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REPORT: Exposing gender gaps in financing climate change mitigation

As the harmful impacts of climate change have become increasingly apparent, a number of international funds and mechanisms have been established to support initiatives designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many of these projects in developing countries have been supported through funding sources related to the UNFCCC – particularly the Global Environment Facility and the Clean Development Mechanism. When the UNFCCC’s new Green Climate Fund becomes operational, it is expected to mobilise substantial amounts of public and private financing for developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change.

Until recently, few climate change mitigation projects considered gender equality as an important factor, despite evidence that women in developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change and play important roles in effective responses to those changes.

Too often, women’s concerns are not taken into account in climate change mitigation discussions due to social and political inequities. If they are considered at all, they may be seen more as victims of climate change than as active leaders and participants in solutions and responses. Lack of attention to women’s needs may lead to interventions that reinforce existing gender inequalities and deepen the negative effects women experience due to climate change. Yet women and girls can be key actors, contributors, and agents of change in climate initiatives – particularly if they are actively engaged in the planning, implementation and decision-making processes.

This report, Exposing the Gender Gaps in Financing Climate Change Mitigation – And Proposing Solutions, highlights three cases that have received climate change mitigation financing and included attention to gender at some stage of their implementation: the Nepal Biogas Support Program, Household Energy and Universal Rural Energy in Mali, and the Bogotá, Colombia TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit System. The study was part of a joint CDKN, Woman’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO) and Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) project on Making the case for attention to gender in climate mitigation projects.

Some of the lessons drawn from the study include the following:

  • Gender mainstreaming is essential to a projects’ success since results are most effective when gender issues are integrated from the outset.
  • Socially disaggregated data that are intentionally gathered throughout the project cycle supports more effective projects. Systematic gender-focused data collection, targets, and indicators help to properly analyze and demonstrate the benefits of paying proper attention to gender equality in climate change mitigation.
  • Economic and social co-benefits, for both men and women, help secure national and community support for activities that contribute to climate change mitigation, and ensure their long-term viability.
  • Integration of gender equality issues affects project efficacy and impact, e.g., by improving the results of large-scale transport and grid-based energy infrastructure projects, as well as small-scale, off-grid initiatives.
  • Gender sensitive government and institutional policies are key factors in the formulation of more inclusive climate mitigation measures and investments.
  • Many governments, funders, and institutions need guidance on how to incorporate gender considerations in ways that lead to more effective and inclusive projects, in which benefits are shared equitably.

A summary of the three case studies, Nepal, Mali and Colombia can be found in this factsheet.

This report is also available in French and Spanish.