WECF in Cancun: Women and Gender Constituency - a Report
Drawing upon global commitments to gender equality and women’s rights and the Millennium Development Goals, the members of Women and Gender Constituency work to ensure human rights and the gender dimension are incorporated into UNFCCC negotiations, agreements, plans and actions.
10.12.2010 |Sabine Bock
From the introduction by Gotelind Alber from Gendercc in the report on the Women and Gender Constituency of which WECF is an active member:
In contrast to other international treaties such as Agenda 21, CBD and UNCCD, the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol do not refer to women, neither as a vulnerable group, nor as crucial actors to mitigate, and adapt to, climate change.
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Drawing upon global commitments to gender equality and women’s rights and the Millennium Development Goals, the members of Women and Gender Constituency work to ensure human rights and the gender dimension are incorporated into UNFCCC negotiations,
agreements, plans and actions.
Since November 2009, civil society organisations working on women and gender issues have been granted constituency status by the UNFCCC Secretariat on a provisional basis. The constituency currently comprises of eight observer NGOs to the UNFCCC, some of whom are networks. Individuals and organisations engaged in women and gender issues who are not accredited to the UNFCCC are encouraged to work through accredited members of the constituency. Thus, we represent several hundred grassroots groups, national and international organisations and networks.
We seek to ensure the representation of women’s voices, experiences, needs and capacities, as women are still underrepresented in planning and decision-making at all levels, including Parties and observer organisations to the UNFCCC. After several years of awareness-raising on the gender aspects of climate change, constituency members are now providing recommendations to delegates on how to include the gender dimension in negotiation texts. Beyond working on gender language, we reappraise the substance of existing and proposed provisions as to whether they respond to women’s needs, perspectives and preferences.
Due to the cross-cutting nature of women and gender, the Constituency needs to follow a large number of issues, and link up with various other groups who are members of other constituencies. On many issues, we share the positions of other observer constituencies such as Environmental NGOs, Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations, Trade Unions, and Youth, and seek close collaboration.
However, even if the gender dimension is recognised, gender equality and gender justice are often seen as an “add-on” and tend to be lost during bustling negotiations or in the process of translating general principles into action.
Therefore, our members are essential to advocate for the full consideration of the gender dimension at all stages of the process, and in all issues under negotiation. As for our interventions and submissions, we strive for joint positions, but at the same time respect the diversity of opinions and approaches of the various members. Hence, some interventions have been held on behalf of the constituency, and others on behalf of one member organisation only.
Daily meetings of the constituency during sessions (women’s caucus) are open to anybody engaged for women and gender, and so is the list serve we are maintaining to share debates, results and expectations. We arrange for joint actions such as the “Gender Champion” which was awarded to outstanding efforts of Parties to promote women and gender issues.
I want to express our gratitude to our allies among Parties and Observers in this process, and to the UNFCCC Observer Liaison for their tireless support, and invite everyone to join us in our efforts for climate justice and gender justice within an equitable and effective climate regime.
Gotelind Alber, firstname.lastname@example.org
Focal Point of the Women and Gender Constituency
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