Gender equality and climate change
From left, Philippe Lefort, ambassador of France, Bruno Figueroa, ambassador of Mexico, and Alejandro Rodriguez Zamora, ambassador of Costa Rica to the Republic of Korea.
The P4G Summit was successfully completed just a few days ago. We congratulate the Korean government on this result, which owes much to its commitment.
The year 2021 is a crucial year for climate and biodiversity. Many other events will mark the coming months, including the IUCN World Congress in Marseille in September, the COP15 biodiversity conference in Kunming in October and the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November.
However, the environmental emergency must not make us forget another major issue, which is linked to it: Gender equality.
For 2021 is also a decisive year for gender equality. The Generation Equality Forum, organized by UN Women, was launched on 30 March in Mexico City in the presence of 10,000 participants. It will culminate in Paris from 30 June to 2 July at a Summit, gathering leaders from around the world. It is the largest conference on gender equality since the 1995 Beijing Conference. Participants from every sector of society, including States, civil society, private sector, are in close consultation with a view to announcing concrete commitments during the Summit. We hope that Korea too will answer the call.
The link between these two issues has long been known. As early as 1992, the Convention on Biological Diversity recognized, in its preamble, the role of women in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The Paris Climate Agreement, which celebrated its fifth anniversary last December, emphasized that action to adapt to climate change should be “gender sensitive.” Yet this link is not obvious to everyone.
Why making it a gender issue when climate change and biodiversity loss affect us all without distinction? Because women and girls are more affected than men due to the roles they are often assigned. Women are 14 times more likely to die in climate-related disasters. In many parts of the world, women are responsible for providing water and wood for heating and cooking. As resources become scarcer, they must travel greater distances to collect them. Similarly, 60 percent to 80 percent of agricultural production relies on women in developing countries. Bad weather directly affects their resources. Studies have also shown that climate change is leading to an increase in forced marriages — affecting 12 million girls a year — but also a reinforcement of social inequalities, including regarding women’s access to property, education, or their exclusion from decision-making that affects them.
Yet we have also long known that women are part of the solution to environmental disruption. What is needed now is action. How can we achieve this? By giving women their rightful place in ecological transition and climate change resilience policies. By strengthening their training and their presence in decision-making bodies. By giving them the financial means to act. But also, on a State level, by taking them into account in environmental commitments such as the NDCs.
Hoping to win the first battle without fighting the latter is an illusion. We must take decisive action on both fronts without further delay. This is a message that France and Mexico are conveying in the context of their co-presidency of the Green Climate Fund Board and their co-organization of the Generation Equality Forum in 2021. And so is Costa Rica as the champion of the “Feminist Action for Climate Justice Action Coalition” within the Generation Equality Forum.
Many other initiatives have been launched in the past few years, such as the “Great: Gender Responsive Environmental Action and Training,” initiated under the French presidency of G7 in 2019, which aims at training women in climate negotiation, collecting gendered data and sharing knowledge.
Just as the whole world followed the P4G Summit with attention, let’s make the Generation Equality Forum a source of collective inspiration and an opportunity to scale up our action. We invite you to actively support them!