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Missing in Discussions of Climate Change: Women


Rigorous global discussions about climate change are critical as we face one of the greatest threats our planet has ever faced. So the release of the second of a four-part report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) earlier this week was welcomed eagerly by those of us who work on climate change on a daily basis. The report concluded that climate change poses a risk to everything from our food supply to public health. And it touches all of us whether we live in the wealthiest cities or the poorest villages. The latest report is by far one of the most complete scientific documents on climate change. It will guide and serve as a reference in the consolidation of the new framework agreement that should be produced by the end of 2015.

But a review of both the report and media coverage of it shows a glaring omission: Where are the women? To be fair, they are mentioned as victims of these dire changes. But why are they not included as major actors and agents of change in one of the largest threats humanity has faced in modern times?

The fact is that from Africa to Latin America to Asia and North America, women refuse to be passive actors in the face of climate change. Unfortunately, as is clear in the IPPC report and media coverage, that fact is rarely acknowledged.

Women have and are playing an important role in climate change adaptation and mitigation, and new studies have uncovered a positive correlation between the level of women's representation and a country's efforts toward sustainability. Women's contributions to addressing climate change are frequently overlooked, primarily due to such challenges as: obstructed access to markets, capital, training, and technologies; insecure land and tenure rights. The result is a lost opportunity to achieve multiple benefits -- gender equality and women's empowerment could open the door to greater strides to better overall development outcomes, including reducing greenhouse gases and building resilience to climate change impacts.

In partnership with IUCN and thanks to visionary support from Finland, 13 countries and regions have developed ccGAPs -- climate change gender action plans -- that are anchored in existing national climate change processes. Ministries and regional bodies have chosen to establish ccGAPs when there is limited understanding of gender inequalities in the climate change context and when they need to establish avenues to address these inequalities. Countries with ccGAPs are making greater strides toward equitable climate change responses. Among the many examples of how this momentum is leading to change:

Mozambique -- The ccGAP was the catalyst for the inclusion of gender equality measures in the development of the country's Investment Program for the Strategic Program for Climate Resilience under the Climate Investment Funds.

Jordan -- In response to the ccGAP, the Jordanian government signaled that gender mainstreaming is a national priority in the context of climate change and pledged to make gender a primary consideration in the country's third National Communication.

Nepal -- Components of the ccGAP were slated for implementation in the context of the Annual Programs of seven climate change-related ministries and the government's Three Year Program.

Last year, IUCN developed the first-ever tool to monitor government progress toward gender equality and women's empowerment in the environmental arena. TheEnvironment and Gender Index (EGI) provides the first quantitative data on governments' performance translating the gender and environment mandates in the three Rio Conventions and CEDAW into national policy and planning. The resulting information helps policymakers, civil society, and others evaluate progress and identify where the gaps lie in achieving gender equality in the environmental context.

With tools including ccGAPs and the Environment and Gender Index as well as the clear mandates given by the Parties to the United Nation Framework Climate Change in relation to gender, it is inconceivable that gender is entirely missing from the latest IPCC report and the resulting coverage. Climate change is looming way too large for us to address it in anything but a comprehensive way. I urge all those in the IPCC community to embrace one of the most innovative ways to both adapt to and mitigate climate change: Ensuring that gender equality is a key component in achieving climate change goals.

This post was first published on HuffPost Green News

In Norway men say no, thanks

Scandinavia is well known for its large female political representation. However, public debate is still dominated by men. Business conferences with a 100 percent male speaker lineup are not rare. Some of these men are tired of debating only men, and are taking action to change it.
In Sweden and Norway, male speakers are now refusing to participate in conferences and panel discussions without female representation.
This new initiative  wants  men to ask whether women are represented on the programme. If the debate is composed by only men, then the campaign expects men to turn the invitation down say no, thanks.
The campaing uses the  hashtag #tackanej. It was launched in November last year by three men, and was supported by the organization Equalisters. It has attracted more than 200 signatures, ranging from established media personalities to university professors and successful entrepreneurs.
The main goal of the campaign is to turn Say No, Thanks into a Say Yes, Please yes to more female speakers and more diversity in debates and conferences.

Some highlights on how climate and gender are linked

There are women doing all kinds of inspiring actions and showing us the importance of gender equality when addressing climate change.
This year's International Women's Day theme point that ou precisely: 'Equality for women is progress for all'  and even more, when it comes to climate action. 
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, in 2012, Parties to the Convention committed to promoting gender balance and improving the participation of women in UNFCCC negotiations and in the representation of Parties in bodies established under the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol by adopting pdf-icon decision 23/CP.18, which became known as the "Doha Miracle". 
The UNFCCC Women and Gender constituency, the Global Gender and Climate Alliance, UN Women and the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice have been a driving force for advocating gender-sensitive climate policies and capacity-building activities to promote the greater participation of women in the UNFCCC process.
The member organizations of the UNFCCC Women and Gender constituency represent several hundred grassroots groups, national and international organizations and unetworks. The constituency seeks to represent women's voices, experiences, preferences, needs and capacities, and works towards equal representation within Parties and observer organizations to the UNFCCC and the incorporation of gender dimensions and human rights into UNFCCC negotiations for gender-sensitive climate policies all levels.
The tremendous scope and importance of linkages between gender and climate change has been captured in a wide range of resource materials, many of which are available on UN Women's new 'Knowledge Gateway for Women's Economic Empowerment' and UNFCCC's Climate Change Information Network Clearinghouse CC:iNet.

Solar Cooking Around the World: webminar on challenges, Solutions and Best Practices will take place on 04 April 2014 at 3 pm GMT.

Many parts of the world have significant solar thermal energy potential. Therefore, solar power is primarily used, for example, in a few large, desert solar arrays to generate electricity and in rooftop solar hot water systems. Despite the fact that hundreds of millions of families in the developing world could cook their meals with solar thermal energy more than three hundred days per year, there is still today very limited use of this power source for domestic and industrial cooking scale applications. 
As demonstrated by current projects in Chile and India, the use of solar thermal cooking devices in canteens at schools and companies as well as in restaurants is an attractive, sustainable and rational use of solar energy. Solar cooking is a sustainable alternative to the conventional cooking process since variations on this technology can bake and roast foods slowly like an oven, or boil and fry foods as fast as a gas burner. 
Despite significant education and training activities carried out by a large number of solar cooking advocates in sunny European nations like in Portugal and Spain, the use of solar cookers is not yet a common practice for replacing the use of gas and electricity for cooking in these countries.To help spread the word and successfull experiences, the International Solar Energy Society is calling upon a webimnar to address the challenges, solutions and best practices of solar cooking around the world.
The webinar will focus on current examples of the use of solar cookers and on recent technical advances in this technology. It will also present a comparative analysis of the development of solar cooking technology in different latitudes with various cultural parameters and energy situations.
The webinar will take place on 04 April 2014 from 3:00 - 4: 30 pm GMT/UTC. If you are not sure what time the webinar is taking place at your location, check the time at your location here.  Register online here to participate in this webinar. Please do so for the webinar before 04 April 12:00 pm GMT.  

Vemos a las mujeres como vícitmas o agentes activas haciéndole frente al cambio climático? un análisis sobre el discurso de géenero

"En muchos contextos , las mujeres son más vulnerables a los efectos del cambio climático que los hombres - . Principalmente porque constituyen la mayoría de la población pobre del mundo y son más dependientes de los recursos naturales amenazados por el cambio climático, para llevar el sustento al hogar " de ONU Mujeres , 2013
Aunque descuidado hasta hace poco, los debates sobre el papel del género en el cambio climático están empezando surgir lentamente a la superficie. Gran parte de la preocupación es la protección de las vidas y los medios de vida de las mujeres, en condiciones de vulnerablidad y los hombres que dependen de los recursos naturales sensibles al clima .
La mayoría de las organizaciones que trabajan en materia de género y el cambio climático tienden a empezar los análisis y reportes con una premisa similar la que compartimos de ONU Mujeres . Las mujeres, según se dice, que son más dependientes de los recursos naturales y, por tanto , más susceptibles a la variabilidad del clima. También los estudios recientes presentan a las mujeres con menor capacidad de influir en la políticas, y se le ven socialmente marginadas en comparación con sus homólogos masculinos y, por tanto , menos capaces de influir en las políticas y decisiones nacionales que les competen directamente.
Al mismo tiempo, las mujeres se ven como portadoras de conocimientos y habilidades, útiles en procesos de adaptación y mitigación de los impactos del cambio climáico. La implicación entonces es qué las mujeres son una extraña combinación de "víctimas" y "agentes" de cambio en las conversaciones pertinentes los efectos del clima sobre sus medios de supervivencia. Por tanto integrar a las mujeres  en los procesos de formulación de políticas y  acciónes para hacerle frente al cambio climático se considerado como " economía inteligente" .
El género y la pobreza son dos cuestiones distintas
Hay que empezar estableciendo que el género y la pobreza son dos cuestiones distintas y no pueden confundirse. Cecile Jackson, de la Universidad de East Anglia explica que se puede observar una desventaja de género en el infanticidio femenino en la India, por ejemplo, que es un fenómeno de base urbana, relativa a las castas medias y superiores.
Existe también un supuesto qué las mujeres son las más pobres de los pobres, con base en las diferencias en los niveles relativos de pobreza que hay en los hogares donde las mujeres son la cabeza de hogar y en aquellos donde lo son hombres. El aumento de los hogares encabezados por mujeres se relaciona con una serie de factores : por ejemplo, la falta de voluntad de las mujeres a aceptar relaciones matrimoniales injustas y a la creciente movilidad de las mujeres y los hombres en busca de oportunidades de empleo dentro y fuera de sus hogares; entre otros factores.
Un número de estudios han destacado la importancia de distinguir entre que un hogar sea encabezado ' de jure ' y ' de facto '.  Tenemos un hogar encabezado por una mujer de facto, cuando el hombre del hogar emigra  temporalmente fuera en busca de mejores medios y oportunidades económicas. Por ejemplo, en Nepal, los hogares encabezados de facto por mujeres se han incrementado dramáticamente desde la década de 2000 debido a los aumentos significativos de hombres que se desplazan hacia el Golfo y Sureste de Asia para el empleo. Estas casas tiene probablemente mejores oportunidades económicoas al contar con un flujo regular de remesas en comparación con aquellas casas donde sus homólogos masculinos son cabeza y no hay un miembro del hogar trabajando en el extranjero.
Titularidades de los activos mejor predice la pobreza
Si bien sigue habiendo un debate considerable sobre la forma de medir la pobreza, del Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones sobre Políticas Alimentarias ( IFPRI ) que trabajan el tema de género, ha demostrado convincentemente qué la tenencia de activos son un mejor predictor de la pobreza estructural que los ingresos de los hogares.
Desde una perspectiva de género, la propiedad de los activos es un componente integral de la capacidad de negociación de las mujeres dentro y fuera de su casa y mantiene su posición de retroceso en el caso de ruptura matrimonial .
Sobre la base de las encuestas de hogares representativas a nivel nacional ( como el Estudio de Medición de Estándares de Vida ) en veintiséis países de América Latina y el Caribe , el economista Carmen Diana Deere y sus colegas de la Universidad de Florida, concluyen qué comparar los niveles de pobreza de entre el varón y los hogares encabezados por mujeres " exagera la situación de pobreza patrimonial de las mujeres " .
Esto se debe a que el análisis actual de la jefatura de hogar no tiene en cuenta qué las mujeres en los hogares encabezados por hombres pueden ser propietarios o copropietarios de activos ( como la búsqueda de viviendas , tierras o de trabajo) con sus esposos o compañeros.
Hay que dejar de victimizar
El argumento actual para la mujer sea integrada en la discusión entorno al cambio climático se basa en hipótesis tenues y débiles, que evidencian de forma empírica la victimización de las mujeres. En cambio, es necesario que las políticas y los proyectos destinados a hacer frente al cambio climático posean un enfoque de género. La equidad es una necesidad creciente en la base de los análisis para que haya un mayor reconocimiento de las realidades sociales, económicas y políticas que sustentan la vida de mujeres y hombres en el contexto del cambio climático.
En lugar de considerarlos simplemente como víctimas , tenemos que reconocer qué las mujeres son actores con sus propios intereses y tienen diferentes capacidades para traducir sus intereses en acciones. Este cambio en el pensamiento ayudará a fortalecer la autoconfianza de las mujeres y por lo tanto Catalizar Sus energías y creatividad en la solución de los problemas del cambio climático.