution on the policy making level organised by Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) , called the “Reality check – how tools, guidance, finance and cooperation under the UNFCCC support implementation of gender- responsive policy on the ground”.

The session explored on how the recommendations from the Expert Group Meeting in Bonn, November 2015 builds on a UN toolkit on gender-responsive National Communications. This session was pretty technical and new to me- so many “first time”.

It was my first time coming across the how to incorporate gender equity in policy making. Key issues for gender-responsive climate action for sustainable development includes:

  • The case for gender main streaming in climate policy and action;
  • Incorporation of gender considerations in technology-related processes and mechanisms; and
  • Incorporation of gender perspectives in climate finance. It never came across my mind that gender and technology or even climate finance can be related.

I met with Sunitha from National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO) Malaysia- someone that I could talk to on gender issues.

I learnt that technology is not gender-neutral. All these inequalities and stereotypes of technology being male-dominant, especially in cases of heavily mechanised sectors, will lead to the inadequate reflection of gender considerations in the development, transfer and diffusion of climate technologies as well as the implementation of Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) and other technology-related mechanisms and processes in the UNFCCC.

For instance, lack of participation of women in assessing climate technology needs in developing countries, e.g. in the development and promotion of solar cook stoves, can result in the slow adoption of the technology. In addition, gender equality considerations must become integral to technologies for climate change adaptation and mitigation in order to reverse the potentially harmful misperception of technology as gender-neutral, and overcome the false association of small-scale, household- based and traditional technologies as more relevant to women and the large-scale technology infrastructures as the domain of men.

As for climate finance; I learnt that women would have to stay at home to take care of their family members while man normally have more freedom to migrate due to work.

In agricultural areas, women are also the ones mainly responsible for crops production. Climate change which widely affect the food production will have to make women to do more work but for lesser food. This further leads to women’s less economic independent as compare to man, which also reduces their financial capacity to adapt to changes- such as to prepare more storage for food; or to repair house parts.

I have learnt that it is particularly unfortunate that women are less likely than men to receive funding for climate-related initiatives. Compounding the problem is that most funders do not have adequate programs or systems in place to support women and their solutions for climate change at the grassroots. That less than 1% of all worldwide grants go to projects at the intersection of women and climate is a clear reflection of this critical funding gap.

So, back to my personal reflection- Gender Day indeed is an emotional yet informative day for me. So many “first time” moment and I am glad that I learnt something out of it! All in all, it was a fruitful day especially on the great combination of the sessions that I have attended- from hearing the voices of direct victims to understanding what had been done from both community and the international side. I am looking forward at the outcome incorporating gender equality in combating climate change with this comprehensive approach of both bottom-up and top-down approach.

Benefits of gender-inclusive planning. (Source from UNDP GENDER RESPONSIVE NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS TOOLKIT http://unfccc.int/files/gender_and_climate_change/application/pdf/undp_gender_responsive_national_communications_toolkit.pdf)

Benefits of gender-inclusive planning. (Source from UNDP GENDER RESPONSIVE NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS TOOLKIT)

Written by: Emily Oi
Key Issue in COP21: Climate Finance

Key Issue in COP21: Climate Finance

Money is always the problem solver of many things, but it is also the trouble maker.

Inevitably, the process of drafting an agreement that will be acceptable for 196 parties faces the same problem.

The climate finance issue very critical as the wealthy countries are supposed to provide sufficient funding for the poorer countries to overcome loss and damage caused by climate change and also to develop economies with lower carbon emission. The developing countries did not cause this problem as they only contribute a small share of the greenhouse gases (GHG) which incur the climate change crisis. So rationally, the developed nations should pay for the price of adaptation and mitigation.

Four main arguments under this issue are the amount of post-2020 finance to be mobilized, the financial contributors, the loss and damage and the distribution of climate funds between mitigation and adaptation.

Amount of post-2020 Finance should be mobilized
Many developing countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) requested financial support to achieve certain amount of emission reduction. The developed countries are urged to scale up their financial contribution, referring the $100 billion per year contribution as the “floor”, by 2020 to unlock the emission cutting goals of the developing countries. The amount of climate finance to be mobilized will be a strong indicator for many stakeholders, including the investors because it will show the prospect and potnetial of the green industry in the future.

Who will be paying the bill?
Arguments arose on the question of who will be obligated to contribute to the fund and pay for climate change. Is it only the developed countries contributing or both the developed and developing countries? Is it on voluntary basis or with legal restriction? Developed countries want the emerging developing economies who do not have historical responsibility for emission to contribute to the fund while many of the developing countries like India are still struggling in domestic poverty issue. Therefore, the Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) principle plays an important role in climate finance too. If the principle is taken into account, the bill will be paid by the developed countries. Read more about CBDR here.

Loss & Damage
Climate change is already happening now; many vulnerable countries are now drowning in the impacts of climate change. There are certain consequences that have been done could not be reversed or cured, such as the typhoons in Philippines. Permanent damages are wound that need constant medication and cannot be cure thoroughly. In order to get funds to alleviate the loss that countries have already faced, the Least Developed Countries (LDC) and other most vulnerable countries are fighting to make sure that the developed countries are going to compensate them.

Distribution of climate funds between adaptation and mitigation
Many developing countries also demand the distribution of funds between mitigation and adaptation to be balance because they are the frontline community that are more vulnerable towards the climate change. In order to reduce the potential risk of facing loss and damages, they need more funds for adaptation to prevent disastrous effects from jeopardizing them. The developed countries are very mitigation-focused and this caused the distribution of finance between adaptation and mitigation to be one of the hot topics in COP21.

Written by: Elaine See

climate cartoon

What’s next at the December Climate Change Talks? COP21

What’s next at the December Climate Change Talks? COP21

Philippe Zeller, France’s Ambassador at large for climate change, Asia and Oceania.

Philippe Zeller, France’s Ambassador at large for climate change, Asia and Oceania.

Philippe Zeller, France’s Ambassador at large for climate change, Asia and Oceania.

The December UN Climate Change conference in Paris offers a last chance to reach a deal that would keep global warming from reaching risky levels, says UN climate chief Christiana Figueres. But with greenhouse gasses projected to rise to more than 4 Celsius, can countries even make the necessary cuts? And how will the Paris talks succeed when previous conferences have failed to come up with any concrete pledges? Here to answer these questions is France’s Ambassador at large for climate change for Asia and Oceania, Philippe Zeller.

Original Podcast : http://www.bfm.my/philippe-zeller-what-next-at-the-december-climate-change-talks.html