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FEATURE: Gender strategies for climate events – Supporting everyone to be safe and productive

In organising the Global NDC Conference 2019, CDKN and its partners in the Internationale Klimaschutzinitiative (International Climate Initiative – IKI) of Germany and others pioneered gender-sensitive and socially-inclusive approaches. Here, we share the principles and strategies.

A successful climate policy requires a wide range of ideas, competences and perspectives. The aspects of gender and social integration must therefore be increasingly mainstreamed into all global climate protection processes. This integration should start as early as the planning stage, since the diverse composition of the participants allows for a wider range of solutions – more integrative, sustainable and innovative.

Several projects and international partners performed pioneering work during the organisation of the Global NDC Conference 2019, comprehensively integrating gender equality through a gender-sensitive approach to the event.

In doing so, they relied on a strategy comprised of three parts: ‘Gender Narrative’, ‘Gender Voices’ and the ‘Anti-Harassment Policy’.

The ‘Gender Narrative’ served as an overarching framework for the conference.

For the ‘Gender Voices’ concept, a designated person ensured that gender links were established in each session. Gender equality issues were thus woven into the whole conference and not just into individual, gender-focused sessions (to prevent gender from occupying its own ‘silo’).

The themes of the conference were: integrated governance, transparency and finance. Designated participants were trained to present gender-related perspectives during the conference through specific questions, or the exchange of examples, such as:

  • Integrated governance: How are women empowered as decision-makers and leaders (Who are the decision makers? How does being disadvantaged lead to under-representation? How does lack of voice perpetuate vulnerabilities?);  How are women empowered as stakeholders? (Who is in the room and who is being meaningfully consulted? How does being disadvantaged lead to under-representation? How do we bring in additional voices?); How are women’s and other social groups’ interests represented? (What ministries/sectors are involved? What are their roles and responsibilities? Are civil society groups engaged that are representing the interests of disadvantaged groups including women?)
  • Transparency: Are sex-disaggregated data collected and analysed? How about the intersectional aspects (age, ethnicity, class, etc)? Are actors developing indicators and metrics for gender-related and social benefits of climate action, as well as tracking and reporting on these?
  • Finance:  Is budgeting gender responsive? Is access to climate finance and its benefits gender-equal?

The ‘Anti-Harassment Policy’ ensured that the conference became a platform for the productive exchange of views for every participant, regardless of gender, gender identity, age, religion, appearance, sexual orientation, origin and physical limitations. Participants who felt uncomfortable or harassed in this regard, could turn to two contact persons. The organising team reserved the right to exclude participants from the conference as a sanction. The Gender Narrative and Integration Strategy is available for download on the event website.

The gender strategy not only helped to breathe life into the issue of gender equality at the conference, but also played an important role in the preparation of the event. For example, the organisers drew up a set of guidelines to ensure a gender-sensitive and balanced list of participants and addressed the special needs of those with young children by offering childcare services, for instance.

The gender-sensitive and integrative Global NDC Conference of 2019 shows how a gender-specific perspective can be introduced into event planning. The gender strategy can be easily adapted so that project managers can ensure equal rights and equal access to resources for all participants, enabling us to achieve more ambitious climate goals for the future together.

A version of this article first appeared on the GIZ website. Further editing by Mairi Dupar, CDKN’s Gender Lead. To find out more about our experiences with delivering gender-responsive events and climate planning processes, use the ‘comment’ box below and/or contact us at


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