Sustainable Development Goal 5 is a major driver in gender equality. Since its introduction there has been a significant focus on gender-related aspects within the context of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). Women have been affected disproportionality as a result of climate change impacts. This has resulted from the limited participation in decision-making process and vulnerability to disasters.
There is a wide global criticism that not much has been done in terms of climate change adaptation since we have already been experiencing the impact of climate change. Adaptation strategies and policies are of particular importance to developing countries where the climate change impacts are intense, and people are exposed further to climate change impacts. In rural Africa where farming and agriculture play an important role in food security and supporting local livelihood, adaptation planning is key in enhancing local capacity in use of sustainable agricultural methods and access to better facilities and technology. Adaptation solutions should be based on community needs, human vulnerabilities, geographical context and national/regional response capabilities, measures, and structures.
COP26 further highlighted gender issues within the context of climate resilience and adaptation and a toolkit has been developed by the European Investment Bank, CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on importance of Gender-smart climate finance and how investors can make a difference in unlocking an inclusive and sustainable future. The Government of Canada has also highlighted the importance of inclusion of women in international decision-making and is using Gender Based Analysis (GBA+) to address the impacts of climate change on women.
Adaptation highlights that enhancing social equity not only protect the disadvantaged from climate change impacts but also facilitate equality, inclusivity, and diversity at the heart of ESG policies and strategies. Tackling gender inequality has a major impact in climate adaptation and resilience planning.
Addressing Gender-Related Issues
There is an immediate to move the needle on adaptation measures that create gender equity in our global plans to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Leadership and Decision-making
Women should be included in climate change responsive measures and discussions to lead solutions and undertake engagement with NGO’s and local community in raising awareness about climate change and gender adaptation policies. Women focus groups are key in terms of understanding needs of women in terms of adapting to climate change and would create community-based solutions to tackle climate change impacts.
Enhancing capacity of women and access to training and skill upgrades provide women with access to better facilities and technologies in adapting to climate change impacts. A series of gender focused related actions should be developed to provide areas where training and upskilling needed in line with adaptation planning.
Employment and Entrepreneurship
Creating employment opportunities for women and investing and allocating funds in women’s entrepreneurship particularly in sustainability and green industry will build a great foundation for growth in other supply chain businesses led by women. Actions need to be developed on inclusion of gender diversity in local employment plans and how to engage with local institutions on supporting women entrepreneurs/enterprises.
Women play an important role in childcare and family planning and have different nutritional demands during pregnancies. Therefore, compared to men, women suffer disproportionate mortality and during and after disasters they are further exposed to health, safety, and security risks. Gender responsive health, safety and security measures should be included in climate change adaptation strategies and planning.
To address these needs, there are definitive actions that can be taken:
- Include gender-related indicators and measures in climate change planning, policies, and strategies.
- Conduct a gender assessment and analysis to identify gender-related impacts and opportunities in developments with focus on climate change and transition to net-zero.
- Develop an inclusive Gender Action Plan that is interconnected with climate change adaption actions and provide a road map for value creation.
By taking these tangible actions, we can ensure that women are not adversely impacted, in any region, by climate change.