The Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) is one of the nine official stakeholder groups of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The WGC established in 2009 and now consists of about 30 women’s and environmental civil society organizations and networks.
The WGC participated in the COP27 in order to achieve a substantive review of progress and challenges in the implementation of the five-year gender action plan (GAP).
The first “Gender Action Plan” (GAP) under the UNFCCC was established in 2017 (Decision 3/CP.23), with the aim to promote “the implementation of gender-related decisions and mandates under the UNFCCC process”. The GAP defines five priority areas for action and contains a set of 16 specific activities for the two years following its adoption.
In 2019, at the COP 25 celebrated in Madrid, Parties agreed a 5-year enhanced the “Lima Work Programme on Gender” (LWPG) and the “Gender Action Plan” (GAP) with the Decision 3/CP.25. This Decision “recognizes that the full, meaningful and equal participation and leadership of women in all aspects of the UNFCCC process and in national and local-level climate policy and action is vital for achieving long-term climate goals” and states that “gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation of climate policy and action can enable Parties to raise ambition”. It is quite noteworthy, because for the first time ever, a COP decision recognizes not only the “procedural dimension” of climate justice, but also the “distributive and intersectional dimension” of gendered climate justice, accepting the intersectional identities that people hold, including indigenous women. Accordingly, it says,
“climate change impacts on women and men can often differ owing to historical and current gender inequalities and multidimensional factors and can be more pronounced in developing countries and for local communities and indigenous people”.
The enhanced GAP sets out objectives and activities under five priority areas contained in its earlier version. These areas aim to advance knowledge and understanding of gender-responsive climate action and its coherent mainstreaming in the implementation of the UNFCCC and the work of Parties, the secretariat, United Nations entities and all stakeholders at all levels, as well as women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in the UNFCCC process.
Unfortunately, the 2019 LWPG and GAP respond timidly to the effective gender-responsive call. There are still significant weaknesses in the GAP. First, gender is often used as a synonym for women, instead of more extensive approach, including gender-non-conforming people, who are increasingly demanding representation and visibility in the UNFCCC process and at the grassroots level. Second, a high share of activities included in the GAP do not go beyond capacity building and information sharing. Second, the GAP still lacks quantifiable indicators and targets for measuring its progress. Third and perhaps most importantly, it is urgent that the financial commitments called upon in the LWPG are rapidly translated into concrete means to implement the GAP, otherwise it will be completely jeopardised. Finally, the current disregard of governments to review its NDCs and accelerate action to implement the Paris Agreement endangers effective gender-responsive climate action altogether. Thus, although all highlighted milestones achieved in this enhanced work program and action plan, the beginnings of the GAP have been discreet towards assuming inequalities and intersectionalities to cope with gendered climate injustices.
Thus, during several years of climate negotiations, the unwillingness of fully incorporating the principles of gender equality and human rights constituted a serious roll back for people-centered and rights-based climate action at large. Although the advances of the “Lima Work Programme on Gender” and the “Gender Action Plan” are welcome, the equal participation of women in climate change processes at all levels continues to be a necessity to address deep-rooted social and cultural inequalities, that can act as limitations for the real inclusion of gender, preventing from participating in a meaningful way. In this sense, true ‘climate gender democracy’ still lacks this effective inclusion at all levels of climate policies and decision-making.
Again this COP27 has been characterised by a lack of progress on gender mainstreaming and the failure of Parties to truly prioritise this agenda and resource the National Gender and Climate Change Focal Points (NGCCPs). This is especially relevant as the most recent IPCC report, which includes a chapter on gender and climate justice that identifies pathways to a just transition, a starting point for any gender-transformative implementation of climate action.
Before such shortcomings, the ‘climate gender democracy’ needs to incorporate the climate justice and the intersectionality approach in policies and laws to overcome vulnerabilities based on women-men and expand the understanding regarding non-binary social intersections, that impact the ways in which people mitigate and build resilience to climate impacts. If climate policies and laws, including the UNFCCC regime, ignore the diverse social and gender dimensions of people's lives, the inequalities will exacerbate and are less likely to contribute to actual sustainable development. Therefore, the real climate democracy will be not possible to achieve in times of climate emergency.
WGC: Download the statement as a PDF here.
#COP27GAPGENDER ACTION PLAN
 UNFCCC Secretariat reports “Executives summary on the implementation of the Lima work programme on gender and its gender action plan” and “Synthesis report on the implementation of the Lima work programme on gender and its gender action plan” accessible here: <https://unfccc.int/topics/gender/events-meetings/gender-in-the-intergovernmental-process/LWPG-and-GAP-review#eq-4>, (accessed 28 August 2022).
 See the Decision 3/CP.25. Available at: <https://unfccc.int/documents/210471>, (accessed 3 June 2022).
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Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow (H2020-MSCA-IF-2020)nº101031252