At its COP26 Gender Day on Tuesday the UK announced £165 million to tackle climate change while addressing the inequalities that make women and girls more vulnerable to climate change and empowering them to take climate action.
Around the world, the UN has found that women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men, in part because they constitute a large majority of the world’s poor and often depend on small-scale farming for a livelihood, which is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Women and children can comprise 80 per cent of those displaced by climate-related disaster. But addressing gender inequality has also been proven to advance efforts to tackle climate change.
£165 million in UK funding will drive forward two primary aims.
The first will use up to £45 million to help empower local communities and grassroots women’s groups in Asia and the Pacific to challenge gender inequalities and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Further to that £120 million will be allocated to build resilience, prevent pollution, protect biodiversity, strengthen renewable energy and better manage waste, while also supporting women’s leadership, access to finance, education and skills in Bangladesh.
The chair of the flagship Gender Day event, UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “It is women, girls and those who are already most marginalised, that will be most severely impacted by climate change. But they also have a critical role to play to address the climate crisis.
“The UK is committed to addressing this dual challenge head on, committing new funding to empower communities and women’s groups to take locally-led adaptation action, to build local, national and global resilience. I urge more countries to make commitments to implement the UNFCCC Gender Action Plan and deliver the goals of the Feminist Action for Climate Justice.”
Through its COP26 Presidency, the UK has been urging countries around the world to put gender equality at the heart of climate action, and on Tuesday ministers and other actors met to discuss new action to tackle gender and climate change. Several countries and stakeholders will also announce bold new gender and climate commitments today.
The UK will jointly launch a toolkit on gender-smart climate finance. Co-led by CDC, the UK’s Development Finance Institution, the toolkit will improve understanding on the opportunities of gender-sensitive climate investment by providing guidance to the finance community on how to deliver climate outcomes while promoting gender equality and women’s economic opportunities.
“Gender inequality creates additional burdens and barriers for women and girls during times of conflict and climate-related crisis which increases their risks of hunger, food insecurity and violence,” Fatou Jeng, Founder, Clean Earth Gambia and Co-Lead YOUNGO Women and Gender working group, said. “But women play fundamental roles in local food systems and are carers and activists, which make them uniquely placed to drive longer term climate resilience.
“Women should be involved in the policy making, project planning and implementation of climate adaptation projects, and gender equality should be a key portion in climate financing. If gender equality is not taken as a serious issue in our climate decision-making, climate financing and climate adaptation processes, it will undermine opportunities for women in vulnerable communities to drive effective climate change adaptation and mitigation approaches that meet their needs.”