FEATURE: The benefits of a gender audit of climate action – Lessons from Ethiopia
The Government of Ethiopia has benefitted from undertaking a ‘gender audit’ of its climate-smart development activities. Medhin Fissha, the former Gender and Social Safeguards Officer of Ethiopia’s Climate Resilience Green Economy (CRGE) Facility explains how.
Women and girls face different forms of gender inequality and indeed, discrimination, depending on where they live and on their stage of life. This affects how they experience climate change and can develop strategies to adapt. The same is true of men and boys, from infancy to old age. Therefore, any development programme or policy addressing climate change needs a gender-responsive approach from the outset.
On this basis, the federal Government of Ethiopia has been striving to take its development actions in a gender-responsive and climate-compatible direction. The Climate Resilience Green Economy (CRGE) Facility, which sits in the Ministry of Finance but has cross-government responsibility, plays an important role in making this happen. The Government has committed to gender equality, as outlined in the National Action Plan for Gender Equality and the national development Plan. As a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Ethiopia is working towards gender responsive climate action, in line with the Gender Action Plan agreed in 2017.
Ethiopia has made progress in integrating both gender-responsiveness and climate resilience and climate change mitigation in its policy and implementation in recent years, particularly in addressing some of the gender issues associated with climate change impacts.
However, there are still challenges with integrating gender equality considerations in the full cycle of climate programmes and projects. Therefore, it was found to be important to undertake a gender analysis and audit of the CRGE Facility and its executing entities at federal level.
The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) – an alliance of organisations represented by SouthSouthNorth (SSN), with the contribution of ODI, in Ethiopia – has been providing technical support to the CRGE Facility in carrying out institutional capacity building interventions and developing knowledge products on gender and climate change since 2019. In August-September 2021, CDKN also supported a gender audit of the CRGE Facility and its executing entities, at the Government’s request.
The purpose of the gender audit was to assess the integration of gender equality considerations in the Ministry of Finance’s funded climate programmes in general and gender mainstreaming efforts in the full programme cycle of the CRGE Facility and its executing entities, in particular. The audit is expected to strengthen the gender mainstreaming practice of the CRGE Facility.
The methodology for the gender audit was predominantly qualitative. Key informant interviews and a desk review were used for data collection. The key informant interviews were conducted virtually with CRGE line ministries and CRGE Focal points from the Bureau of Finance and Economic Development at the regional levels.
Key findings of the gender audit
The key findings of the gender audit are:
Existence of gender mainstreaming guidelines and tools: even though there is integration of gender considerations in Ethiopia’s National Adaptation Plan (NAP) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), and a gender mainstreaming strategy within the CRGE Facility, there is still a recognised gap in achieving gender-responsive and socially-inclusive climate-smart programmes/projects on the ground. Thus, there is a clear imperative for putting such approaches for enhanced climate action into practice – to achieve the desired change.
Accountability and coordination mechanisms: Although there are enabling policies that recognise gender inclusion in climate action, the dedication of management bodies to incorporating gender planning, gender budgeting and gender monitoring and evaluation is very limited. The CRGE Facility has established a gender and climate change community of practice, which is aimed at enhancing coordination and accountability mechanisms for engendering climate action.
The Community of Practice will be co-chaired by the Women Affairs directorate of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission and Ministry of Finance and will bring together gender and climate change experts from key CRGE sector ministries.
Capacity building and knowledge products: The CRGE Facility has been conducting a series of capacity building training events. There is also a training module with innovative games which was developed by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) in collaboration with the CRGE Facility and used in the capacity building interventions of the CRGE Facility.
The use of gender disaggregated data: The gender audit revealed that there is improvement in the use of gender-disaggregated data during the preparation of periodic reports by CRGE executing entities at federal level and implementing entities at the regional level. Gender is also integrated into the CRGE Facility monitoring and evaluation system. However, continuous follow up is required to ensure the use of gender-disaggregated data in the full project management cycle .
CRGE Facility re-accreditation and accreditation upgrading: Strengthening the integration of gender equality considerations is one of the requirements for the CRGE Facility’s re-accreditation and accreditation upgrading processes with the Green Climate Fund and Adaptation Fund, and is crucial for it to be able to access international climate finance.
The findings of the gender analysis revealed that the technical support provided by CDKN in terms of building the institutional capacity and strengthening coordination through operationalising the gender and climate change community of practice contributed immensely to the CRGE Facility re-accreditation to the Adaptation Fund and accreditation upgrading process to the Green Climate Fund, which in turn improved the resource mobilisation efforts of the CRGE Facility.
Next steps for gender mainstreaming
Following the gender audit at various levels of government, the following recommendations were identified:
● Include Ministry of Women Children and Youth in the CRGE management committee.
● Follow up on the implementation of the gender action plan of projects financed by the CRGE Facility and CRGE mainstreaming strategy.
● Continue conducting a series of capacity-building activities on gender and climate change at various geographic levels and roll out the training materials developed by CDKN.
● Gender analysis should be mandatory for projects/programmes financed by the CRGE Facility.
● The CRGE Facility should establish a gender readiness fund for conducting gender analysis, gender action plan and developing sex disaggregated data for key CRGE sector ministries.
● The CRGE Facility need to follow up on the implementation of the gender and social inclusion community of practice work plan to enhance the institutional coordination and accountability in gender equality consideration.
● Include gender perspectives in the monitoring work of the CRGE Facility and follow up on the implementation of findings.
● Incorporate gender equality consideration into the resource mobilisation and partnership strategy of the CRGE Facility.
● Gender equality considerations should be one of the key objectives when setting performance criteria and job descriptions, and during performance review of staff of the CRGE Facility team and other staff at the regional and district level.
There is persistent work ahead to carry out these recommendations from the gender audit. Nonetheless, the recommendations provide clear signposts. They are all actionable and achievable: that’s the clear benefit of conducting a gender audit. My experience suggests that an audit process will be beneficial to the CRGE Facility at regular periods in the years ahead.
Image: Young Ethiopian women, courtesy UNICEF.