Women form the majority of the world’s 2.1 billion living in poverty and of the 736 million in extreme poverty, of the just under one billion without access to electricity and the 2.6 billion still cooking with traditional biomass. They are often disproportionally affected by climate change impacts which aggravate existing gender inequalities and as a result of persisting gender norms and discriminations. Women and men also contribute to climate change responses in different ways. The Cancun Agreements acknowledge that gender equality and the effective participation of women are important for all aspects of any response to climate change, but especially for adaptation. Gender-responsive climate financing instruments and funding allocations are needed. This is a matter of using scarce public funding in an equitable, efficient and effective way. It also acknowledges that climate finance decisions are not made within a normative vacuum, but must be guided by the acknowledgement of women’s rights as unalienable human rights. Many climate funds started out gender-blind, but over the past few years have recognised the need to consider gender retroactively, resulting in important fund structure and policy improvements. In contrast, the Green Climate Fund, the main multilateral climate fund for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, started out with a mandate to integrate a gender perspective from the outset into its policy frameworks and funding operations. While important advances in existing climate funds have been made, new best practices for gender-responsiveness in funding climate actions are needed by addressing not only the way how, but also what they will fund. This note outlines some key principles and actions for making climate-financing instruments more responsive to the needs of men and women as equal participants in decision-making and as beneficiaries of climate actions and supportive of gender equality more broadly.
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC