Gender Equality and Climate Action

In DRC, women refugees rebuild lives, with determination and hope

In September 2015 world leaders from 193 nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations General Assembly. While some have hailed this adoption as a historic moment, others have questioned how realistic the 2030 agenda is. Based on existing trends, the SDGs are not attainable by 2030. For example, Sustainable Development Goal 5 aims to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life. But current estimates indicate that it will be 50 years before gender parity in politics is achieved and 81 years before the gender gap in economic participation and opportunity is closed.

In December 2015, world leaders from 195 countries adopted the first universal, legally binding global climate accord at COP 21 in Paris.  Notably, they agreed to a long-term goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. Once again, it was hailed by some as a historic agreement while others questioned how realistic its goals were. Even if all countries meet their present commitments, it is estimated that temperatures will increase by 2.6 to 3.1°C by 2100.

collective efforts to cultivate vegetables for a shared profit

While implementing each SDG in isolation would indisputably exceed the capacity of the world community, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an integrated and indivisible vision for change. This means that a limited number of policy levers can facilitate simultaneous implementation of several SDGs, dramatically reducing costs and increasing co-development benefits. UN Women strongly believes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are both fundamental human rights and particularly powerful solutions to avoid or mitigate trade-offs between climate and other sustainable development priorities. Achieving SDG 5 on gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls would boost efforts to meet every single SDG and, similarly, progress in the other 16 SDGs will greatly contribute to the attainment of SDG 5. Optimizing development benefits across SDGs holds the key for the successful implementation of the integrated and indivisible 2030 Agenda and of the Paris Agreement on climate.

This signifies a paradigm shift that puts gender concerns and the voice and agency of women and girls, men and boys, at the center of adaptation, mitigation, and disaster risk management efforts.  The resources provided here by UN Women aims to facilitate such a paradigm shift by providing guidance, trainings, methodologies, tools and programming documents to support climate and gender practitioners to best leverage co-benefits between gender equality and climate action for sustainable development within the areas of sustainable energy, climate-smart agriculture and disaster risk reduction.

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