Climate financing as Gender equality catalyst[1]

climate-change

Relations between climate change and gender equality are more and more in the focus. A lot (but not nearly enough) has already been said about disproportional effects that climate change have on women, who constitute the majority of the population already affected by climate change or being under the direct threat. Worldwide, women have less access to opportunities such as change of job, to travel, own land, participate in legal/political/social processes and decision making, etc. All this lower women’s access and possibilities to equally (if at all) participate in local and global processes of fighting climate change.

I would like to believe that we do not have to open the debate why gender perspective should be taken into account when talking about climate change. If not for the all above mentioned, women account for about 50% of the population and we can’t ignore half of the target group.

However tireless efforts of the civil society, activists and politicians succeeded in bringing to light gender perspective in climate change discussions, education, and decision making. Hereby we will take a short look into climate financing and its gender perspectives.

First of all it has to be clear that making climate finance gender sensitive did not happen just like that. We should rather see it as big victory for outspoken climate feminists. Two basic perspectives on which this framework is based on are: true sustainability can not be achieved without gender perspective, and gender equality can not be achieved unless integrated at the very beginning of the process and in every aspect of the process.

Speaking about concrete funds[2], for example, already in 2011 Kyoto protocol Adaptation fund and Global Environmental Facility (GEF) had certain gender mainstreaming references. These were important steps but there was still a lot to be done. In 2014 for example only 18% of the projects under the GEF Climate mitigation work addressed gender.

The Green climate fund is the first multilateral fund to include gender equality in all layers of its work. For example gender equality as regards boards or staff is not only applicable to the fund’s own structure but to all stakeholders’ as well. All implementers of the project need to prove gender mainstreamed portfolio, proving that gender equality is not only a project requirement for one small part of their act, but organically embedded in the stakeholders’ principles of operation. This affects multinational banks, development funds, consulting agencies and other institutions that were of course not the biggest fans of #WomenOnBoards alike initiatives. Needless to say that when it came to final beneficiaries, projects needed to prove a sustainable contribution to gender equality and an improved position of women.

It is worth mentioning that climate funds’ gendered regulations work in favor for small to medium enterprises, as they are more likely to be owned by women or at least have better gender balance records then big multinational consortiums. Thus we see that gender regulations boost diversification of involved actors as well as make climate action more rooted to the local level.

Climate funds are contributing to gender equality a great deal. Though we need to safeguard achieved regulations and make them mandatory for other funds as well. Civil society, women organizations, etc. must be involved in monitoring and evaluation processes and ensure that work done through climate funds complement and amplify our struggles for women rights in other fields as well.

/Vesna Jusup

Works with member relations at the European Green Party secretariat 

Former project leader at Cooperation and Development Network of Eastern Europe

 

[1] *This text was inspired and fueled by Liane Schalatek, Associate director at Heinrich Boell Foundation North America office, who tirelessly pushes for gender issues to be in the agenda of Climate discussions and close to the heart of the Climate financing

[2] Schalatek, Nakhooda: Gender and Climate Finance, Overseas development institute, 2016  https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/9321.pdf

 

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