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Climate Finance Fundamentals 10: Gender and Climate Finance

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Women form the majority of the world’s 1.9 billion population who live in poverty and of the close to 700 million in extreme poverty, of the 770 million without access to electricity and the 2.6 billion still cooking with traditional biomass, with the numbers expected to significantly rise in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They are often disproportionally affected by climate change impacts which aggravate existing gender inequalities 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 (UNFCCC, 2011). 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. This has resulted 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 that address not only how, but also what, they will fund.

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Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC
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