Climate Finance Must Be Gendered

Posted on 04 December 2010 by admin

By Mantoe Phakathi

CANCÚN, Dec 4, 2010 (IPS/TerraViva) – Gender inequalities magnify the impacts of climate change on women worldwide. Activists with the network Gender CC – Women for Climate Justice say that financing a response to climate change must take this into account and be responsive to the needs of women.

Across the global South, where climate change is already threatening the health, security and incomes of poor communities, women have unequal access to ownership of land and other resources that are key to resilience to shocks such as climate change. Women typically labour in farms or informal businesses without ever gaining control over decision-making.

“Women are marginalised in decision-making in African countries and the same holds true on issues of climate change where they are most affected,” said Eunice Warue, of Gender-CC Kenya.

This marginalisation comes at a cost not just to women, but to society as a whole. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) says sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural production could increase by as much as 20 percent, if women had equal access to land or credit for example.

As representatives of nearly 200 governments negotiate over designing a response to climate change, activists insist gender must be taken into account.

Gender-CC is calling on all parties at the negotiating table in the Mexican city of Cancún to consult widely with women and poor communities to ensure a gender-balanced outcome in the adaptation fund.

“Women’s meaningful participation and community consultation must also be ensured in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the projects that are to be funded,” said Kelebogile Nthite, a member of Gender-CC South Africa.

As they push for their place in the sun at the climate change negotiations, African women are in solidarity with their sisters throughout the world to shape an agreement.

Nina Somera, from Gender CC in the Philippines, weighs in on the broad priorities for mitigation and adaptation.

“The group recommends that money be allocated for public infrastructure such as water, transport and not highly sophisticated but risky technologies such as nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage.”

But she said countries should not forget fundamental issues affecting women, including food and water and access to land which must be immediately addressed.

“Unless these older issues are addressed, the availability of more money might only fuel a scramble for resources resulting to further dispossessions, indignity and violence against women,” said Somera.


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