Date: 16 June 2009
“Communication lines with Mother Earth have become complicated. Our practices of thousands of years are becoming difficult,” implored an indigenous man from Bolivia, on behalf of his government’s delegation, as Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met from 1-12 June in Bonn, Germany, to advance negotiation of a climate change framework for post-2012. References to the human dimension of climate change and the policies needed to address it are increasingly common at the ongoing UNFCCC international climate change talks, expected to culminate in an agreement at the Conference of Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.
Gender advocates, indigenous peoples, labour representatives and the youth have become increasingly visible and coordinated in their efforts to build awareness of the human face to climate change, as well as the need to include all stakeholders in designing and implementing an effective response. And, governments are increasingly reflecting these aspects in submissions to the text under negotiation.
Since the climate talks last year in Poznan, Poland, text with gender-specific references has increased from zero to six in the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA). This includes submitted language that adaptation measures “be consistent with the Principles of CEDAW” and that gender equity be considered “an integral part of effective implementation of adaptation.” In addition, references have been submitted regarding other relevant social aspects, including utilizing sex-disaggregated socio-economic data in the framework for monitoring, reporting and verification, ensuring that adaptation measures are socially-sound as well as environmentally-sound, and repeated references to women’s and/or all stakeholder participation.
The Icelandic Delegation has taken the lead on submitting specific text on behalf of gender issues. However, many others have made interventions over the course of the two sessions in Bonn, as well, including the Czech Republic on behalf of European Union; Lesotho on behalf of the least developed countries; Guatemala on behalf of the Central American countries; and Bangladesh, Bolivia, Gambia, Japan, Norway and Uganda. No longer a side-issue, social and gender dimensions of climate change are increasingly understood and spoken of by numerous delegations as they continue to develop the emerging post-Kyoto climate change agreement.
The overarching aim of the UNFCCC agreement is to combat climate change by reducing aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by Parties. The aim is to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases at or below the level recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to avoid the likelihood of detrimental ecological impacts from crossing the 2° Celsius global surface temperature threshold, compared with the pre-industrial global temperature.
This mitigation effort is being addressed primarily through the Ad Hoc Working Group on Kyoto Protocol track, which will reflect Parties’ emission reduction targets. Simultaneously, a framework is being negotiated for the implementation of mitigation strategies, as well as implementation of three other areas prescribed in the Bali Plan of Action: adaptation, finance and technology transfer (including capacity-building). This second stream of negotiations on implementation is via the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention.
UNIFEM — an official observer to the UNFCCC and member of Global Gender and Climate Alliance — has worked closely with a team of gender advocates from around the world, co-lead by Women’s Environment and Development Organization and Energia, to increase awareness of gender dimensions of climate change and related policies, as well as provide technical support to Governments regarding the AWG-LCA negotiation text.
Upcoming negotiation sessions will take place from 10-14 August in Bonn, Germany, 28 September-9 October in Bangkok, Thailand, and 2-6 November in Barcelona, Spain. COP-15 is set to take place 7-18 December in Copenhagen, Denmark.
For more information on these UNFCCC climate talks, click here.