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Climate Finance Fundamentals 10: Gender and Climate Finance

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Women form the majority of the world’s more than 3 billion people, or 47% of the world’s population, who live in poverty and the majority of the close to 700 million in extreme poverty, of the 760 million without access to electricity and the over 2.3 billion still cooking with traditional biomass, with the numbers only expected to slowly start recovering in 2023 after years of lost progress during 2020- 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They are often disproportionally affected by climate change impacts, including the accelerating losses and damages, 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 (UNFCCC, 2011). While the majority of efforts have focused on adaptation so far, more emphasis on increasing women’s participation and decision-making in mitigation actions is required, including by ensuring gender equity in a just transition to low-carbon economies and increasing access to green jobs (UNIDO, 2021; ILO, 2015 and 2022). Addressing the gendered impact of loss and damage will also require more attention (OHCHR, 2023). 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 largely gender-blind, but over the past decade have made significant efforts to integrate gender considerations more systematically by updating and improving relevant fund structures and policies. 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 and improve the accountability for gender equality outcomes of climate actions.

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Date of Publication
March 2024
ODI and Heinrich Böll Foundation, Washington, DC
Number of Pages
Language of publication