On the 14th of November, the first ever Gender Action Plan to the UNFCCC was adopted by Parties at the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), making COP23 a landmark year in terms of gender-related mandates under the UNFCCC processes.
The GAP is important in terms of recognizing the need for representation of women in all aspects of the UNFCCC process and the need for gender mainstreaming through all relevant targets and goals in activities under the Convention as an important contribution to increasing their effectiveness. Therefore, it seeks to mainstream gender in the areas and activities related to adaptation, mitigation, and related means of implementation as (finance, technology development and transfer and capacity-building) as well as decision-making on the implementation of climate policies. The overall goal of the GAP is to support and enhance the implementation of the gender-related decisions and mandates so far adopted in the UNFCCC process through a set of specific activities to be conducted within the next 2 years.
The Fijian presidency hosting the 23rd COP and the UNFCCC has reiterated the importance of the equitable involvement of women in sustainable development and the implementation of climate policies, including the Gender Action Plan (GAP). The GAP is developed under the Lima Work Programme on gender as per decision 21/CP.22, paragraph 7, which requests the the Subsidiary Body for Implementation was requested to develop a gender action plan (GAP) in order to support the implementation of gender-related decisions and mandates in the UNFCCC process. Decision 21/CP.22 agreed to in Marrakesh at COP22 extends the work of the LWPG to COP25 in 2019 and Parties were called to submit their views on possible elements of the GAP to be developed under the LWPG before the 25th of January 2017.
One of the key outcomes which was expected of COP23 was a decisive action to finalise the GAP which was realised on the 14th November which also marked the annual Gender Day of COP23 organised by UNFCCC Secretariat, in collaboration with Governments, United Nations organizations, intergovernmental organizations, civil societies and the private sectors in order to raise awareness on the importance of gender considerations and celebrating women’s climate action.
The priority areas that drive the activities related to the GAP include;
1. Capacity building, knowledge sharing and communication; enhancing the understanding and expertise of stakeholders on the systemic integration of gender considerations under the Convention and the PA and in policies, programmes and projects on the ground
2. Gender balance, participation and women’s leadership; achieving full, equal and meaningful participation of women in the UNFCCC process
3. Coherence; strengthening the integration of gender considerations within the work of the UNFCCC constituted bodies,the secretariat and other United Nation entities and stakeholders towards the consistent implementation of gender-related mandates and activities.
4. Gender-responsive implementation and means of implementation; respect, promotion and consideration of gender-equality and the empowerment of women in the implementation of the Convention and the PA
5. Monitoring and reporting: improved tracking in relation to the implementation of and reporting on the gender mandates to the UNFCCC.
While the adoption of the GAP, at COP23 is an important milestone in achieving women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in both national and international climate change processes to promote gender-responsive climate policies, it is also important to mainstream the principles of the GAP in the implementation of the activities under the UNFCCC and of all its stakeholders at all levels.
As part of the monitoring and evaluating process, the Secretariat and Gender Focal Point to the UNFCCC was requested to prepare a synthesis report on the implementation of the gender action plan, by the 25th session of the COP in 2019- which is the next milestone of the LWPG and the scheduled review of the GAP, identifying areas of progress, areas for improvement and further work to be undertaken in subsequent action plans.