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Mind the GAP – The Gender Action Plan as a milestone for Climate Justice

WECF Youth Alumna Miriam Mueller writes about the Gender Action Plan (UNFCCC)

01.05.2018 |

2017’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23) was a milestone for feminist policies: the first Gender Action Plan in COP’s history was adopted on 14th November in Bonn, Germany. Two months before the conference, the Chief Negotiator for the COP23 Presidency for the Government of Fiji, Nazhat Shameem Khan, had already emphasised the necessity of gender-responsive strategies to fight climate change (Khan, 2017). This statement was a clear signal to the Global North that politicians from the Global South are well aware of the need to consider gender in climate action policy.

Why does gender matter for climate action ?

As inequalities still exist between men and women, including access to time, money and education, the consequences of climate change are often not experienced equally (WomenWatch, 2009). For example, the Women and Gender Constituency states that 80% of victims of Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh were women and girls (Women Engage for a Common Future, 2017). In the past, gender dimensions have not been sufficiently taken into account in climate action policy and gender-blind policies concerning environmental issues are still dominant. In reforesting programmes for example, land rights play a significant role. Female farmers can struggle to cultivate their own land, because patriarchal structures of family heritage have not been considered in the programme.  Political failures such as these can have significant consequences for the needs and knowledge of 50% of the global population.

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Miriam Mona, 26, is from Germany. Her focus is on the intersection of Gender and Political Economy. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Applied Language Science (English and Mandarin) at the Paris-Sorbonne University, she is now enrolled in the master’s program of Politics, Administration and International Relations at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany. At the moment, she is an intern at the UN Women National Committee for Germany and working for Médecins Sans Frontières in Bonn. Moreover, she is a founding member of the task force for Gender Equality of United Nations Association of Germany as well as part of the WECF Youth Group.

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