Written by Diana Carrillo Risi, BCCIC Youth Delegate to UNFCCC SB-50
The Importance of Women and Gender Advancements in UNFCCC
Incorporating gender equity in climate change is crucial in order to promote women’s participation in climate change. Women play an important role as their knowledge and leadership at both local and international levels will be crucial in order to advance climate change talks. Empowering women to share their knowledge with regards to climate change can lead for effective implementation of climate policy actions. Women’s voices and views should be seen as agents for change and not as “victims”. The incorporation of gender equity and equal gender representation in climate change talks will create a safe space for women to do so.
Gender Advancements in the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change (UNFCCC) were launched in Conference of the Parties (COP20) through the Lima Work Programme (LWPG) on Gender. The LWPG was a two-year programme that focused on gender equity in the climate change negotiations. After these two years, the creation of the Gender Action Plan (GAP) was agreed upon at COP23, advocating to strengthen the gender roles in climate change, especially the role of women and girls who are the most vulnerable and most affected. In Katowice, COP24 concluded that it was crucial for parties in the Subsidiary Body of Implementation (SBI 50) to identify areas of improvement and new areas that should be incorporated into the GAP. Constituted bodies and observers at SBI50 are given until August 30th, 2019 to give their feedback on the LWPG and the GAP, in order to aid in the continuation of further dialogue on gender and climate change. Identifying these areas would be crucial in order to implement a subsequent action plan at COP25. At COP25, parties will review the full discussions and arrive a consensus on the next steps that must be followed to create a subsequent action plan.
The Crucial Role of SB50
SB50 this year is currently taking place in Bonn, and in the SBI50 on gender and climate action, parties were engaged in workshops and negotiations on gender and climate action focusing on six priority areas:
- Capacity- building [and learning]
- Knowledge management and communication
- Gender balance, participation and women’s leadership
- Gender-responsive implementation
- Monitoring, Evaluation and reporting [and learning]
SB50 is important in the negotiations surrounding gender and climate change, as a new action plan is required after the conclusion of the GAP’s two year programme. SB50 is therefore important as it includes a list of possible activities that address the diverse priority areas, and moreover analyze the outcomes of LWPG and the GAP in order to create a subsequent action plan that is newly improved. The conclusions of this SBI50 will be crucial for the creation of a future subsequent action plan.
I began following the gender and climate change negotiations attending gender workshops, where I was in a group that consisted of parties and observers. Together we brainstormed ideas and gave feedback with regards to the six priority areas. It was interesting to listen to diverse parties perspectives and their thoughts on what had worked or had not worked in the LWPG and the GAP. Topics that arose encompassed the importance of maintaining capacity building and gender workshops, knowledge sharing in order to create effective platforms for action surrounding gender, gender balance in participation in UNFCCC, and more (read the SBI50 Informal Report on Gender Workshop if you would like to refer to the informal report created)!
The Negotiations were positive moving rapidly through the documents adding and changing words and phrases throughout the draft documents. Each party was welcome to express their views throughout the negotiations. In addition, all parties agreed upon the need of having a gender plan that has a time frame of more than two years in order to assure that there will be sufficient implementation time, but this will be discussed in more detail at COP25.
As a first time delegate, I attended a variety of negotiations and out of all of the ones I attended I found that the gender and climate change negotiations would progress rapidly and parties would reach a consensus promptly. Parties had similar goals and objectives, which allowed for a more comprehensive discussion. I feel fortunate to have witnessed such a hopeful negotiation conclude on a positive note with its revisions on GAP. It felt surreal to be in a room with the gender and climate action parties negotiators and it felt amazing to have witnessed the progress of the negotiations on gender and climate action.