South Africa: When it comes to addressing climate change, gender matters

When it comes to addressing climate change, gender matters.

That’s the major takeaway from a new policy briefing published by the Centre for International Governance Innovation and the South African Institute of International Affairs. The report  examines why gender equality is necessary for efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change in Africa, and how governments and other stakeholders can integrate the two.

Most low-income people worldwide are women, and many women face gender discrimination in addition to poverty. Both factors mean greater vulnerability to extreme events like droughts and floods as the climate crisis intensifies. The report underscores the point that gender shapes how climate change affects humans — and how we respond to it.

One example is the impact of tropical cyclones and hurricanes, which scientists say will likely intensify as the world continues to heat up. When Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March, killing over 1,000 people and causing some US$2 billion worth of damage, women and girls suffered disproportionately.

The report doesn’t mention gender non-binary people, although the Women and Gender Constituency, a stakeholder group of the the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has urged decision-makers to address how non-binary people — and other LGBT women and girls — “face multiple forms of violence and exclusion from social, economic and environmental services.” Read more via ENSIA

Submission by the Women and Gender Constituency (WGC) responding to Decision 3/CP.23

Background This submission is a contribution to Activity E.1 on Monitoring and Reporting of the Gender Action Plan as a response to the call for inputs for a synthesis report by the Secretariat and the review of the Lima Work Programme on Gender and its Gender Action Plan, which is to be initiated at SBI 50 (June 2019).

Title: Submissions from Parties and observers on the following, including sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis, where applicable

LGBTQI excerpt:

Findings from Fiji Women Defending the Commons network, via DIVA for Equality, Fiji

Women climate change activists from urban poor, rural and remote marginalized communities from Yasawa, Taveuni, Qamea, Vunidogoloa, Savusavu, Macuata, Bua, Labasa, Koro, Gau, Kadavu, Ovalau, Tavua, Rakiraki, Ra, Sigatoka, Lautoka, Nadi, Tailevu, Naitasiri and Suva in Fiji are working together now on gender, climate change and disaster risk and response, and are together raising the following issues as priorities in gender, human rights and climate change work in Fiji. DIVA for Equality are accompanying and supporting work to ensure that the Fiji Government, including the Gender Ministry, Climate Change Unit, Ministry for Finance, Ministry for Planning, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Rural Development, Ministry for Youth and Sports, Prime Ministers’ Office, UN agencies, regional development institutions, Indigenous leadership, INGOS and others are made aware of the following priority areas. We are moving these issues through various institutions and processes, and connecting them through to national, regional and global human rights and development commitments, and the Gender Action Plan as we are able.

These areas of work include, and are not limited to the following:

LGBTQI women (and with specific violations against LBTI women and girls and gender non binary people) face multiple forms of violence and exclusion from social, economic and environmental services. They are excluded from and/or stigmatised in decision making spaces before, during and after disasters, and so often will stay in unsafe, informal shelter rather than go to nationally accredited shelters

Read the report here