The ongoing 23rd Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) marks two years since the signing of the Paris Agreement (PA). While the call for accelerated action on climate change and the commitments to the PA have been gaining attention, COP23 is also an important landmark year in terms several other processes, including gender.
The Fijian presidency hosting the 23rd COP and the UNFCCC have reiterated the importance of the equitable involvement of women in sustainable development and the implementation of climate policies, including the Gender Action Plan (GAP). Therefore, the duration of COP23, spanning from 6th to 17th of November, will feature not only formal and established processes related to decisions and mandates under the Lima Work Programme on Gender and the GAP, but also other events place gender center-stage and will serve to highlight issues of gender-equality and climate justice in the implementation of the PA and other climate processes.
One of the key outcomes and priorities expected of COP23, is a decisive action to finalise the GAP which is being developed by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) under the Lima work plan on gender (LWPG). Decision 21/CP.22 agreed to in Marrakesh at COP22 extends the LWPG to COP 25 in 2019. Parties were called to submit their views on possible elements of the GAP to be developed under the LWPG before the 25th of January 2017.
An informal consultation was held on the 6th of November regarding the progress and development of the GAP with the technical support provided by the gender focal point to the UNFCCC Secretariat. In accordance, informal informal consultations lead by Costa Rica with Parties saw the development of a draft proposal for the GAP which was submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat. The priority elements in the draft included;
The draft of the GAP will be further discussed among Parties during the informal informal session and the informal consultations. The session on the 6th outlined several concerns of Parties in terms of the timeframe for implementation of the GAP which is to be for two years and need for streamlining and prioritisation of the activities included in the GAP. However, a strong ambition on the part of the Parties for an deliverable decision on development of a robust, result-oriented Gender Action Plan could be seen.
In addition to the work on the GAP, the Secretariat has also continued collaboration with the GEF Gender Partnership partners, GEF Small Grants Programme and the UNITAR in order to develop an open source online training course on UNFCCC and other Rio Conventions. Further provision of technical assistance for informal consultations held by Parties, and alignment of implementation PA and other Sustainable Development Goals through inter-agency collaboration with gender focal points in other Rio Conventions has also been a focus of the Secretariat with the aim of enhancing efficient use of resources both within the Secretariat and at national level.
With regard to COP23, the UNFCCC gender focal point have carried out capacity building in terms of providing a technical paper on achieving the goal of gender balance in Party delegations and constituted bodies, and briefing Regional Group Chairs and Coordinators in the context of nominations and elections for the constituted bodies.
UNFCCC secretariat has been organizing an annual Gender Day during the sessions of the UNFCCC COP in collaboration with Governments, United Nations organizations, intergovernmental organizations, civil societies and the private sectors in order to raise awareness on the importance of gender considerations and celebrating women’s climate action. On the 14th of November, UNFCCC will be hosting its annual Gender Day with the aim of highlighting how gender-responsive climate policy and action can provide economic benefits to communities and create opportunities for raising ambition under national climate plans, while transforming lives, particularly of women and girls. A high level event on the topic of, “the economic case for gender responsive climate action” will be held from 11:30 – 13:00 at the Bonn Zone, and will delineate an economic perspective on why climate policy and action that considers the needs and perspectives of both women and men are being sought by National , Sub-national and local level actors.
In addition a “Market Place” showcasing products and services that support the implementation of gender-responsive climate policy and action will take place from 1pm to 6 pm at the North East Walkway in the Bonn Zone.
Note: The negotiations of the GAP will continue and a continuation to this post will be added as the negotiations of COP23 develop.