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American Indigenous woman standing in the Delegations Pavilions area during of the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference, held by UNFCCC in Sharm El-Sheikh International Convention Center, Egypt on November 14, 2022.

A Indigenous woman stands in the Delegations Pavilions area during of the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference, held by UNFCCC in Sharm El-Sheikh International Convention Center, Egypt on November 14, 2022. (Photo: Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

New Report Highlights Serious Gender Gaps in G20 Countries' Climate Policy

While the G20 is convening in Indonesia and nations continue climate talks in Egypt, we hope they will heed the calls from civil society for an effective response to both the climate crisis and global gender inequality.

Osprey Orielle Lake

A growing body of research continues to firmly establish that greater gender equity leads to better climate outcomes. For example, a one unit increase in a country’s score on the Women’s Political Empowerment Index demonstrates an 11.5% decrease in the country’s carbon emissions

With Gender Day spotlighted today at the UN COP27 climate talks in Egypt, and the G20 countries ready to simultaneously commence their annual meeting in Indonesia, it is a significant moment to address G20 gender-responsive national climate change policies since these are the countries responsible for almost 80% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

If G20 countries want to achieve their climate targets, they need to ensure that women and the leadership of frontline communities are included in climate policies, solution projects, and decision-making.

A new report, published just ahead of COP27, analyzes how effective G20 countries are integrating gender into their climate policies. The findings show that there is an urgent need to truly develop and implement critical gender-responsive climate action. In fact, It is not possible to meet the escalating climate emergency without women’s leadership. 

The report analyzes the level of gender integration - or lack thereof - in the national climate policies and nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of the world’s largest economies. The report finds that despite the increasing acknowledgement that the impacts of climate change vary depending on gender—and the crucial role of women as drivers of climate solutions—gender has yet to be comprehensively or meaningfully integrated into G20 countries’ climate policies. The report recognizes that the G20 is not a uniform block and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities need to be acknowledged—rather the research focuses on addressing the cross-cutting issue of gender-responsive climate policy and action across all G20 countries.

As detailed in the report, integrating gender into climate policy leads to critically improved outcomes for our communities, the Earth, and emission targets. If G20 countries want to achieve their climate targets, they need to ensure that women and the leadership of frontline communities are included in climate policies, solution projects, and decision-making.

There are several G20 countries taking steps to develop gender-responsive climate policies. The report points to Argentina, for example, which has made significant progress in incorporating gender and diversity perspectives into climate policy instruments and aims to prioritize vulnerable communities and social groups. Implementation across the board, however, remains to be seen.

The report calls on G20 countries—who exercise considerable global influence—to recognize, understand, and transform unjust dominant social constructs, including systemic patriarchy, colonization and racism, that continue to impede building equitable and successful climate policy and action led by women and marginalized groups.

When looking more deeply into the G20 climate policies, it is clear that we have yet to see countries move from promises and pledges to implementation and investment. The OECD reports that only 0.04% of climate finance specifically addresses gender equality as a primary target, only further pointing to the absence of robust climate policies that seek to holistically address both systemic gender inequality and the climate crisis. 

It is no secret that countries are falling dangerously short on responding to the climate crisis. The most recent Emissions Gap Report finds that climate pledges are leading the world toward a catastrophic temperature rise of 2.4-2.6°C by the end of this century. This is all too real for the millions globally who are already experiencing ever-worsening typhoons, droughts, and food shortages—all fueled by the climate crisis. 

While the G20 is convening in Indonesia, we hope they will heed the calls from civil society for an effective response to both the climate crisis and global gender inequality.

Climate policy that truly responds to gender is one of the most powerful tools available to every G20 government committed to climate action. Its effects could be transformative if governments are willing to move beyond small gestures, and instead be prepared to actually take significant and meaningful action on the climate crisis.

 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Osprey Orielle Lake

Osprey Orielle Lake

Osprey Orielle Lake is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International and serves as Co-Chair of International Advocacy for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Follow on Twitter: @WECAN_INTL 

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