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Gender, climate change and community based adaptation planning

This guidebook for designing and implementing gender-sensitive community-based adaptation (CBA) projects has been produced by the UNDP. It draws on the experiences of the UNDP-Global Environment Facility (GEF) CBA programme to date, from ten participating countries around the world. To begin with the paper introduces gender, its place in development and the importance of promoting equality. It then talks about the nature of CBA projects as an emergent technique seeking to avoid the occasional unintended consequences of top-down projects. They aim to support community led, pro-active climate change adaptation measures, commonly through the provision of small grants. Combining local and scientific knowledge, the tailored approaches allow for experimentation and the identification of best practices. The inclusion of women in these projects guarantees that their knowledge and skills are not excluded. The final two chapters deal with vulnerability to climate change and disaster, and gender dimensions of climate change.

Despite only being around a short time, the UNDP-GEF programme has already revealed some preliminary lessons learned.

  • Considering gender from the very beginning of a project is necessary to avoid unexpected implications of adaptation interventions.
  • Preparatory analysis of community dynamics is necessary to address gender issues effectively.
  • The importance of facilitation in equitable community participation.
  • New technologies and techniques can help overcome traditional gender barriers.
  • Gender considerations must be placed within the context of the various power dynamics within communities; there may be other marginalised groups that also need to be represented.
  • Gender-balanced participation is crucial, with equal access to resources, education and decision-making throughout planning and implementation.
  • The need to identify lack of gender awareness in partner organisations and support capacity building in gender mainstreaming.
  • The value of accommodating traditional women’s roles and responsibilities within projects.
  • Gender training must be accessible in order to be effective.

The paper concludes that gendered analysis of vulnerability and adaptation needs to be conducted at the local level in project preparation. This will help mitigate existing inequalities and harness women’s ability to act as agents of change. Effective participation, the development of skills to gain access and control over resources, and an equitable redistribution of work comprise the essentials of gender equality.