COP26: Bold commitments to put gender equality at forefront

Put women on frontline of climate crisis: Christian Aid.(photo:
Image used for representational purpose. Image courtesy: IANS

Glasgow: Countries and non-state actors have come forward with new commitments and initiatives that will strengthen the resilience of women and girls in the face of climate-related impacts, while empowering them within climate action, at COP26 Gender Day in Glasgow.

These new commitments build upon in excess of $139 million in pledges already made towards the UN Women-convened Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice, launched at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris in July.

During the 'Advancing Gender Equality in Climate Action' event held on Tuesday, countries set out bold new steps and ambitious pledges to ensure climate action is gender-responsive and to improve women's leadership and meaningful participation in climate action.

Progress, from Generation Equality Action Coalition members and other actors, included Bolivia committing to promote the leadership of women and girls, especially indigenous, Afro-Bolivian, community and rural women, through their participation in the design of sustainable development projects.

Bolivia also committed to reflect gender data in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and to work with UN Women to promote the use of gender breakdowns in official national statistics on environment and climate change.

Canada continues to support women's leadership and decision-making in climate action and ensures that 80 per cent of its $4.3 billion climate investments over the next five years target gender equality outcomes.

Canada is also pursuing investments to link environment and socio-economic data, including gender through a Census of the Environment; leading the Equal by 30 campaign to advance gender equality in clean energy and has signed on to the multi-stakeholder Gender and Energy Compact at COP26.

Ecuador committed to strengthen leadership, negotiation, and decision-making capacities within women's organisations working on climate. Ecuador also committed to prioritising the most vulnerable women and children and developing them as agents of change in climate change adaptation efforts; to increase analysis on the impact of climate change decisions on women and to integrate violence prevention into climate action.

Germany announced a new Gender Strategy under its International Climate Initiative (IKI) which will promote gender-transformative approaches in international climate and biodiversity cooperation.

Sweden announced new measures to firmly embed gender equality within all their climate action, including a work plan to integrate a gender perspective in all the core operations of the Swedish Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

The UK set out how $223 million in funding will address the dual challenges of gender inequality and climate change. The COP26 Presidency also funded six female negotiators representing less-developed countries to participate and attend COP26 through the Women Delegates Fund.

The US promotes gender equity and equality in mitigating and responding to climate change as a strategic priority of the US Government National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality; investing at least $14 million of the Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund toward gender-responsive climate programming.

Progress was welcomed by Sabra Noordeen, Special Envoy for Climate Change of the Maldives, who spoke at the event.

The Maldives co-leads the Feminist Action for Climate Justice coalition, alongside Costa Rica. These announcements help build momentum internationally to drive implementation of the Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25, ahead of the sixty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) in March 2022 which will focus on gender equality in the context of climate change, the environment and disaster risk reduction.

Indigenous leader Tarcila Rivera Zea said: "Mother Earth is only one when all of humanity has equal rights. All of us need to make a real effort to stop the negative climate impact in our territories and lives. It is the responsibility of all leaders and business actors to guarantee dignity for future generations."

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